Portland is a great city to go bicycling, enjoy hiking, dine on food trucks, and visit scenic waterfalls. This summer, it's a city where democracy died. Welcome to Donald Trump's America.
In the past week, we have all witnessed unmarked, unnamed, unauthorized, camouflaged paramilitary police forces effect unlawful arrests on the streets of Portland, Oregon. The Gestapo has come to town.
These unconstitutional and unconscionable actions were authorized by the 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump. For abusing his authority in that capacity, he should be impeached on one hand, and incarcerated on the other. We may have to just settle for throwing him out of office four months from now.
For three and a half years, our country has endured constitutional abuses and abominable conduct by an imperial president who has remained unchecked by his party or the courts. Empowered by their silence, this month he has gone off the charts.
Normally, when we see people in unmarked cars wearing camouflaged uniforms jump out of a car and forcibly grab someone off the street, we call it kidnapping. In Donald Trump’s America, it is called law enforcement.
The directives being carried out in the name of federal authorities in Portland are the types of acts ordered by despots and dictators, not elected representatives of democracy. They were not authorized by Portland, its police department, or civil authorities. They were orchestrated by the president, and being challenged by the city's mayor, the state's governor, and the entire citizenry.
For a man who was so worried about protecting “your” second amendment, Donald Trump has taken a shredder to the first. Dissent and protest are not anarchy. They are American’s fundamental rights. Don’t expect 45 to understand that. He can’t even handle a football player kneeling during the national anthem.
A few weeks ago, Donald Trump celebrated the monuments of the presidents carved into the stones of the Black Hill Mountains of South Dakota, at Mount Rushmore. One features Thomas Jefferson. Trump should have read some of Jefferson’s words, from 1787, when our country's principles were crafted:
“God forbid we should ever be 20 years without a rebellion. … What country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance?”
The President is allegedly concerned about anarchists attacking revered institutions. This is a democracy, Donald. It goes hand in hand with dissent. We don’t kneel to authority in America. We question it.
Trump’s unlawful and racist government needs to be overthrown immediately, but we will have to wait till Nov. 3. Hopefully, he will surrender the office voluntarily on January 20, 2021. You have reason to be concerned he may not. He said so himself a few days ago.
It was one thing to say he might question the election results four years ago, when he was the outsider looking in, challenging Hillary Clinton and the establishment. But this is his presidency, and his election to fix and rig. Last week, he told reporter Chris Wallace he may not be able to accept the results. Be scared.
Of course, Trump will first go to the courts, the very courts where he has appointed 200 federal judges. You have legitimate cause to be fearful that the democracy you grew up is in jeopardy right now. These judges were not appointed for their talent or temperament, but rather their fidelity to the man who would be Führer.
Between now and then, Donald Trump will sow chaos and discord, attempting to induce riots and revolution. He will do so because the more division he fosters, the better chance he can justify force in the defense of his presidency.
Last week, as the Portland protests petered down to a few dozen persons who were barely influencing the streets, Trump allowed storm troopers to accost, assault and drag away non-violent protestors. Billy Joel did not start the fire. Trump did. He incited and inflamed the entire community. He took a crowd of 100 and turned it into a thousand.
“Arrests require probable cause that a federal crime had been committed — that is, specific information indicating that the person likely committed a federal offense, or a fair probability that the person committed a federal offense. If the agents are grabbing people because they may have been involved in protests, that’s not probable cause.”
- Orin Kerr, Law professor at the University of California at Berkeley
Federal buildings in Portland have been defaced with graffiti to be sure, but you can put a new face on a building. You can’t cover up for law enforcement officers who deface a democracy.
Let’s not forget why people were in the streets in the first place. The insurgence in our cities began when four cops killed a black man. You can repaint the federal building in Portland. You can’t bring back George Floyd.
The President green-lighted an anonymous band of heavily armed homeland security agents to use brute force while attempting to carry out illegal arrests. Not a single video reveals protestors being caught in the act of defacing a structure homeland security was purportedly there to defend.
Every shot instead reveals unidentified enforcers aggressively going into the streets and removing unthreatening, unarmed citizens without cause, from taking down bicyclists to beating up veterans. This is Trump's America.
As Frederick Douglass once wrote, “power concedes nothing without a demand.” So, demand we must. Don’t worry about the beaches being closed this summer. America is calling us to the streets instead.
Donald Trump is not interested in curing a pandemic. He wants to create pandemonium. There are two viruses America must fight this fall. One, scientists can find a vaccine for.
The other one, the virus Donald — getting rid of that, is up to us, on Nov. 3. The man who was going to drain the swamp has become a biohazard himself. We must emulsify him. Unlike his police force, we will need ballots, not billy clubs.