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May 31, 2020

There’s sort of a pattern that’s emerged in the last week of protesting: during the day, there are generally peaceful protests, marches, speeches in cities across the country. As evening falls, and curfews go into effect, the crowds change and it seems to get a lot more raucous. Unclear who’s responsible for all the destruction, fires and looting that have been characterizing some of the night gatherings. This will become clearer as we go on.

Some images from the last couple of days of protests:

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This meme’s been circulating on social media. Captures the hypocrisy well.

 

peacefully

 

An excerpt from today’s Letters from an American — a fantastic daily summary of each day’s events written by Heather Cox Richardson, an historian and history professor at Boston College (she’s been writing these for about 6 months now). It’s my favorite read each and every day.

For all the uncertainty, there was one very clear story today. Although he tweeted angrily, Trump stayed out of sight, and from the safety of the White House continued to feed the flames burning America. “The Lamestream Media is doing everything within their power to foment hatred and anarchy,” he tweeted this morning, apparently unmoved by the videos of journalists arrested and shot with rubber bullets last night. “As long as everybody understands what they are doing, that they are FAKE NEWS and truly bad people with a sick agenda, we can easily work through them to GREATNESS.”

He announced “The United States of America will be designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization,” although there is actually no organized group of radicals identified as Antifa (a term drawn from “anti-fascist”), and U.S. law does not permit the government to designate domestic groups as terrorist organizations anyway. “FAKE NEWS!” he tweeted, and “LAW & ORDER!”

Trump’s attempt to project strength took on quite a different cast when a New York Times story this evening revealed that he had spent an hour Friday night in the White House underground bunker, where Secret Service had taken him. The Associated Press reported that Trump has told advisors he is worried for his safety, and that he and his family “have been shaken by the size and venom of the crowds,” according to “a Republican close to the White House.”

An A. P. story then offered a doozy of a paragraph: “As cities burned night after night and images of violence dominated television coverage, Trump’s advisers discussed the prospect of an Oval Office address in an attempt to ease tensions. The notion was quickly scrapped for lack of policy proposals and the president’s own seeming disinterest in delivering a message of unity.”

That Trump hid in the White House while he was urging others to violence captures his personality, but it undercuts his carefully crafted image as a man of courage. The leak of this story is itself astonishing: we should not know how a president is being protected, and that Trump is bullying to project an image of being a tough guy while he is actually hiding is a big story, especially since presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden was out in the streets talking to protesters today. And to admit that Trump has no policy proposals and has no interest in delivering a message of unity…. Wow.

And now for something completely different, from Joe Biden:

Protesting such brutality is right and necessary. It’s an utterly American response. But burning down communities and needless destruction is not. Violence that endangers lives is not. Violence that guts and shutters businesses that serve the community is not. The act of protesting should never be allowed to overshadow the reason we protest. It should not drive people away from the just cause that protest is meant to advance.

And.. he attended a protest .. yes, it’s photo op, but who cares? He went, he talked, he listened, he’ll act.

joe at protest

 

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