Letter to the Editor

Bells are ringing all over the country. They aren't church bells or school bells. They are alarm bells in response to Trump ordering his personal militia of federal agents to Portland, Oregon. This was an act of blatant authoritarianism. He intends to do the same in other cities with Democratic mayors.

When these agents arrived in Portland, they usurped the power of the democratically elected governor and mayor, randomly detained protestors without explanation, forced them into un-marked vans, held them in cells, and later released them without charge or record of their detention.

The pretext for sending these federal agents purported to be failure of local officials to control demonstrations in the city. The real reason was a desperate effort by Trump to shore up his plummeting approval ratings. By masquerading as the "law and order president" (a man who never met a law he couldn't break), he reassured his base that he would defend the status quo: white power, their traditional values and way of life.

Sending federal agents to Portland was the sort of tactic he has used before. He pushes the limits of presidential power to see just how much he can get away with. When he succeeds, it encourages him to stretch the limits still farther. In Portland his tactic failed. Sending his militia escalated the violence instead of defusing the situation. It remains to be seen whether he will change his mind about sending paramilitary forces to other cities led by Democrats. If he does, how will voters react to this aggressive stifling of protests, a right guaranteed in the Constitution?

Under favorable circumstances, Trump is impetuous and unpredictable. Now he is stressed to the breaking point, emotionally and physically. His approval ratings have plummeted because the pandemic, with its huge human and economic cost, is still out of control. The reason is his lack of leadership. Under existing circumstances no one can predict what outrageous actions he might take in an attempt to turn around his fading chances for re-election.

Trump admires Hitler and aspires to be an autocrat, a ruler who has absolute power. We ignore this at our peril. When a reporter asked Trump recently whether he would step down if not re-elected, he replied, "I won't say yes and I won't say no. It depends." We need to be vigilant and ready to stop Trump if he attempts some desperate move to maintain power.

Dan Leary, Moody, Mo.


Howell County News

110 W. Main St.,
Willow Springs, MO 65793

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