I looked at the video of federal police throwing a Portland Black Lives Matter protester into the back of an unmarked van, and wondered, “What year is this?”
Hell, what country, for that matter? How far have we fallen in this country to where Posse Comitatus can be so blatantly violated? The dangerous precedent that President Donald Trump has set on the streets of Portland has made federal troops unwelcome in almost every place that Trump desires to deploy them to quell civil unrest.
It looks like the proposed “Operation Legend” will make Trump anything but when the history is finally written.
The “legendary” status Trump seeks will likely go to leaders like Gov. Jared Polis, who rejected the call by Republican state Rep. Dave Williams to bring federal troops to Colorado. In a sycophantic letter written to our president, Williams not only asked for federal troops, but used some of the president’s favorite buzzwords.
In it, he called out Antifa, “thugs” and even used the term “Chinese” coronavirus in reference to COVID-19. This reads less like a call for perceived necessary help, and more like an attempt to gain favor with Trump.
I laughed while reading it, as Williams’ words reminded me of a school boy telling the teacher about his unruly classmate. In the letter, Williams goes even further to inform Trump about the lawsuit against Polis filed by Tavern League of Colorado over the shutdowns, and accuses him of allowing lawlessness in Colorado. He cites the vandalism from the protest and the rise in violent crime as proof of his claims.
Polis and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock have flatly refused the “help” of the president. Then, on Wednesday, Colorado’s U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet joined forces with Oregon Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden along with other Democratic senators to announce efforts to block Trump from deploying even more federal forces into American cities. They called the federal troops “a shadowy paramilitary against Americans.”
To be fair, local leaders haven’t been perfect in this particular stance to quell civil uprising. On June 8, 21-year-old Jax Feldmann was blinded in one eye after being hit with a projectile fired by Denver’s own riot police.
Injuries from projectiles fired by police were not uncommon in June when Civic Center park was rocked by nightly protests. This kind of “less-than-lethal” force prompted language in the recently passed SB-217 that directly addresses and bans projectiles fired by riot police.
With this move, Colorado’s Democratic officials have learned their lesson. I wonder when Republicans will do the same. Last I checked, the GOP championed the Second Amendment specifically to guard against tyranny. It seems this doesn’t apply when their president is the tyrant.
Come on Republicans, come to your senses. According to the Portland protesters, these troops had no identifying marks, no badges and their vehicles were indistinct.
Without a reading of Miranda rights, or following any legal protocols for an arrest, they basically abducted American citizens on American soil.
But, since it happened to protesters fighting for a liberal cause, your patriotism took a back seat to partisan grudges. Had Obama done this to the Tea Party protesters, your heads would likely have exploded with anger.
Things are still chaotic in Denver, but they’re nowhere near what they were in June. A week ago, protesters clashed with participants at a pro-police rally in Denver. And yes, there has been a slight uptick in violent crime in Denver.
But is it a lawless wasteland on the brink of total societal breakdown as Rep. Williams implies? Not even close.
Instead of fixing Denver with federal troops, perhaps you should fix your patriotism by reading the Federalist Papers, Republicans. I know this is going to shock you, but the Constitution applies to liberals, too.
It applies to those who protest on behalf of Black Lives Matter, and it applies to states with liberal governors. I don’t agree with Polis on everything, but this time, in my opinion, he made the right call for Colorado.
Theo Wilson is a poet, speaker, activist and CNN contributor. Learn more about him at TheoWilson.net.
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