Trump brings out America's worst

Carole McWilliams, Bayfield - 06/11/2020

To the editor,

June 4 was the anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre of democracy protesters in China. In May we had the anniversary of the killing of four college students by National Guard troops at Kent State University in Ohio. Is that where our so-called president is taking us in response to the protests over the police killing of yet another unarmed black man?

The weekend after police killed George Floyd, Donald Trump said the killing was a tragedy that shouldn’t have happened. But his voice was flat, none of the fire that would suggest he really meant it. He reserves the fire for support and incitement of “good people” who recently invaded the Michigan statehouse with military assault weapons to protest COVID closures. 

His emotional fire is in calls for hard-core law and order response when current protests turn violent and destructive as the sun goes down. Or even against peaceful protesters, as we saw when he had federal law enforcement use tear gas, pepper balls, flash bangs and other violent force to drive protesters away so he could walk across Lafayette Park for his photo op holding a bible. 

He criticizes how Democratic mayors and governors have handled protests. As with the national COVID response, all the responsibility is on someone else. He’s threatened to send federal troops to those communities to “dominate” the streets and people exercising their First Amendment rights.

On June 4, National Public Radio reported that armed, uniformed enforcers were mixing with peaceful protesters in D.C. The implication is they weren’t there to show solidarity. They had no personal identification and no agency insignia. That seems like a green light for brutality.

Trump claims the violence is “radical leftists” and Antifa types. I’m waiting for evidence. He wants Antifa designated a terrorist organization (are they an actual organization?) No mention of well-organized alt right white supremacists who want to start a race war, neo-Nazis and anti-government militia types. 

How long have we been peacefully protesting the police killings of unarmed Black men (and women)? It doesn’t seem to do any good, because the killings keep happening. Can we reach a tipping point for positive change without violence and destruction? I hope so. I wish we had a president who would take responsibility and lead in that direction instead of inciting the worst in people.