By Robert A. Vella
As I and many others have repeatedly warned over the last three years or so, President Trump and his Republican allies have been waging a war against the rule of law in the United States. Their intentions are simple and straightforward – to breakdown the checks and balances in the political system, and to undermine the impartiality and objectivity of the legal system, in order to empower their authoritarian control over the country in favor of consolidated wealth, big business, Christian sectarianism, and white supremacy. By destroying America’s constitutional foundations, Trump (who is motivated by self-interest) and the GOP (which is motivated by right-wing ideology) are attempting to sow distrust, disorder, and violence among the populace which would allow them to justify a brutal crackdown on civilized society. Why would they do such a malicious thing? Because they realize that the majority of Americans oppose them and that they cannot get what they want through the democratic process.
This is exactly what happened when fascists seized power in Italy during the 1920s and when the Nazis took control of Germany in the early 1930s.
Last night marked the third day in a row of violent protests across many U.S. cities over the videotaped murder a black man by a white police officer and three uniformed accomplices in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The victim, George Floyd, was suspected of forging a $20 check. For that alleged crime, which pales in comparison to the innumerable offenses committed by Trump and his henchmen, Floyd was given an immediate death sentence by a single man without a formal prosecution and trial. The four police officers were quickly fired, but none of them have been arrested yet despite sufficient evidence to do so.
Like Trump and his ilk, these policemen are above the law. Floyd, and millions of other ordinary Americans, are below the law. When white supremacists stormed into Charlottesville, Virginia in August 2017, did the police oppose them? No, they tried to shield them from counter-protesters and then failed to intervene when the deadly violence erupted (see: Charlottesville protest report finds police failed at violent rally). When a similar group of heavily-armed white nationalists occupied the Michigan state capitol this month threatening legislators and accosting security personnel, did the police react aggressively? No, they acted with extraordinary restraint (see: Michigan closes state Capitol as protesters gather against stay-at-home order). But, when the protesters are ethnic minorities, striking workers, or other left-wing activists (e.g. Occupy Wall Street), confrontation by the police is usually swift and often typified by the use of force (e.g. tear gas, water-cannons, and rubber bullets).
Yes, some of the protesters (and perhaps some agent provocateurs) vandalized private and public property and looted stores. But, does that warrant this double-standard by law enforcement? No, it most certainly doesn’t.
152 years ago, the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was passed to codify the equal application of law in the wake of the Civil War:
Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
It was done during Reconstruction to ensure that all citizens, especially former slaves, are treated equally under the nation’s laws. Without this sense of fairness, the people will not respect the law nor will they want to obey it. The result is always anarchy and authoritarian oppression. It cannot be avoided. It’s what Trump and his minion want.
Here’s today’s news headlines:
Live Coronavirus News: World Updates – The coronavirus pandemic’s pace is quickening worldwide, with nearly 700,000 new known infections reported in the last week after the pathogen found greater footholds in Latin America and the Gulf states.