My Turn: Americans must stand up to support true freedom

  • Demonstrators huddle and blow back tear gas with leaf blowers during clashes with federal officers during a Black Lives Matter protest at the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse Wednesday in Portland, Ore. AP

For the Monitor
Published: 7/30/2020 6:40:33 AM

In every group there will inevitably be a few evildoers who slip in to use the group as cover. It is up to the group to self-police and when a source of evil is identified, cast it out.

Unfortunately, leadership within a group is sometimes blind or inherently prone to evil itself, thus enabling evil to succeed to the detriment of the group and sometimes beyond. Evildoers feed upon the misery of others and attempts to quell their influence can lead to group instability, which further feeds narcissistic and pathological behavior.

Such it seems to be the way with the Portland protests. Most eerie is recent historical precedent of Bashar al-Assad who, to the horror of the civilized world, used chemical weapons against his own people in Syria. This initiated an international response, including military intervention.

In the case of Portland, tear gas is classified as a chemical weapon whose military use is banned by most countries, including the United States. Perhaps taking a cue from Assad or Iranian Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli, some despotic authorities here in the United States see its use domestically as a justifiable means to try to disperse protesters whose views are at odds with their own. Note in the past the United States has sanctioned chemical weapon wielding foreign leaders, and in the case of Assad, authorized military force to try to help remove them.

Fortunately in the United States, we potentially have the Constitution and its amendments, especially the First and 25th, as a means to voice the need for and prevent chaos. Meanwhile perpetrators of action against people practicing their constitutional rights might see the chain of command as absolute authority to justify their use of chemical weapons to prevent those bent on peaceful protesting or wielding spray paint. They might want to remember history and the trials at Nuremberg. Those who blindly (or with glee) followed Hitler were finally brought to justice. Ultimately this was made possible by the Allies’ strategic deployment of “good enough” hardware by legions of soldiers who overcame the limited and rapidly dwindling resources of the ever more desperate Nazis.

Rather than hope for military intervention by the civilized world, let us support the deployment of Leaf-blower Dads and Walls of Moms to preserve the right to protest inequity to help save our great nation. Sign up to create phalanxes of voters come Tuesday, Nov. 3. It is up to all Americans to support true freedom as guaranteed to us all by the Constitution in any way we can regardless of our personal views on any other contemporary issues.

(Alexander Slocum lives in Bow.)

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