When I worked at a chemical plant, and was involved in statistical testing, I learned one lesson. Never try to extrapolate two data points into a line. Always use at least three data points to determine the slope of a line. Given the dire nature of what we are seeing in the government response to protests across the country, I am violating my long-held prohibition against use of only two data points.
Lafayette Park and Portland. In both cases, the Federal government has used law enforcement personnel that were unidentified, save for a single word: POLICE. The first time these unidentified forces were used, it was to clear the way for our great leader to pose in front of an Episcopal church with a Bible held high. That was bad enough.
But in Portland, things have taken a darker turn, and now we have these unidentifiable troops snatching people off of the streets, throwing them into unmarked vehicles, and whisking them away into detention. At least these individuals have been released promptly and no charges have been filed.
Here’s where the need exists to not allow another data point to be created. That data point will likely involve similar government-sponsored kidnappings, followed by disappearances of the arrested protesters. Or, it will involve non-government groups using tactics similar to these government groups, where they take people off of the street to enforce their own brand of justice. We cannot allow this illegal and immoral effort to expand to any other location across this country, not if we want even a sliver of our Constitutional freedoms to stay intact. When the Federal government believes they have the right to abduct those who have participated in protests, and use the human equivalent of unmarked cars as their enforcers, then all of us are in grave danger. The stated goal is to prevent damage to Federal facilities. But as the tactics used in Portland have shown, any relationship between protection of Federal facilities and the abductions of people off of the streets of a city is purely coincidental.
We are unfortunate that we have a commander in chief who is desperate to create a distraction from his abysmal performance as a leader against “this invisible enemy”. Resurrecting the ghost of George Wallace, he believes that only a strong hand against disorder can save his electoral hopes. Thus he will be increasingly unrestrained in his use of force going forward from here. And should the next election somehow come out in his favor, then he will have his storm troopers in place, with their practices established, and he will be ready to unleash them on any dissent whatsoever. Heaven help all of us who still believe in the rule of law when the person at the top of the Federal pyramid has corrupted the tools of government to only further his own misshapen fever dreams of converting this into a Great America.
Now, as I’ve sat on this post for a while before uploading, we’ve seen the list of cities expanding where Federal forces are to be applied whether they are requested or not. It is happening before our very eyes, and we cannot stand idly by as the nation gets dragged further and further into self-induced chaos and authoritarian dictums. Use your voice to protest this ongoing usurpation of the nation under this President.
4 thoughts on “Eyes Wide Shut”
Spot on as always, I say! TreeParty here, surviving the pandemic and happy to see that you are still making too much sense for any one person! The gathering danger of Trump’s administration is indeed a clear and present threat to self-government in this country. We really, really need to vote Putin’s Puppet out of office. While I am cheered by the polling numbers, I am encouraging everyone to vote in November, along with reminding them of what a BAD, BAD man Trump is.
On a related note, you’ll probable wince at the memory of WriterBeat, where the freewheeling Trumpian culture of disdain, insult, and warped values was on full display. Here’s a little blast from the past that hopefully will amuse you somewhat. https://www.courthousenews.com/protesters-outnumber-straight-pride-supporters-at-central-california-rally/
Ryan Messano an attention-hogging MAGAT! Who knew!!
Anyway, cheers, and thanks for your trenchant commentary.
Hi, Tree. Good to see you again. I’m still fighting the same fight I was on Writerbeat, but I miss the interchanges we had there. Burghal visited me the other day as well. If I could, please go ahead and follow me on WordPress. And are you writing anywhere that I can see your thoughts?
I have been enjoying your writing since the days of WriterBeat, and hope to continue to follow your WordPress blog. I do not have a blog of my own, but I infrequent Disqus as a “sniper for science” against those who would pollute our social intercourse with bovine excrement. My commentary on Disqus is diffuse and tends to be reactive; here is an example:
I had argued with Autumn Cote that Gresham’s Law was operating in her little literary ecosystem, with the excrement tending to drive out the excellent. Here is a passage from the Wikipedia article on Gresham’s Law that I LOVE:
“Gregory Bateson postulated an analogue to Gresham’s Law operating in cultural evolution, in which “the oversimplified ideas will always displace the sophisticated and the vulgar and hateful will always displace the beautiful. And yet the beautiful persists.” ”
And now WriterBeat is extinct..More tragedy of the commons….
Thanks again. Sorry that there is no place where I can see your collected thoughts. You might consider a WordPress blog – cost is only about $10 a month. Yes, it is too bad that Writerbeat is extinct, but I’m amazed it held together as long as it did, since it began several years before it found me.
I do think that Writerbeat exhibited many of the characteristics that the Edsall column discussed. The Edsall column was more like a scientific review of the type I see in Science rather than an opinion piece, with links back to the original studies. I did not go too far back in looking up the sources, though.