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Opinions of Saturday, 12 November 2016

Columnist: Arthur Kennedy

The debasing of American democracy

Since its founding, America has been a beacon of democracy to many around the world. Routinely, whenever there have been post-election disputes, in places like Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana, there have been self-righteous lectures from America about resolving disputes peacefully.

However, since the election of Donald Trump, unfolding events have cast a very dark shadow on America's democratic reputation. From Atlanta to New York to Portland, to mention only a few cities, there are thousands of protesters on the streets, protesting the election of Mr. Trump.

In Chicago, a white man was beaten by two blacks amidst shouts of "Don't vote Trump" by onlookers. Elsewhere, there were others with placards, saying, "Not my President" and "Impeach Donald Trump ", who went on rampage, burning cars and destroying property. On the other hand, graffiti have been painted in a high school in Illinois, stating, " Go back to Africa" and "Make America Great again".

Obviously, these two are not the same. Those marching in the streets are not protesting rigging or any irregularities in the elections.

They are protesting the very fact that he won. Ironically, during the waning days of this bitter campaign, Mr. Trump had been criticized for refusing to pledge that he would accept the election results. Mrs. Clinton opined that Mr. Trump was "talking down our democracy".

A few days later, the Democratic candidate asserted that Mr. Trump's refusal to commit to the results was a "direct threat to our democracy " Imagine, for a moment, what would have happened if Republicans had marched into the streets to protest the election of President Obama? They would have been called racists and worse. It is not clear what the protesters want. Do they want a new vote? Do they want him to give up the mandate he won fair and square?

As Hillary said, with some exaggeration, since the founding of the Republic, regardless of how divisive a campaign is, Americans have always found a way to come together and to transfer power peacefully, except in 1860, when Lincoln was elected.

Within weeks, Southern states were leaving the Union and the civil war was under way. It is time for the Democrats to accept the results of this election and end the lawlessness. It is hypocritical for those who were scandalized by the possibility that Trump might not accept the results to refuse to accept it or to make apologies for those on the streets.

Let President Obama, Hillary and the leaders of the Democratic party do their duty by denouncing those who want to dishonour the mandate Mr. Trump won. Let law enforcement crack down on all those breaking the law on all sides.

Let America return to her lofty perch as the Beacon of democracy for the world. That is where America belongs.