We have heard Donald Trump use the phrase “law and order.” A lot. In June, he claimed to be “your president of law and order” (video here) in response to the social unrest, public protests, looting, and violent acts that have spread across the country, especially as part of the Black Lives Matter movement.
He was talking about American citizens. They are your neighbors, your friends, your sons and daughters, and aunts and uncles. Presumably most are also taxpayers. You may disagree with them, may even be disgusted by their actions. However, everyone can recognized that they are angry and upset enough that they took to the streets.
What could possibly be more American than taking to the streets?
The annual March for Life in Washington DC. The Boston Tea Party. The Women’s Suffrage Parade of 1913. The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963. The Stonewall Riots in New York City. The Women’s Marches in 2017.
These public gatherings of people with grievances are mostly nonviolent. In the list above, one contains the word “riots” in it. In this case, the riot occurred because of disproportionate police response to gay men congregating in a bar. Can you remember when police used to raid gay bars and beat the patrons before arresting them? That happened in my lifetime.
At this point, I ask you to consider two questions:
- Can you imagine how the Black Lives Matter protests would go absent the presence of law enforcement in riot gear, poised and ready to unleash tear gas, pepper spray, batons, tasers, and rubber bullets on their neighbors?
- Can you imagine how the Black Lives Matter protests would go if — instead of treating his fellow citizens as criminals — Donald Trump stopped talking and listened to the grievances of these Americans?
The answer to both questions is “no” because the situation is what it is because Donald Trump is who he is. When faced with a confrontation, Trump has always and will always: a) hit back; and b) never apologize (learn more here). His instincts are to “fire” people. Trump’s instincts are not a recipe for law and order.
Rather than upholding law and order by seeking peaceful resolutions with these Americans who hold a grievance, Donald Trump is inciting violence. Do you remember when he told white supremacists to “stand back and stand by” at the presidential debate? And do you know that, following the president’s lead, Trump supporters are threatening civil war if he is not reelected (here) and Trump is doing nothing to tamp down their fears?
You cannot achieve law and order at the end of a gun barrel. Not in this country. We are way too ornery to go stand in the corner just because someone told us to. We are a nation of people who have succeeded when we sit down, look each other in the eye, and talk through our differences.
Do you know who has actually sat down with folks, talked about Black Lives Matter issues, and developed real plans to help this country achieve peace and work towards justice? Joe Biden (see here, here, or here) .
Please vote for Joe Biden. Thanks for your consideration.
The author served as Director of Communications for the Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities under Republican and Democratic administrations from 2008-2018. His opinions do not necessarily reflect the policies and views of the department or those of current Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf.