Mark Pettibone of Portland Oregon was walking home from a peaceful protest when “federal officers” descended upon him and detained and searched him; he was also read his Miranda rights. And then, almost as suddenly as they had grabbed him off the street, the men let him go. He told the press that he was not told why he had been detained or provided with any record of an arrest; As far as he knows, he has not been charged with any crimes. And, Pettibone said, in addition to being terrified, he did not know who detained him. This is but one such dystopian scene of people being seized, blindfolded, transported, imprisoned, and finally released — without once being told who had abducted him and why.
We all take great sport in reviling at Donald Trump’s loathsome ways and rejoicing in his buffoonery, but in the meantime he continues his inexorable march toward fascism, unabated and supported by more of the population than any of us “Biden supporting liberals” may care to admit. And he is much further down the road to tyranny than most Americans even realize. As the storm troopers and secret police are illegally unleashed on our peaceful civilian protestors in Portland Oregon with tactics reminiscent of Nazi Germany, those on the scene report that a group of veterans banded together to lend their support to the peacefully protesting “Wall of Moms”, “Wall of Dads” and other groups in attendance, and all of them were brutalized by agents of a Presidential administration desperate to enhance his polling with a “political theatre” of “policing criminality” that knows no bounds of decency or legality. These tactics are not the best idea for Trump to be making friends and influencing people to like him.
The denial in Federal court of an Oregon Attorney General’s petition for an injunction that would prevent these “federal law enforcement units” from arresting protesters is disheartening, but the court of public opinion is making a quite different judgement. It is quite clear to the public that it is:
- Highly likely that Trump has infiltrated the otherwise peaceful protests with “agent provocateurs” whose mis-behavior he can use to justify his desired show of force as the “Law and Order” President needed to calm “white suburban fear”, and
- It is equally likely that many of the arrestees are hired actors by Trump to create “believable street theater” molded to whatever purposes that further incite fear and division for Trump’s political purposes. It is also true that many more of these protestors are genuine victims of kidnappings, who remain in the dark about their abductors even after being freed. Either of these possibilities are anathema to our Democratic values.
Oregon’s attorney general request may have been denied for now, for failure to prove that unlawful arrests were widespread, but that argument will not prevail for very long. When a professor of Harvard’s constitutional scholar, Laurence Tribe’s stature suggests that we are “being confronted in city after city with a nationwide paramilitary force, its troops unidentifiable and its vehicles unmarked, directed in deliberately vague terms to protect property and preserve domestic order”, we can be certain that more and better legal action is already in the works.
There is no doubt that Trump, et al plan to expand this paramilitary force from city to city nationwide. And for good measure he has also begun converting our social media platforms into cyberweapons to be used against our citizenry. So, do not be surprised if you receive a midnight knock on your door if your Facebook page happens to be expressing too many “unpopular” opinions.
But there is also good news, which is that if history is any indication, “Double Down Donnie” will overplay his hand and that the courts eventually will come crashing down upon him, because if we know anything about the Donald, it is certain that he will eventually mess up. According to Tribe and most legal scholars, “This is not mere disregard for the rule of law — this is outright disdain.”
Tribe goes on to say that “the naked cynicism of those disguising these dictatorial moves in the facially anodyne garb of essential peacekeeping — a move that, sadly, might well succeed for a time in holding sufficiently wide-ranging judicial relief at bay — is especially disgusting.”
“Judges worthy of the independence and life tenure entrusted to them will hopefully enjoin the worst excesses of this profoundly un-American attack on civil society. Politicians worthy of leading a republic will hopefully denounce and dismantle this anti-democratic militia. But the long shadow of fear cast by the Trump administration’s programmatic assault on our freedoms will remain until — “from sea to shining sea” — that entire administration is ripped root and branch from our native land.”
Let us hope that the “worthiness” to which he refers, prevails.
But just in case, I expect that we will have to stay in the streets until the pressure applied rises so high that this entire “gangster” administration will be “ripped and uprooted”. I suspect that it comes as no great surprise to most protesters that the only way to rid ourselves of these cowardly, wannabee dictators is by the traditional method of risking life and limb to protest and defeat these abusers of our cherished values. These are our sacred values and traditions of patriotic dissent; of sacrifice and selflessness, about which cowards like Trump and his ilk know nothing…absolutely nothing.
We need not worry, however. There is not enough room in the jails in any event, to house all of our legitimate complaints. Moreover, there are not enough Corona virus uninfected jailors remaining to oversee the numbers of protestors. It is the Trump administration’s mismanagement of the Covid-19 Pandemic, which ironically ensured this positive outcome.
These are dangerous times that require intelligent decision making on matters ranging from proper handling of the Covid-19 Pandemic, the need for systemic change in our justice system, economic system, educational system, and proper handling of international affairs; the lists go on; and President Trump is 180 degrees wrong on everything.
If ever there was a time to continue to protest until we can clean house, that time is now.