We are Rome.
Those three words, eloquently spoken by San Antonio Spurs head coach Greg Popovich following Donald Trump’s election to president, easily sum up the state of the country as the bombastic New York billionaire prepares to take the Oval Office.
Protests that have erupted all over the country and an online petition calling for the electorate to change its vote and elect Democrat Hillary Clinton have caused more angst for African-Americans and other minorities who are directly threatened by a Trump presidency.
Popovich, a five-time world champion coach, said he is still coming to terms with the shocking outcome.
“Right now I’m just trying to formulate thoughts — it’s too early,” he said. “I’m just sick to my stomach. Not basically because the Republicans won or anything, but the disgusting tenor and tone and all of the comments that have been xenophobic, homophobic, racist, misogynistic.
“I live in that country where half of the people ignored all of that to elect someone,” Popovich said. “That’s the scariest part of the whole thing to me. It’s got nothing to do with the environment and Obamacare, and all of the other stuff. We live in a country that ignored all of those values that we would hold our kids accountable for. They’d be grounded for years if they acted and said the things that have been said in that campaign by Donald Trump.”
The respected coach also lamented that since the election, many have stopped talking about Trump’s oft-racist diatribes even as schools around the country have been confronted by race-baiting chants and derisive acts by white students against African-Americans, Latinos, Muslims, homosexuals and other minority groups.
“I’m a rich white guy, and I’m sick to my stomach thinking about it,” Popovich said. “I can’t imagine being a Muslim right now, or a woman, or an African-American, a Hispanic, a handicapped person. How disenfranchised they might feel. And for anyone in those groups that voted for him, it’s just beyond my comprehension how they ignore all of that. My final conclusion is, my big fear is — we are Rome.”
Popovich’s comments came after another prominent NBA coach, Stan Van Gundy of the Detroit Pistons, also spoke out.
“I don’t think anybody can deny this guy is openly and brazenly racist and misogynistic,” Van Gundy said of Trump. “Martin Luther King said, ‘The arc of the moral universe is long, but bends toward justice,’” Van Gundy said. “I would have believed in that for a long time, but not today. What we have done to minorities … in this election is despicable. I’m having a hard time dealing with it.”
The Pistons coach opined that voters have thrown a good part of the American population under the bus, and that he is concerned with the direction of the nation.
“This isn’t your normal candidate,” he said. “I don’t know even know if I have political differences with him. I don’t even know what are his politics. I don’t know, other than to build a wall and ‘I hate people of color, and women are to be treated as sex objects and as servants to men.’ I don’t know how you get past that. I don’t know how you walk into the booth and vote for that.”
Van Gundy said he understood there were problems with the economy and also with Clinton, but argued that certain things should disqualify an individual such as Trump.
“And the fact that millions and millions of Americans don’t think that racism and sexism disqualifies you to be our leader in our country,” Van Gundy said. “We presume to tell other countries about human rights abuses and everything else. We better never do that again when our leaders talk to China or anybody else about human rights abuses. We just elected an openly, brazen misogynist leader and we should keep our mouths shut and realize that we need to be learning maybe from the rest of the world, because we don’t got anything to teach anybody.”
Days after protesting Trump’s stunning election win, singer Lady Gaga encouraged her fans and supporters of Clinton to sign a petition that could prevent Trump from becoming president.
Gaga tweeted a link to the petition with the comment, “If you feel scared about the current state of American politics and White House, sign this petition.”
The Change.org petition, which as of Nov. 11 had more than 3 million signatures, requests the “Electors of the Electoral College” to cast their votes on Dec. 19 for Clinton because “Mr. Trump is unfit to serve … Secretary Clinton WON THE POPULAR VOTE and should be President.”
“If they all vote the way their states voted, Donald Trump will win. However, they can vote for Hillary Clinton if they choose,” the petition reads.
Meanwhile, protesters took to the streets in New York, Chicago, Atlanta, the District and other places around the country, creating a scene as never before after the election of an American president.
The Electoral College — which was ratified in 1804 — is made up of 538 electors. Each state’s number of electors is decided by its number of members in Congress, which is dependent on the state’s population. So when American citizens cast their ballots, they aren’t directly voting for president — they’re voting for electors. This year, Trump took 290, to Clinton’s 232, with only Michigan’s 16 outstanding.
Most states use a “winner-take-all” system when it comes to electoral votes, although there is no Constitutional provision or federal law that requires electors to vote a certain way. However, 26 states and Washington, D.C., bind their electors to vote for the promised candidate on Dec. 19 — in this case, Trump. In many cases, “faithless electors” are forced to pay a fine if they vote against the popular choice.
Maine and Nebraska follow a different method, called the congressional district method, which allots two electoral votes to the popular vote winner, and additional votes for each congressional district won by the candidates.
Faithless electors have not ever reversed the presidency.
Protester Shoshi Rabinowitz explained on CNN her motivation for being at a protest near Trump Tower in New York.
“Words can’t describe how disgusted I am that he was elected over Hillary,” she said.
Fellow protester Nick Truesdale echoed her comments.
“I think he needs to really address all the divisive, hateful things he’s said in the past and recant them, denounce them,” Truesdale said.