This violence is on you, Mr. President

See Disclaimer. This article is part of the ‘Letters to an unfit president‘ series.

Mr. President:

No, Joe Biden’s America will not be lawless, no matter how often you try to convince us of that. But today’s Donald Trump’s America is dangerously violent. And that violence is undeniably on you.

You did not pull the triggers. You did not drive the cars. You did not do the beatings or spray the mace. You did not riot or loot. But you share the responsibility with the physical perpetrators. Because the words of a US president have consequences. You used those words to sow hate, intolerance, fear and division, breeding the very violence that you are now further inflaming as a re-election strategy.

I must remind you that America was created for and by People sharing the vision of “a more perfect Union.” We are not a perfect nation, but we are strong in our commitment to aim high and continuously seek to do better. We are a nation that often is at its best, by finding hidden reserves of resolve and energy, when faced with its darkest hours. We are a nation that expects decency and leadership from its President.

Your ‘law and order’ electoral strategy is contrary to American values. The  majority of Americans will see through your transparent attempt to mask the deep failures of your administration. We won’t forget you mishandling the pandemic, and its huge human, public health and economic toll. We won’t forget you attacking the free press. We won’t forget you validating Nazism, white supremacy and conspiracy theories—while trying to retain a veil of plausible deniability.

We will never forget you compromising our global credibility, our national security, and the integrity of our elections system. We will not forget you discarding climate change mitigation and adaptation as a fundamental responsibility for our and future generations. We won’t forget you ignoring science, in small and large decisions. We won’t forget you compromising our health and that of our environment, by brute-force attacking socially responsible regulations and custodian institutions.

We won’t forget you promising to replace Obamacare for something far better, yet achieving nothing but the  weakening of our health care system. We won’t forget you hurting the medical coverage of millions of Americans during a pandemic. We will certainly not forget you promising, should you be re-elected, to terminate the very source of federal income that pays for Social Security and Medicare—even at the expense of the financial survival and health of so many older Americans.

As you face multiple legal troubles, postponed by presidential immunity, it is utterly ironic that you chose ‘law and order’ as a re-election strategy. Ironic, but not original: Protecting people from artificially-created violence has been a common tool of authoritarian regimes. Regimes that you seemingly admire.

This November, you are forcing America to choose not between policies, but between regimes: democracy or authoritarianism. I fully trust that we will choose democracy, and will elect the team that can bring all Americans together, to restore and enhance our nation as a global beacon of hope and freedom: Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

Once your presidency lapses, this coming January, I trust that Joe and Kamala will work with state and local leadership, communities and police, to restore law and order where you couldn’t or wouldn’t.

Why will they do it? Because they care. Because they are public servants. Because they are experienced and knowledgeable. Because they know that law and order are essential to all of us, regardless of race, religion, economic status, geography, political affiliation, gender, sexual orientation, or any other differentiating factors.

How will they do it? By listening. By engaging all of us in transformative progress towards ending social and racial injustice. By differentiating peaceful protesters from criminals who loot, riot, vandalize, or brawl. By not abusing their power. By collaborating and coordinating resources across federal, state and local governments. By learning from the past. By not supporting extremist groups or conspiracy theories. By not inciting violence through demagogic, inflammatory rhetoric. By being of and for the People.

All things, Sir, that you had the opportunity—and the responsibility—to do. But that you failed to do, whether by incompetence or choice.

— Antonio Baptista


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