Wednesday, June 03, 2020

Police brutality, Donald Trump, and the shaming of America

It is too late to say, as I did only about a week ago, that Donald Trump is about to wreck this nation. He has already finished us off, bankrupting us socially, morally, and diplomatically. Our nation's actual financial bankruptcy is probably not far behind, but by the time it happens, it probably won’t even matter any more. We are already pariahs in the eyes of the civilized world.

Even a mere one hundred days ago, who could have an imagined a nation of Americans, trapped in their homes — by a pandemic that worsened while the White House chose for weeks to pretend wasn’t happening? And now we're also trapped by curfews that make us criminals for stepping out of our own homes in the evening. Or even for sitting on our own porches.

And who could have imagined us turning on television or our computers and telephones to see four policemen nonchalantly and brazenly murder someone, in full public view, with several cameras recording their crime? The murderous sadists took their victim's life by slow, torturous, strangulation, taunting him to get up if he didn’t want to be strangled, even as they pinned him to the street so that he couldn’t possibly get up.

This after arresting him because he may or may not have tried to spend a $20 bill that may or may not have been counterfeit.

The brutal evidence

For some reason blogger won't upload the video. But it's worth the detour and the time it takes to see it here in all its stark horror.

It was not surprising that the reaction went national. In recent years we have been exposed to waves of murders of Black people for “crimes” that ranged, essentially, from jogging while Black to selling loose cigarettes while Black, to sleeping at home while Black. Less expected was the counter-reaction of rampaging police wantonly attacking protesters, bystanders and the press, that followed in short order. The brutal police reaction has gravely compounded the problem

In Washington, D.C., police suddenly barraged with rubber bullets and tear gas, and then charged with swinging shields and batons into a park full of legally-assembled and peaceful protestors, wantonly injuring whomever stood in their way. This included an Australian news crew whose cameraman was slammed in the ribs and stomach and then the face by a policeman, while the woman who had already been struck by rubber bullets, got whacked with a police billy club. 

It turned out that the President's address, which boiled down to his authoritarian opinion, worthy of Benito Mussolini, that the people of the United States who protest lawfully must be "dominated," was only part of why he wanted the protesters cleared out. Trump also wanted to head to a church adjacent to the park for a photo op of himself waving a Bible, and he didn’t want the annoyance of protestors screwing up his concocted pious photo op. The Episcopal Bishop of Washington D.C., as you've seen if you've watched the video above, was infuriated.

Worldwide disgust 
with the USA

And now the international level of loathing for Donald Trump’s America has exploded. Take the attack of the thug cops against the young Australian newswoman. Politico reports:
The Australian government has asked its embassy in Washington to investigate an incident of violence against an Australian news crew by U.S. law enforcement that transpired during efforts to disperse peaceful protesters and enable President Donald Trump’s photo opportunity in front of a church near the White House.
Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne confirmed the formal request for the probe in an interview Tuesday with ABC Radio National, saying she is seeking counsel from embassy officials “on how we would go about registering Australia’s strong concerns with the responsible local authorities” in the U.S. capital.
Meanwhile, also from one of our oldest and most loyal allies, comes an explosion of disgusted public opinion. “Strong concern” be damned. Our former allies are furious enough to be turning on us in rage. Said one Twitter commentator:

I watched this live. In a country like Australia without a gun culture & where we learn about the rest of the world & our place in it, this is truly frightening. We can call it as we see it. The USA is descending into martial law. Next stop: Dictatorship.

And this, which sums it all up:
Replying to 
This is what Australian troops dying in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan bought us hey.

Nor has the disgust with the United States been limited to just one ally. Robin Wright in The New Yorker reports: 
The outrage about the lack of decency and the American double standard has now gone global in everyday life, including sport. In Germany, where a soccer league recently became the first in Europe to resume play (albeit without fans), four players individually expressed their anger in matches over the weekend. After scoring his first career hat trick, Jadon Sancho, of Borussia Dortmund, pulled off his yellow shirt to reveal another shirt underneath, with a handwritten message in black letters: “Justice for George Floyd.” He was willing to take a yellow card for misconduct, for playing politics on the field. He later tweeted, about scoring, “A bittersweet moment personally as there are more important things going on in the world today that we must address and help make a change.” His teammate Achraf Hakimi followed suit after he scored, later in the game. In another match, a player took a knee after scoring, the same symbolic move made famous by the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. What is striking about the protest signs and the body language, whatever country they’re in, is that they are almost all in English or use symbols from the American experience. The message in so many lands—that America has failed its people—is meant for American ears.
The protests reflect a broader global despair about the failure of the American experiment—and what that means for the rest of the world. “People all over the world understand that their own fights for human rights, for equality and fairness, will become so much more difficult to win if we are going to lose America as the place where ‘I have a dream’ is a real and universal political program,” Wolfgang Ischinger, the former German Ambassador to Washington and the current chairman of the Munich Security Conference, told me. “Let’s hope the demonstrations all over the world will help remind Washington that U.S. soft power is a unique asset, setting America apart from other great powers—from China, Russia, and even from Europe. It would be tragic if the Trump Administration turned a huge opportunity for the U.S. into a moral abdication.”
In Africa, U.S. diplomats have scrambled to counter the damage to America’s image over the past week. A prominent media entrepreneur in the Democratic Republic of the Congo directed a scathing tweet to Mike Hammer, the U.S. Ambassador: “Dear ambassador, your country is shameful. Proud America, which went through everything from segregation to the election of Barack Obama, still hasn’t conquered the demons of racism. How many black people must be killed by white police officers before authorities react seriously?”
For that matter, Donald Trump’s destruction of the nation has not gone unnoticed by those who are not our friends. The New Yorker continues:
America’s rivals are exploiting the growing U.S. unrest for their own goals—and to justify their own policies. In China, the editor of the Global Times cynically tweeted, “I want to ask Speaker Pelosi and Secretary Pompeo: Should Beijing support protests in the U.S., like you glorified rioters in Hong Kong?” Over the past week, Trump and Pompeo have issued sharp public condemnations of China for its new security law allowing crackdowns on months of pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. In Russia, Vladimir Putin’s Foreign Ministry lambasted “systemic problems in human rights” in the United States. “This incident is far from the first in a series of lawless conduct and unjustified violence from U.S. law enforcement,” the ministry said, in a statement. “American police commit such high-profile crimes all too often.” 

Already, some Americans I know are wondering if it isn’t time to let this ship sink under the weight of its own sudden turn toward authoritarianism and get the hell out. Some mention Canada. Others New Zealand. One friend talks about emigrating to Iceland. Iceland!

As for myself, I harbor the fantasy that Donald Trump and some of his closest aides will meet the same fate that another unconscionable dictator who brutalized his people and encouraged their brutalization by government forces met. 


Bill said...

The thought of leaving the country because of a tyrant is a damn shame. Almost as shameful as the many that are still being hoodwinked by this con man and flat out criminal.

Victor said...

I kind of hope our ILL Douche ends up like Mussolini:
Hanging upside-down from a fucking meathook!

Or, like his hero, Hitler:
A murder/suicide in the bunker with his beloved - Ivanka (you thought I was gonna write, Melanoma, his 3rd wife, didn't you, silly?).

Dave Dubya said...

From the Rose Garden: " I will fight to protect you. I am your President of law and order, and an ally of all peaceful protesters."

Minutes later: "Ok, Barr. Smash and gas those peaceful protesters so I can have my Bible photo-op."

From failed state to police state. How great is that?