Democracy Is Dying, Starting in Portland
Reports confirm that law abiding American citizens are being plucked off the streets of Portland, Oregon, by otherwise unidentified groups of men wearing camouflage clothing, carrying weapons, and cruising in unmarked combat vehicles.
The same reports identify these vigilantes as troops from U.S. Customs and Border Patrol and security services under the control of the Department of Homeland Security. The acting deputy secretary of DHS, Ken Cuccinelli, stated what many immediately believed, that this was a trial run at a national undertaking:
“With as much lawbreaking is going on, we’re seeking to prosecute as many people as are breaking the law as it relates to federal jurisdiction. That’s not always happening with respect to local jurisdiction and local offenses. But, you know, this is a posture we intend to continue not just in Portland but in any of the facilities that we’re responsible for around the country.”
We cannot say we have not been warned.
No national legal authority was cited for this unprecedented exercise of police power on an American city’s streets, presumably soon to appear in cities all across the nation. What the “federal jurisdiction” is that he has cited is unknown.
Why this vigilante force does not carry identification is not explained. For all the people of Portland know this operation could be carried out by private right-wing organizations in the service of the Trump campaign organization or the White House itself.
For those still repressing the thought that Trump is capable of anything from now until after the election, including its suspension, wake up.
American democracy is at serious risk.
The distinction between traditional police, under the authority of local and State jurisdictions, and the military has been eroding for years. After Vietnam and particularly after draw down of forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, the U.S. military found itself with more combat equipment than it could use. Armored combat vehicles and combat weapons themselves made their way into police forces all across the nation. In effect, local police began to look like, and too often act like, traditional military forces.
Dangers that explode unto the surface have often been marinating under the surface for considerable time.
Consider this: weapons in private citizens’ hands are estimated to be in the range of three hundred million. That’salmost one per person because some gun owners have extensive arsenals. Many of those arsenal owners have armed up in anticipation of a government takeover. If this suggests the possibility of civil war, it should.
Some of the most thoughtful, experienced, and sober people I know now admit to being more concerned, even frightened, than at anytime in their lives. That is because things are happening almost daily that none of us thought could ever happen in America…until they did.
If a political leader can silence an entire political party, what can he not do? He has two or three broadcast networks working for him. Much of the billionaire class is indebted for their tax cuts. He is using the U.S. Postal Service to prevent mail in ballots and putting 50,000 “voting monitors” at polling places to intimidate voters. And now he is deploying his private governmental army on America’s streets.
What more do you need? A knock on the door late at night? Unidentified men in unmarked vehicles plucking you off the streets of your city and depositing you in secret prisons?
This fall if you hear the rumbling of vehicles on your street, it is probably for your neighbor. But it may be for you.