The New York Times on Monday shared the fate of a U.S. Naval Academy graduate in Portland, Ore., who wished to discover the identity of the men behind the faceless, robotic players in camouflage and body armor currently roughing up Portland’s protestors.
The thugs are grabbing Americans in the dark of night and locking them in rental trucks and holding cells in a federal courthouse without charges. The federal police kidnapping Portland’s citizens are ostensibly guarding federal property from Black Lives Matter protests sparked in the wake of George Floyd’s murder at the hands of police in Minneapolis.
The former naval officer is 53-year old Christopher J. David, once a vaunted “Seabee,” one who can build or fight with equanimity. David told the Times that the goon squad’s use of violent tactics without the support or permission of Oregon’s state and local officials was a violation of the oaths federal officers take to uphold and defend the U.S. Constitution. He demanded to know why. By Trump’s standard, David is an anarchist who wants to destroy America.
For his troubles, David was beaten with a baton by one federal officer while another hosed him down with pepper spray for daring to ask who they were. The assault was recorded and has made the rounds on social media. David’s right hand was broken in the attack and will require surgery to install pins, screws and plates.
The men doing the dirty work need to disciplined, though that is unlikely to ever happen.
Oregon’s governor, the Portland’s mayor, local police and political figures all say the feds were not invited and need to go.
The feds terrorizing Portland belong to the U.S. Marshals Service and an “elite US Customs and Border Protection unit,” whatever the hell that is. The U.S. Marshals Service is usually relegated to hunting down and capturing federal fugitives. The mythical Rooster Cogburn was one of them. They have a tradition of roughness.
It isn’t immediately clear what duties “elite border guards” are assigned, though they appear to be branching out from throwing brown children into cages and terrorizing their parents.
Trump chortled Monday about how good a job his robots are doing. The White House spin is they are the front line of his defense for protecting historic monuments to Confederate traitors.
The president now says he is may send his goons to Chicago, a place with plenty of its own goons that are among the baddest asses in America, so that could soon get interesting in a real bad way.
It is more likely this diversion is a thinly disguised pretext for Trumpites to send unneeded or wanted federal law enforcement formations into civilian population centers without any authority beyond their guns and hidden badges. Trump’s broader aim is to appear to be Mr. Law and Order, pushing back against protesters who mock his vision of Making America Great Again.
The Trumplandian response to the BLM protests and mauling of monuments was initially low key, more bluster than bite. But the dynamic changed two weeks ago when Trump turned up his “we gotta protect our heritage” noise.
For awhile, the Republican “be afraid” re-election video starring Trump’s goons pummeling the citizenry of Washington, D.C. was all he had to show for his bullshit. Then his mysterious goon squad appeared in Portland.
“In Portland they’ve done a fantastic job,” Trump said about his camouflaged thugs.
Trump on Monday said that in addition to sending federal forces in Chicago, he may send them to New York, Detroit, Baltimore and Oakland. Not one place on his list will likely react favorably. Trump isn’t too damn bright sometimes.
There is no denying that protestors’ raucous behavior in Portland and Seattle rattled a lot of people. When the Seattle protests ended quietly enough, some breathed a sigh of relief. The demonstrators in Oregon however, didn’t follow suit. They have, for more than 50 days, been picking apart the fabric of peaceful protest with displays of misdirected, destructive anger over the death of Floyd, the defenseless black man killed slowly on real-time TV by murderous cops in Minnesota.
If the Oregon protesters’ intent is to make permanent changes to the system, everywhere and immediately, they need to consider that burning things to the ground only breeds fear and contempt among mainstream voters.
Trump knows it and he also knows how to fan the flames. Democratic challenger Joe Biden’s lead in the polls could melt away if violence continues to erupt all over the country in reaction to badge heavy federal thugs. Binge watching the Floyd video, along with other examples of innocent black man and women being murdered at the hands of police everywhere will also continue to fan the flames.
Despite the despair, Trump and his overtly racist minions have done nothing to dampen the fuse that is still slow-burning across the nation. Trump’s game plan for November needs the rioting, angst, anger, and violence to continue erupting all summer. It will make his law-and-order promise seem better and better.
The luminaries demanding “change or else” need to keep that in mind.
Floyd’s heart-rending murder triggered recollections of 450 years of white repression and outrages against people of color that has already fueled a long summer reminiscent of the “Summer Of Rage” in 1968 when the super-heated Vietnam War and murder of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Sen. Robert F. Kennedy provoked an entire summer of explosive upheavals. The world then believed America was on the verge of civil war.
Already, fence-sitting white voters are waiting to see which way the winds blows. More and more say they want Trump gone, but the riots and rampage need to simmer down if Trump is defeated. It would be sad to watch Democrats defeat themselves.
The late Rep. John Lewis set the bar for finding justice in hate-filled streets 57 years ago. It is time for another generation to raise that bar even higher. Martyred Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. provided one solution that is easy to understand, but very dangerous to actually do.
“An individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law.”
Perhaps some day the same thinking will define this generation’s heroes.