Autocratic Threat Grows With Federal Law Enforcement Sent To Cities

Collins tweet: Septamber 5, 2018
Collins tweet: Septamber 5, 2018

I suspect my readers with children, or perhaps even with memories of their own early driving experiences, know the rationale for teaching others the reason to adhere to stop signs when behind the wheel.  There are reasons to know the limits of our actions, and the dreadful consequences which can follow if laws and rules are discarded.

Such as what is now happening in this nation as Donald Trump is deploying federal law enforcement to cities.  As if the constitutional nature of such action was not bad enough on its face, he has doubled down to make it worse by sending in these forces to major cities with Democratic mayors—in an election year.  We have knowledge of federal agents in Portland having snatched protesters off the streets and throwing them into unmarked vehicles, without being aware of who the agents were or what happened to the ones trucked off.

If you recall the history of Chili, with General Pinochet, all which occurred in my lifetime and I suspect the same for many of my readers, you will grasp why this matter taking place now in our nation is most alarming.

The desire to look tough and act autocratically has long been the default for Trump.  That he hungers and slavishly seeks the favorable nods and ‘love letters’ from dictators worldwide has not been lost on a swath of the nation over the past years.  As with this blog, there has been constant attention to the autocratic nature of Trump.  Those conservatives in the Republican base, who refuse to stand up for the better interests of the nation, in light of the facts, is something historians will need to explain.

Each presidential election year the GOP has spasms and urgings to show how tough they are and how patriotic they can be.  George H.W. Bush, who often gets respect for international policy on this blog, was nonetheless going for the gutter when he used the flag for his bid for the Oval Office, just as Richard Nixon is to be harangued for stoking the middle-class angst over cultural discord in the 1968 election.

But what Trump is doing is far, far worse.  It should be clear to everyone by now that he has no allegiance to, or appreciation of, our republic.  With his desire to move into cities with federal troops he is clearly demonstrating a goonish attempt to use federal power for his narrow and personal aims.

The reason I started this column out with the needs of our youth being mindful of laws while driving, is that the same is needed when as adults we also need to be mindful of the actions of our leaders.  When someone like Trump blows past the guardrails of our federal government they need to be yanked back and reprimanded.

Just a few weeks ago we all shared in watching the shocking display of federal over-reach from the Trump Administration at Lafayette Park.   With the creation of daily chaos from this White House, which is a calculated attempt to keep a boiling pot in the nation, nothing was done to underscore for Trump that what he did at the park was not to be allowed.   The Trump administration authorized the use of  “pepper balls,” a projectile munition that lofts irritant powder into the air, and “smoke canisters” to scatter the peaceful crowd then assembled so Trump could stand with a bible, just another book he does not read, in front of a church.

We have seen what he will do in the light of day, as evidenced by that episode.  So there should be no real surprise that the current targets of Trump’s autocratic reign are the states and cities in which he is overwhelmingly unpopular. Ask yourself, where does this power grab from Trump end?

It is vital that cities and states stand firm, and send a powerful message that this autocratic move will not be allowed.  Trump is striving to foment a crisis and have it balloon to one that will ‘become necessary’ for him to declare martial law and negate the election results.  Do not laugh.  Who would have ever thought our nation would be kneeling as we are today.

History shows us how this happens when a paranoid, corrupt, and soulless autocrat sends in a secret police force to beat, abuse, and intimidate citizens.

That is now happening in the United States.