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Our most important election

A nation suffering from a global pandemic, with 105,165 people having died from the COVID-19 coronavirus as I write this, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, is now also embroiled in protests after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. We are hearing a lot about these protests, especially the ones that become violent or involve destruction and looting. The president is even instructing Governors to “dominate” their citizens and threatening the invocation of the Insurrection Act to deploy military personnel and grant them domestic law and order capabilities in our nation’s cities and states. My question is: What about George?

Or what about Breonna Taylor, who was murdered by Louisville police during a warrantless invasion of her home? Or what about the countless other well-documented cases of police brutality and murder of black and brown people, Indigenous people and other people of color across the country? The president wants to label Antifa a terrorist organization and has referred to these riots as acts of domestic terror, but what about the likes of the Proud Boys, and the armed white men who stormed state capitol buildings and even threatened the life and safety of Michigan Governor Whitmer because they didn’t like the reasonable responses states took to slow the spread of a deadly virus?

This president actually had demonstrators pushed back using crowd control devices like rubber bullets so he could get a picture of himself holding a bible in front of an Episcopal Church in D.C., a move vehemently disavowed and opposed by the diocese to which the church belongs, and broke a curfew instituted in the city to do so. This president was hidden in a bunker in a darkened White House (likely Secret Service protocol) when protests broke out in Washington, but he has no trouble logging in to that Twitter account of his to incite, enflame, and prolong the unrest — you know, that Twitter account he issued an executive order and wants to put together a commission over because Twitter won’t let him spread misinformation as he pleases.

I’m no fan of Joe Biden. I actually left the Democratic Party when he became the presumptive nominee. I feel we desperately need Bernie Sanders as president. But we are staring autocracy in the face. A white supremacist fascist occupies the Oval Office and if he’s reelected, Republicans have shown that they will not do anything to stand in the way of his totalitarian tendencies. Up and down the ballot, this is the most important election in modern American history. We need to restore democracy, hold law enforcement accountable, end institutionalized and systemic racism and hate, and work to become an America that lives up to its ideals. All lives do not matter until black lives matter. In World War II, our forebears fought fascism, but it’s come to our shores. I hope it can be defeated at the ballot box, but in the meantime our citizens are making themselves heard and seen in the streets.

Eric Engle

Parkersburg

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