If only we all spoke “American”

There are several methods of rigging an election. One obvious way is to nominate a completely unqualified person and stand by while he accuses himself of sedition, sexual assault, violations of the 1965 Voting Rights act, inciting to violence, and a host of other felonies.

That’s one way.

Another is for that candidate to complain without proof that the election is rigged and encourage his followers to intimidate voters. Trump is using both, and though in a logical world the two efforts would cancel each other out, in the new Trumpian world, logic does not always hold sway.

(Another less likely way is to actually rig the election, but nobody has figured out how to do that just yet. Let’s concentrate on the second.)

Trump has informally begun recruiting enforcers to “monitor” the elections. Further, his trusted lackey Rudy Giuliani has said that he (Giuliani) would be a “moron” to believe that the voting in cities like Chicago and Philadelphia would be fair to Mr. Trump, adding that Republicans don’t cheat because they don’t control the inner cities. (Does that mean they would cheat if they did?)

And by inner cities, of course Giuliani means Blacks and Hispanics, because as Trump has stated often, no whites live in the inner city—they live in the suburbs where they’re usually busy painting their pretty picket fences, or on the farm where chickens frolic in the front yard as the children chase them. I think there’s a dog, too—and a woman in an apron.

Some Trump followers have agreed to work as vigilante “watchers” on election day. One Trump supporter in Ohio told the Boston Globe that he would be on the lookout for Mexicans, Syrians, anyone who “can’t speak American.” He’ll be getting in their faces, he said, and making them nervous. I doubt if that plan will work for the guy, since he can’t speak “American” himself.

Which brings me to this: as a former teacher of “American,” I find the Ohioan’s statement chastening. All those years I was teaching English I should have been teaching American. No wonder none of my former students knows enough to use possessives with a gerund or realizes that question marks and exclamation points follow closing quotation marks unless they belong within the quoted matter. Yeesh! Those rules don’t even exist in “American”!

Three thousand apologies—one for each of you.

Now, about the vigilantes. I am neither Syrian nor Mexican and I mostly speak English except when I RSVP or order a chile relleno. But I think I’ll take my phone with me to the polls on election day and watch for that guy in Ohio, maybe snap his picture. Even if he sees me…and even if he takes my phone and smashes it on the sidewalk, the picture will already be in the cloud—waiting for some federal official to look at and maybe file a complaint or make an arrest. Being a vigilante, under those circumstances, might seem less appealing.

Funny how that cloud works—I don’t quite understand it, but then I obviously don’t understand American too good neither.

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