President Trump at a podium

Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

Scoot: President Trump’s vow to use the military

June 02, 2020 - 12:28 pm

When there are riots in the streets of major American cities and a president vows to end the violence - you can’t help but feel encouraged. But the visual of the split screen of President Trump addressing the nation from the Rose Garden of the White House with a commitment to end the violence while protecting the peaceful protesters offered mixed messages.

Blocks away from where the President was speaking - police and National Guard troops used tear gas and aggressively prodded and pushed peaceful demonstrators with batons and shields to clear the way for President Trump to create a photo-op moment in front of historic St. John’s Episcopal Church near the White House. The contrasting visuals contradicted the President’s words to reassure America and raised questions about his strategy to end the violence.

The rioting, looting and violence must end - period - but the idea of using military force should not be ordered from the perspective of a dictatorial mentality. We don’t yet know how President Trump will use the military to restore order - but the rights of peaceful protesters must still be respected.

We are witnessing violent chaos that resembles America in the turbulent year of 1968. In that year - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated - which lead to rioting in America. Months later - the leading Democratic Presidential candidate Senator Robert Kennedy was assassinated at a campaign rally in Los Angels. Riots and violence marred the Democratic National Convention in Chicago that year.

The unrest in America continued with young people protesting the U.S. government’s involvement in Viet Nam. In 1970 - the National Guard was called out to monitor a student protest against the war at Kent State University in Ohio. Students threw rocks and debris at the National Guard troops; and while there is no clear documentation as to what cause the National Guard troops to open fire on the students - 13 students were shot - 4 were killed.

Credit law enforcement in every affected American city for maintaining restraint in the face of rocks and debris being thrown at the officers on the scene, and one hopes that there will not be a point when a quick trigger leads to further tragedy.

The violence and the rioting must be stopped. There is no question that much of the violence and rioting are being cased by outside agitators, and the President has the responsibility to protect Americans - but the images of the President giving a speech while police and the National Guard were contradicting his words is reason for alarm.

The questionable force used against peaceful protesters in the streets of our nation’s capital was exacerbated by the photo-op of President Trump standing in front of St. John’s church brandishing a Bible. It is believed that the President’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic has caused his support among evangelical supporters to slip. Was yesterday’s photo-op nothing more than a superficial visual to win back their support?

Raising a Bible in the air in front of a historic church near the White House does not make a person moral or righteous. If any voters suddenly changed their minds about President Trump because of the visual of him holding a Bible in the air - contradicts the words written in the Bible.

One is not a good Christian or a moral person because he holds a Bible in the air while clicking cameras capture the moment. Anyone who would fall for such a publicity stunt should not claim to understand the writings in the Bible.

Sadly - there are superficial Americans who will hold a Bible and go to church; and as a result of those tangible acts, they will profess strong religious conviction. There are Americans who proudly display the American flag on their homes or vehicles who defy everything the flag stands for in their everyday lives.

We need to demand more of our leaders and each other and stop falling for photo-ops that insult our intelligence and our sense of true patriotism.

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