Within twelve hours of America electing Donald Trump, no less than four instances of graffiti were reported to local police in South Philadelphia. Some of that graffiti was openly and cowardly racist.
I saw the report from Philly.com, which included a picture of the words ‘Sieg Heil’ spray painted in black on an empty storefront window on Broad Street. I recognized the storefront. I’d passed it dozens of times, on my way to and back from the local grocery store. Immediately, I stopped what I was working on, putting my keys in my pocket and slipping out of my slippers and into a pair of shoes. I darted down the steps of my apartment and out into the street.
Running the nearly two and a half blocks to Broad Street, I stopped at the corner. A group of people were situated on the curb, about twenty feet from the empty storefront window. I observed the glass. Everything was wiped away. And yet the picture, I realized, would stay in my brain. How did I know that? I felt it, when I got back to my apartment in the hazy, drizzling rain, gray and cloudy skies above, a damp and somber impression fecundated into my head and heart.
I’m going to remember this day.
More racist graffiti was also reported on the 1300 block of South Broad Street. ‘RUMP’ spray painted in black. The letter ‘T’ was there instead of a swastika.
It is hard to know if the graffiti was sprayed by someone supporting Trump – or someone mocking Trump’s election as racist.
Philadelphia is its own county, a blue one, in Pennsylvania. When the election results started coming in last night, it was almost assumed that Clinton would be taking the 20 electoral votes from the state. Instead, those results didn’t come in until well after ten o’clock at night. Maybe it was even after eleven o’clock, when finally Trump was declared the winner of Pennsylvania, one of many red states that solidified his victory in the presidential election which endlessly exuded a divided nation.
Clinton secured about ten counties in Pennsylvania. It wasn’t enough. Trump won the state by nearly 70,000 votes. Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson took 142,653 votes, while Green Party Candidate Jill Stein won 48,912 votes in the state. Ultimately, this Third Party shift gave Trump his victory in Pennsylvania, among a whole lot of other political baggage.
Clinton reportedly won 82.18% of the vote, in the city of Philadelphia. Trump won nearly 16% of the vote, here.
South Philly is already feeling the effects of one of the biggest political upsets in American politics, in decades.
After these results the racist “Trump” graffiti turned up in the morning.
A third report of graffiti in South Philly came from Twitter. More black spray paint, this time on a white SUV, with the words “Black Bitch” and “Trump Rules”. The car had been dropped off by its owner at a Liberty Auto Body. Local police was said to have already visited the auto shop.
Also reported to local police were myriad … what’s the word I’m looking for … incidents? Vandalism. There we go. More vandalism was reported. Vandalism on cars and houses, on the 900 block of South 6th Street, identified at 8:30 a.m. local time.
A staff writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer also posted the following picture on Twitter.
A view from 6th and Carpenter in South Philadelphia. @PhillyInquirer pic.twitter.com/9NNa8sda2m
— Michael Matza (@MichaelMatza1) November 9, 2016
Aside from the fact that when I would return to my apartment from wanting to see the racist Trump graffiti out on Broad Street, I’d already been sipping at a glass of red wine. French red wine with ice cubes in it. To go with my late-afternoon breakfast, and a hangover unlike any other before it. Increasingly, it seems that something is missing from the narrative of a heavy Democratic defeat that was a long time coming.
The thing about revolutionary movements, these worldwide uprisings — is that sometimes you get a new government that was worse than the one you had before it.
Whether these were the pernicious acts of phony liberals in their rude awakening or racist bigots with the flag of Christianity strapped across their backs — or maybe it was just some dumb praecox half-wit out on a politicized spree — the racist sentiments and overtones in the backwash of this wine seem out of order.
That is, when it comes to the law.
However, it is in lockstep with the chain of events that has riddled this political spectacle all across the nation.
In other words, what’s next? And how bad will it be?
The new right has taken over America.
Waking up on this first morning, with these reports, as fickle or troubling as they might seem to those of us getting a whiff of it right here in our neighborhoods, in the city that gave birth to some of the most important documents in U.S. history — it’s leaving me with a very bad taste in my mouth.
Pour me another glass, laddie. While I think out how to return the fire.
And skip the ice.
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