Is THIS a bridge too far?
On Monday, the president of the United States directed military action against his fellow American citizens as they lawfully exercised their constitutional rights of free speech and assembly in a park close to the White House. Said military action produced volleys of tear gas, rubber bullets, pepper spray, and displays of forcible physical contact between military personnel and civilians. The sound of tear gas explosions and, perhaps, so-called "flashbangs" could be heard as the president delivered a brief statement in which he declared his intention to introduce U.S. military forces into American cities if the mayors and governors of those cities and their states don't take the actions he deems necessary to quell protests and their concomitant violence in reaction to the death of George Floyd last week while in police custody.
At the end of his statement - which he made without taking questions from the assembled journalists - the president said he was about to "pay [his] respects to a very special place." That "very special place" turned out to be St. John's Church, often referred to as "the church of the presidents," since so many American presidents have worshiped there. The church had been the victim of significant vandalism Sunday night and was boarded up when the president arrived... to have his picture taken in front of the building as he held a Bible, first by himself, then with others in his entourage: the Secretary of Defense and the White House press secretary to name two.
In total, by my estimation, the president spent no more than five seconds looking at the church building during his handful-of-minutes visit to the site. Most of his time was spent looking at cameras as he held the Bible and stood with others. Immediately after the picture-taking ended, the president handed the Bible to someone and walked back to the White House... as his fellow Americans nursed rubber bullet wounds and washed tear gas and pepper spray from their eyes.
So the president of the United States directed military action against fellow United States citizens as they lawfully exercised their constitutional rights to assemble and speak their minds because he wanted to walk across the street from the White House for a five minute photo op. Is THAT too much for you, @reformed, @Wolfgang ? You both have expressed resilient support for and loyalty to Mr Trump. Are you bothered that he would trample on Americans' right to assemble so that he could get his picture taken?
- Had President Obama militarily shut down a gun rights protest so that he could get a selfie, would you have supported his action, @reformed?
- How about for you, @Wolfgang? Were Angela Merkel to do such a thing as people peacefully protested in Berlin or any other city, would you support her action?
In my view, the president's actions on Monday were among the most offensive, outrageous, and egregious yet - despicable, yet sadly demonstrative of his autocratic, despotic leanings. What say you two (and any others)?