It Doesn't Matter Who Trashed a GOP HQ -- It Matters Who Raised $13,000 to Fix It

This election has been remarkably hateful (even for politics), which is why we weren't totally shocked when Republicans in Hillsborough, North Carolina, found their campaigning headquarters firebombed and vandalized with the words "Nazi Republicans leave town or else" on October 16. Upset? Yes. Shocked? Not really. What was shocking, however, was what happened afterward: In an effort led by Democrats, US citizens raised $13,000 to help the office rebuild itself.

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This was surprising not only because of the extreme polarity between Dems and the GOP in general, but the degree to which this polarity is worse this election, specifically. But it's also surprising because some Republicans were quick to point fingers and blame Democrats for the vandalism, despite there being no real evidence (aside from the obvious party differences) that incriminated them specifically.

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Republicans weren't giving Democrats much reason to be kind, which makes the generosity displayed so much more significant. This is the way we should be solving political differences: with understanding and support, not hatred or freaking firebombs.

The idea to raise money for rebuilding was snowballed off a tweet by Zeynep Tufekci, an associate professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill:

 

 

Originally, she suggested that the Clinton campaign offer their HQ for the GOP to use so they didn't lose time campaigning. With the help of other Democratic leaders (Dan Gillmor from Arizona State University's journalism school, Harvard researcher David Weinberger, Fox New's Democratic consultant Joe Trippi, and more), the idea evolved into a campaign hosted on GoFundMe, where any folks -- no matter their party affiliation -- could donate to rebuild the office.

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They set the goal to $10,000, and they reached it in less than an hour through about 500 small donations. After hitting $13,000, the GoFundMe was closed.  

 

There are a lot of ideologies and policies that separate Democrats from Republicans. But this campaign was a reminder that basic human decency should not be something that separates us. It's a reminder that elections are won with votes and discourse, not with violence and hatred.

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These donations were a message of unity, and that reminder to be gracious and generous and understanding is one we really, really needed right now.

But for all its usefulness today, it's a reminder that's going to be nothing short of essential after November 8. Hopefully, we'll see more of this kind of stuff then -- we're going to need it.

 

Image Raleigh News & Observer/Contributor/Getty

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