Updated: Jul 27, 2020
People have been peacefully protesting the use of excessive force by police against African Americans since the death of George Floyd in May. In Portland, OR, groups such as Black Lives Matter (BLM) have protested for more than 50 days. However, unidentified groups have been out at night in that city causing trouble for local police.
It’s been reported that anti-government groups like the Boogaloo Bois were present in Minneapolis during protests in May and June and have participated in confrontations with police as well as trying to firebomb a Black Lives Matter protest.
Could they also be responsible for what is going on in Portland, where violence against the police is occurring when the sun goes down?
As usual, Donald Trump lumps all of those out on the streets peacefully protesting and those groups who are not so peaceful into one category – “anarchists and agitators” -- as he tries to justify the suppression of 1st Amendment rights to free speech and peaceful assembly. According to Trump, exercising your 1st Amendment rights is a radical, left wing movement intended to keep him from being re-elected.
This, of course, doesn’t apply if the protests include white supremacists. In those cases, they are exercising their rights to support him.
Over the last few days Trump experimented with suppressing these rights in Portland when he dispatched federal agents from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to the downtown area to tear gas and arrest virtually anyone -- even if they were not breaking any laws.
He did this under the guise of protecting federal property, but that is just a ruse. There is no indication that any federal property was ever damaged by the BLM protesters, or even by the groups coming out at night, who mainly hurl projectiles at police.
The federal agents appear to be roaming the streets and are nowhere near federal property when making their arrests. In addition, they are camouflaged and in unmarked cars. There also have been reports that they refuse to identify themselves when asked.
Everything is Political with Trump
Both Mayor Ted Wheeler of Portland and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown have demanded that federal agents be removed from the city. Gov. Brown says Trump is using their city for political advantage. Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum has filed a lawsuit against the DHS, the Marshals Service, Customs and Border Protection and Federal Protection Services saying they have violated people’s civil rights.
Are they going to stop? Of course not.
Trump always doubles down when he is wrong and this is no exception. In this case he sees more violence as an advantage to him.
The Trump campaign is using selectively edited videos of the violence to stir up his base and show how bad things will be if Joe Biden (!) is elected.
They really don’t get the irony.
It seems sending federal agents just creates more tension and thus more potential for violence. But that seems to be the plan. As a reality TV host, Trump knows it’s all about creating tensions and drama to up the entertainment value. The more his goons can provoke people, the better it plays in his ads to set off his base and end in re-election.
Coming Soon to a (Democratic) City Near You
It doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes to figure out that Trump’s claims of protecting the American people from fascists and anarchists is just a ploy to destroy the Democrats. Ted Wheeler and Kate Brown of Oregon are Democrats.
A letter was sent the end of June to Democratic Gov J.B. Pritzker and Democratic Mayor Lori Lightfoot of Chicago claiming concern about the violence in that city. In an interview with Chris Wallace, Trump claimed all Democratically controlled cities are poorly run and have the most violence. Attorney General William Barr stated he is working with Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf to potentially roll out Trump’s goons into Chicago, Milwaukee and other Democratically controlled cities.
Acting DHS Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli already has sent federal agents to the National Mall in Washington DC as well as Gettysburg National Military Park and other locations across the country.
Both Washington DC and the state of Pennsylvania have Democratic leaders.
Make America Terrified
It’s clear that the continual playing of videos showing violence in cities across America on Fox News and other right leaning media outlets keeps Trump’s supporters in constant fear so they believe only he can save them. He actually has said this as part of his campaign strategy.
The Trump m.o. is always create a problem then tell everyone only he can fix it. Except with COVID-19, when he just gave up because he couldn’t send his goons in to kill it or arrest it.
Will he actually get more supporters because of this strategy to come out to the polls in November? Let’s hope not.
On the other hand, he is instilling even more fear into those of us who see through his tactics of win at any cost even if it potentially means thousands of lives lost across the country. We’ve already seen him let people die due to his inability to handle a pandemic, why would he stop at encouraging and creating more violence to win re-election too?
Our fear is that he will continue unchecked and, if re-elected, it will be the last nail in the coffin of Democracy in America.
We can’t let that happen.
Vote like your life depends on it, because it’s looking more and more like it does and not just from a virus.