Guest columnist Rev. Peter Kakos: Bulldozing free speech

  • President Donald Trump speaks to the media before boarding Air Force One for a trip to Kenosha, Wis., Tuesday, Sept. 1, in Andrews Air Force Base, Md. AP

Published: 9/15/2020 3:32:07 PM

As this president was about to leave Kenosha, Wisconsin, earlier this month, he paused to answer questions from the press. While doing so, he blurted out the “news” that “a plane from Washington to wherever” was leaving today, “ ... filled with men in black. Thugs.” When asked for details, he said, in effect that he’s looking into it ... and will let us know.

As I listened to this fearful rumor, my jaw dropped over his made-to-confuse warmongering words, lobbed onto our nation’s public square via the media. We are left to believe that these were “domestic terrorists,” roaming any and everywhere, targeting police and heavily armed counter protesters.

With only one brief sentence, he not only fanned the flames of wild fear, but also alerted his personal (unnamed, of course) militias to stand ready to clear out those “communist” demonstrators wherever, by employing their oversized black pickup trucks replete with 5-foot flags front and back, giving TV viewers proof through the night that their flag was still there, advancing their George Washington eager to claim victory-day even before Nov. 3. I can picture their engines roaring, their guns at the ready for the use they intended at purchase.

With vague, evidence-less references like these, he is mobilizing all supremacists from 17 to whatever, to bulldoze even the most peaceful gatherings of free speech.

Exhibit A: At a speech in the Rose Garden on June 1, at the moment he began to speak, orders were given to disperse the entirely peaceful Black Lives Matter protests near Lafayette Square, using tear gas and batons, giving rise to screams loud enough to heard at the Garden the exact time he spoke, giving the impression to viewers across the nation that our leader is standing confidently tall in the very midst of a civil mayhem needing to be suppressed.

Well before his 2016 election, his seeds of violent language were taking root in countless small towns, fertilized season in and season out by hate-speech after hate-speech aimed at the true enemies of America: any and all “losers” and “failures” who dare believe otherwise. This ugly fruit of distrust, intentional discord, and, above all, paralyzing fear, evoked by the likes of those rumored evil passengers on a plane from Washington (D.C.or state, not noted!) feeds the insatiable hunger of deadly malice.

Translation? Your town and mine are next. How rapidly the seeds of war are sown, all for the sake of his appearing to be America’s one and only savior. What was that Nazi mantra? “Tell the people a lie long enough, and they’ll believe it.”

Welcome, America, to the virtual civil war of his own creation, from which he has every hope of declaring victory on his white charger.

A final note: today, Saturday, my Black Lives Matter sign was stolen from the front of my house. How I wish I could have a civil conversation about why he — or they — finds this literally life-saving idea so offensive.

Rev. Peter Kakos lives in Northampton.


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