People have been protesting, rioting, and looting across the United States for several days now, sparked by the killing of a handcuffed Black man by a White police officer. Obviously, many people believe this killing (and others like it recently) represents a deeper issue afflicting the country. In response, the president has just threatened to deploy the military throughout the country to quell the rioting (whitehouse.gov, Fox, CNN). Whether he can do this legally under the Insurrection Act, or is prevented from doing so under the Posse Comitatus Act, is currently a subject of some debate (CNN, NPR, Politico, Independent, The Drive, Forbes, CNBC, Law & Crime). Also, whether the U.S. is heading toward martial law and, if so, for how long, is hard to tell, but there certainly seems to be less tolerance for protesting against police brutality than there was for protesting against social distancing. In any event, it is difficult to imagine martial law resolving the underlying tensions behind the current protests. People might be tear gassed back into submission for a while, but what will happen when the next spark comes along?
In contrast to the bombast and threats of the current U.S. president, the former one offered some thoughtful suggestions about working toward improving social justice in the country.
If we want to bring about real change, then the choice isn’t between protest and politics. We have to do both. We have to mobilize to raise awareness, and we have to organize and cast our ballots to make sure that we elect candidates who will act on reform. (Medium)
A bit more work, I suppose, but it beats having tanks on the streets.