America is in peril. The days and hours ahead could define our nation, in the same way that the turmoil of 1968 did.
On Monday, President Donald Trump took another page from the authoritarian playbook, threatening to deploy active-duty troops to quell the unrest that has roiled dozens of American cities. Such a move risks exacerbating the tragic violence and loss of life that have marred the legitimate and necessary protests that erupted a week ago following the death of a black man, George Floyd, in the custody of four Minneapolis police officers.
It is shocking even to write these words, but Trump does not abide by the constitutional norms of our democracy, and we must stop pretending that he can or will. His style is that of the demagogue and the strongman — and the only thing he understands is confrontation and spectacle, as was evinced on Monday night when law enforcement officers fired tear gas on peaceful demonstrators in Lafayette Park in Washington, D.C., so that Trump could walk from the White House to St. John’s Church in what he no doubt believes to be a show of strength.