Send in the Troops

Originally posted on July 19, 2020

Earlier I posted on the actions of federal troops in Portland Oregon. More recently I came across the Executive Order that Trump issued on June 26, 2020 to authorize these troops, and not just for Portland. Most of it is legal justifications but there was some of it that struck me as nakedly political and aimed at Trump’s base. Below are the passages I found bothersome along with some of my own thoughts.

Many of the rioters, arsonists, and left-wing extremists who have carried out and supported these acts have explicitly identified themselves with ideologies — such as Marxism — that call for the destruction of the United States system of government. And how does Trump know this? From what I’ve seen, many (or maybe most) of those actually arrested are right-wing agitators seeking to discredit the BLM movement.

Anarchists and left-wing extremists have sought to advance a fringe ideology that paints the United States of America as fundamentally unjust and have sought to impose that ideology on Americans through violence and mob intimidation. Again, how does Trump know this? I’d bet that if you polled Americans you’d find a fair number, maybe even a majority, who would agree that America is “fundamentally unjust”.

Christian figures are now in the crosshairs, too. Recently, an influential activist for one movement that has been prominent in setting the agenda for demonstrations in recent weeks declared that many existing religious depictions of Jesus and the Holy Family should be purged from our places of worship. I tried for quite some time to see if anyone had identified the unnamed “influential activist”, without success. For all we know, Trump was watching some right-wind web conspiracy-minded web site and picked it up from there. This is nothing more than an appeal to the evangelicals, and very possibly based on a lie.

Worse, they apparently have lost the will or the desire to stand up to the radical fringe and defend the fundamental truth that America is good, her people are virtuous, and that justice prevails in this country to a far greater extent than anywhere else in the world. How many Americans would agree that “justice prevails in this country to a far greater extend than anywhere else in the world”? Again, I suspect a fair number would not, and not just U.S. citizens. As examples, the map below shows the corruption ranking from Transparency International. Note that the U.S. is light green and there are two darker shades of green, mostly in Europe, where the corruption is lower than the U.S.

Or take a look at Reporters Without Borders and their ranking of press freedoms. The U.S. ranks 45 out of 180.

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