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Trump Photo-Op Co-Opts Constitution

Bishop T.D. Jakes warned America is confronting three crises simultaneously:

  • a health pandemic (COVID-19);
  • an economic pandemic (resulting recession);
  • a social pandemic (death of George Floyd and protests).

A “dangerous time for our country”, he added.

3rd Strike and You’re Out?

The third crisis demands attention. George Floyd, black, accused of passing a counterfeit $20 bill in Minneapolis, was held face-down by a white policeman, his knee on Floyd’s neck. Floyd complained he couldn’t breathe; but the officer, with three others assisting, held him down anyway – until he died.

Protests erupted all over America (and the world), with outraged blacks – and whites – demonstrating against police brutality. Sadly, some turned violent, with burning and looting. The anger was understandable, but “two wrongs don’t make a right”.

A familiar pattern: a horrible event, outrage and protests, outcries for “law and order”, politicians (like President Trump) politicizing – and not much changing. Eventually, similar tragedies occur.

Even hard-core law and order cheerleader Rush Limbaugh condemned Floyd’s killing, along with Trump (initially) and most Americans, including The Modern Moderate. Cruel and unjustifiable, since surveillance video showed Floyd did not resist.

Trump’s Wanton Waffling

Trump claimed to be “an ally of all peaceful protesters”.

Finally, something everybody could agree on: Americans’ right to peacefully assemble, guaranteed by the First Amendment.

Apparently not. Trump waffled, using presidential authority to deny that right. National Guard troops, firing tear gas, rubber bullets and stun grenades, repelled peaceful protesters from Lafayette Square, near the White House.

Why?  Trump wanted himself photographed at nearby St. John’s Church. He walked there, surrounded by massive security and some staff (all white, none wearing masks or social distancing).

Have a Little Faith

Trump didn’t notify church officials he was coming. He posed at the church, holding a Bible. He didn’t open it, he didn’t quote it – he just held it like a prop in a reality show. Former VP Joe Biden asked: Does Trump ever read or quote the Bible on his own accord? Asked if it was HIS Bible, Trump muttered “it’s a Bible.”

He didn’t enter the church. Does he ever enter any church, on his own accord, except when ceremonies require presidential visits? He claims to be Presbyterian, but which church does he attend? How often?

He didn’t offer a prayer for Floyd’s family or troubled America.  Does he ever offer prayers on his own accord?

TMM hates questioning anybody’s faith; but based on history and behavior, are we to believe Trump is a devout believer? Or does he just play that role (in his ultimate reality show) to placate needed voters?

Reverend Gina Gerbasi, former rector at St. John’s, was handing out medical supplies when federal troops threw flash grenades. She asserted “it would be far more Christian if (Trump) would behave according to the words in that book instead of just carrying it around with him like a prop” and instructed him to “start behaving like a Christian instead of selling yourself as one.”

This Moderate, an imperfect Christian, resents hypocritical politicians using Bibles and churches as campaign props.

But Trump, some evangelicals’ darling (since announcing himself pro-life, after years declaring himself pro-choice), desperately wanted photos, Bible in hand. Evangelicals are part of his base, and re-election requires their loyalty.

Timing Is Everything

Why did Trump choose that day for his photo-op, while many peaceful protestors were in the way? He was reportedly angry because stories about him sheltering in a White House bunker during the riots surfaced, making him look weak. He claimed he went to the bunker to “inspect” it, but timing of that inspection is dubious at best.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser complained: “I imposed a curfew at 7pm. A full 25 minutes BEFORE the curfew and without provocation, federal police used munitions on peaceful protesters.”

Questions Requiring Answers

Conservatives, you have long demanded more LOCAL control and LESS-powerful federal government. Where are your voices now?

Moderates (and all Americans), is it acceptable for a president to use troops to deny peaceful protesters their First-Amendment Rights? This is serious stuff, Folks.

 

 

 

 

 

Photo credits:

Man struggling with police: NBC News/STRINGER/Reuters

Trump with Bible: Business Insider/Patrick Semansky

St. John’s Church with smoke: Milwaukee Independent

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