The Assault

4 Jun

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We have watched much that I cherish attacked during the Trump administration.  Everything that represents life and nurture: protection of the environment, programs designed to sustain the neediest, expanded healthcare, refuge for the immigrant, racial justice, respect for our LGBTQA+ family.  If it wasn’t under attack from the White House, it was under attack by Republican control of the House and Senate, or the courts stacked by Mitch McConnell.

But Lafayette Square made clear the direction this administration intends to take.  The reactive stage, the wiping out of inclusion and dignity, has now entered the proactive stage, the elimination of voice and power.  I was playing with characters a few months ago thinking about members of Trump’s cabinet.  Stephen Miller epitomized the excesses of its dark agenda by creating the architecture for the dehumanization and torture of immigrants in concentration camps.

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Stephen Miller

As long as these attacks were directed at specific targets, such as immigrants, we could only speculate about a web the administration might be creating, a web expanding beyond the few to include the many.  That arrived on Monday.

Attorney General William Barr ordered peaceful protesters dispersed so that Trump could walk to a nearby Episcopalian church for a photo-op.  White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany lied to the public today insisting that law enforcement was only defending itself from violent protestors.  I have watched videos, looked at photographs, and read first-hand accounts: this was an aggressive, brutal assault against peaceful demonstrators by law enforcement.  Mayor Muriel E. Bowser of Washington was not apprised beforehand.  The Virginia suburb of Arlington County has withdrawn its forces from the White House and other federal sites because of this attack.

Barr, though, is setting the next stage.  Yesterday militarized individuals entered the scene without law enforcement insignia identifying their agency.  When questioned by journalist Dan Friedman a few individuals would only say that they were placed there by Department of Justice.  We will lose our power in Barr’s staging because those who attack us with batons, flash grenades, and chemical spray will not be accountable.

And our voice will disappear when the Republican Party’s plan is realized, already a work in progress: to rig our court system nationwide and muzzle the press.

Baker, Peter, Maggie Haberman, Katie Rogers, Zolan Kanno-Youngs and Katie Benner. “How Trump’s Idea for a Photo Op Led to Havoc in a Park,” The New York Times, June 2, 2020; https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/02/us/politics/trump-walk-lafayette-square.html

Friedman, Dan. “Trump Has Flooded DC With Law Enforcement Officers Who Won’t Identify Themselves,” Mother Jones, June 3, 2020; https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2020/06/trump-has-flooded-dc-with-law-enforcement-officers-who-wont-identify-themselves/

Gittleson, Ben and Jordyn Phelps. “Trump denies ordering protestors forcibly removed for church photo op,” ABC News, June 3, 2020; https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/trump-denies-ordering-protesters-forcibly-removed-church-photo/story?id=71042680

“In Pictures: Protestors teargassed for Trump photo-op,” Al Jazeera, June 2, 2020; https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/inpictures/pictures-protesters-teargassed-trump-photo-op-200602072413665.html

 

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