OPINION | This article contains political commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Did you guys see Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis’ statement to The Atlantic?
Here it is in its entirety, and then I have some thoughts (surprise! 🙂 ):
“I have watched this week’s unfolding events, angry and appalled. The words “Equal Justice Under Law” are carved in the pediment of the United States Supreme Court. This is precisely what protesters are rightly demanding. It is a wholesome and unifying demand—one that all of us should be able to get behind. We must not be distracted by a small number of lawbreakers. The protests are defined by tens of thousands of people of conscience who are insisting that we live up to our values—our values as people and our values as a nation.
When I joined the military, some 50 years ago, I swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution. Never did I dream that troops taking that same oath would be ordered under any circumstance to violate the Constitutional rights of their fellow citizens—much less to provide a bizarre photo op for the elected commander-in-chief, with military leadership standing alongside.
We must reject any thinking of our cities as a “battlespace” that our uniformed military is called upon to “dominate.” At home, we should use our military only when requested to do so, on very rare occasions, by state governors. Militarizing our response, as we witnessed in Washington, D.C., sets up a conflict—a false conflict—between the military and civilian society. It erodes the moral ground that ensures a trusted bond between men and women in uniform and the society they are sworn to protect, and of which they themselves are a part. Keeping public order rests with civilian state and local leaders who best understand their communities and are answerable to them.
James Madison wrote in Federalist 14 that “America united with a handful of troops, or without a single soldier, exhibits a more forbidding posture to foreign ambition than America disunited, with a hundred thousand veterans ready for combat.” We do not need to militarize our response to protests. We need to unite around a common purpose. And it starts by guaranteeing that all of us are equal before the law.
Instructions given by the military departments to our troops before the Normandy invasion reminded soldiers that “The Nazi slogan for destroying us…was ‘Divide and Conquer.’ Our American answer is ‘In Union there is Strength.’” We must summon that unity to surmount this crisis—confident that we are better than our politics.
Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people—does not even pretend to try. Instead he tries to divide us. We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership. We can unite without him, drawing on the strengths inherent in our civil society. This will not be easy, as the past few days have shown, but we owe it to our fellow citizens; to past generations that bled to defend our promise; and to our children.
We can come through this trying time stronger, and with a renewed sense of purpose and respect for one another. The pandemic has shown us that it is not only our troops who are willing to offer the ultimate sacrifice for the safety of the community. Americans in hospitals, grocery stores, post offices, and elsewhere have put their lives on the line in order to serve their fellow citizens and their country. We know that we are better than the abuse of executive authority that we witnessed in Lafayette Square. We must reject and hold accountable those in office who would make a mockery of our Constitution. At the same time, we must remember Lincoln’s “better angels,” and listen to them, as we work to unite.
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Only by adopting a new path—which means, in truth, returning to the original path of our founding ideals—will we again be a country admired and respected at home and abroad.”
Soooooooo….yeah. Let’s take a look at that first paragraph, in which he says that protesters are righteous and what they want is wholesome and unifying, and that we shouldn’t get distracted by a small number of lawbreakers. The protests, he says are driven by people who are demanding that we live up to our national values. So just ignore the mayhem and chaos and theft and destruction of lives and livelihoods. LOOK AWAY, critical thinkers!
I am rolling my eyes so hard right now.
Did y’all see the way Tucker broke down the Actual Numbers of instances of police brutality against black people last night? It was pretty fascinating when you really break down the numbers. Fast forward to the 10.26 minute mark and listen to the 19.17 minute mark (or the whole thing, obviously, but that’s the key part I want you to hear).
Yeah. Let those numbers sink in. Mattis said, “We must not be distracted by a small number of lawbreakers.” Perhaps that’s what the protesters are actually doing, though. Because if those numbers that Tucker Carlson put out are accurate (and given that he’s using a liberal source I don’t see much reason to question them), then the cause of these protests is a false one. The protesters are being distracted by a small number of lawbreaking COPS.
By the way, when protesters get mad that they’re being lumped in with rioters, do y’all see the irony? They’re lumping in all cops with a handful of bad ones, and the world is currently burning as a result. NOTHING MAKES SENSE RIGHT NOW.
Mattis wrote that keeping public order rests with state and local leaders. But Trump has been PLEADING with those leaders to freaking DO SOMETHING about the violence. Does anyone really believe that Trump WANTS to bring in the military to restore order? And why is Mattis acting like that has never happened before? See: Rodney King Riots, which, incidentally, were NOWHERE NEAR as bad as what we’re seeing across the country. Mattis and others apparently want to pretend that Trump is the first president to suggest military use for this purpose. That is patently false.
But the worst part about Mattis’ diatribe was the whole part about Trump being divisive. He wrote that Trump is the “first president in his lifetime who does not try to unite the American people.” IS MATTIS HIGH. Obama was the most divisive president in recent history, starting with his infamous “The police acted stupidly” remark. Race relations deteriorated beyond description under his watch. By the way, how absolutely unremarkable was Obama’s townhall event last night? Holy crap I forgot how badly that dude needs to be scripted in order to sound good.
And speaking of division, what exactly is the point of Mattis’ statement anyway? He’s not trying to unite us. He KNOWS he’s deepening the division by saying all this. And unfortunately right now, I’m not entirely certain Americans even DESIRE unity. So what was his point? To piss off Trump supporters? Ok. Good job, Mad Dog.
Insert more rolling eyes here.
Trump has responded, as you knew he would.
Sorry, Trump idolaters, but I’m rolling my eyes at his response just as hard as I’m rolling my eyes at Mattis’ statement. I would have loved for him to simply say something along the lines of, “When city and state governments are incapable of or simply refuse to secure order, I have a duty to protect the citizens of this country and I won’t hesitate to do so by any means necessary. Unity cannot be achieved in the midst of violence.” Or, you know, something more about the job we hired him to do and less about the slinging of personal insults.
Don’t get me wrong. Sometimes I crack up at Trump’s tweets. But my hackles are raised right now, y’all, from EVERYTHING we’re currently enduring – the virus (oh yes! It’s still a Thing!), these riots, all the virtue signaling, the economic uncertainty – all of it – and I’m fairly certain I’m not the only one. Now is not the time for Trump to be all, “NEENER NEENER” at people who criticize him. He’s got just a few months to rise to this occasion before Biden, who’s demented and useless in every way, could potentially unseat him.
And then the world will REALLY burn.
Mattis can suck it.