We don’t need Trump’s thugs in Chicago

Chicago Sun-Times - - TOP NEWS - JESSE JACK­SON jjack­son@rain­bow­push.org | @RevJJack­son

‘Hitler had his Brown shirts and Mus­solini had his Black shirts, now Don­ald Trump has his cam­ou­flage shirts.” Thus be­gan a state­ment signed by 15 dis­tin­guished in­ter­de­nom­i­na­tional re­li­gious lead­ers in Chicago that I joined, in­clud­ing min­is­ters, priests, and rab­bis.

Com­par­isons to Hitler are al­ways ex­plo­sive, but the com­par­i­son is apt. “Hitler’s bully­boys,” the state­ment con­tin­ues, “op­er­ated on the fringes or out­side of the law to vi­o­lently in­tim­i­date Ger­many’s left­ists and fi­nally to ex­ter­mi­nate Jews. Trump’s bully boys are op­er­at­ing on the fringes or out­side the law to vi­o­lently in­tim­i­date Amer­ica’s pro­gres­sives and peo­ple of color who are ex­er­cis­ing their First Amend­ment right to protest racial in­jus­tice.”

Port­land, Ore­gon, pro­vides the model. Trump dis­patched un­trained, uniden­ti­fied, cam­ou­flage-wear­ing, mil­i­tary-uni­formed, no name-tagged bully­boys who are lit­er­ally kid­nap­ping pro­test­ers, stuff­ing them in uniden­ti­fied vans, tak­ing them to un­known lo­ca­tions with­out charges — and against the wishes of the mayor of Port­land and the gover­nor of Ore­gon.

Trump has an­nounced that he will send sim­i­lar teams to Chicago, New York, Detroit, At­lanta, Bal­ti­more and other “lib­eral Demo­crat-run cities,” to use his phrase. The ex­cuse is to de­fend fed­eral prop­erty. The re­al­ity is that this is a cyn­i­cal re­elec­tion ploy. As Port­land shows, Trump’s gam­bit will spark a large, hos­tile re­ac­tion which he hopes to use to scare sub­ur­ban vot­ers into sup­port­ing this law-and-dis­or­der pres­i­dent.

Chicago Mayor Lori Light­foot has warned Trump not to try this in Chicago. “[N]o troops, no agents that are com­ing in out­side of our knowl­edge, no­ti­fi­ca­tion, and con­trol that are vi­o­lat­ing peo­ple’s con­sti­tu­tional rights,” Light­foot told CNN’s Jake Tap­per on Sun­day dur­ing an ap­pear­ance on “State of the Union. “We can’t just al­low any­one to come into Chicago, play po­lice in our streets, in our neigh­bor­hoods, when they don’t know the first thing about our city. That’s a recipe for dis­as­ter. And that’s what you’re see­ing play­ing out in Port­land on a nightly ba­sis.”

We sup­port her re­sis­tance — and the op­po­si­tion ex­pressed by the Pen­tagon, mem­bers of Congress, former U.S. mil­i­tary of­fi­cials, his­to­ri­ans and con­sti­tu­tional schol­ars — to Trump’s ef­fron­tery.

We don’t need the pres­i­dent’s thugs in Chicago, but we would like real fed­eral as­sis­tance. While over­all crime has de­creased com­pared with last year, vi­o­lent crime — par­tic­u­larly mur­ders and shoot­ings — has soared.

Chicago has no gun shop and no gun range. The guns come from out­side of Chicago, gen­er­ally across the border from In­di­ana. We need com­mon-sense reg­u­la­tions on guns to stop the pipeline into Chicago. Trump could help be­cause it is Repub­li­cans and the gun lobby that stand in the way.

Real fed­eral as­sis­tance wouldn’t be dis­patch­ing bully­boys to ter­ror­ize ci­ti­zens ex­er­cis­ing their First Amend­ment rights. It would help with jobs and train­ing for the young. It would help with rent and mort­gage for­give­ness dur­ing the pan­demic lock­down when peo­ple can’t work. If Trump and Se­nate Repub­li­cans don’t act im­me­di­ately, lit­er­ally mil­lions will be on the verge of evic­tion.

We need real in­vest­ment in our schools, so the sav­age in­equal­ity with sub­ur­ban schools can be re­duced. We need health care to be a right, not a priv­i­lege, and at the very least for the fed­eral govern­ment to cover all med­i­cal ex­penses re­lated to COVID-19. In a pan­demic, we all have a stake in en­sur­ing that the sick can af­ford to get the treat­ment they need.

Our sons and daugh­ters vol­un­teer to serve in the mil­i­tary. When Vladimir Putin puts a bounty on the heads of our sol­diers, we need Trump to de­fend them, not to ig­nore the at­tack.

Trump scorns real as­sis­tance to cities. He scorns meet­ing with our elected lead­ers be­fore an­nounc­ing that he plans to dis­patch his thugs to our city. And he dis­graces our democ­racy with this cyn­i­cal and dan­ger­ous cam­paign ploy.

Black Lives Mat­ter Chicago and other or­ga­ni­za­tions are go­ing to court to get an in­junc­tion to pro­hibit Trump’s agents from “in­ter­fer­ing in or oth­er­wise polic­ing law­ful and peace­ful as­sem­blies and protests” in Chicago.

The re­li­gious lead­ers who is­sued the state­ment pledged that if Trump dis­patched bully­boys to Chicago with­out the per­mis­sion of the mayor, they would be met with a “mas­sive, dis­ci­plined, non­vi­o­lent . . . march of re­sis­tance.” We will not let the pres­i­dent tram­ple our Con­sti­tu­tion, sup­press our rights, and ter­ror­ize our ci­ti­zens with im­punity.


Fed­eral po­lice of­fi­cers stand guard dur­ing a protest July 23 in Port­land, Ore­gon.

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