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An Open Letter To Law Enforcement 50 Years After Selma
This Time, Do The Right Thing
On March 7, 1965, John Lewis attempted to lead 600 marchers across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. The group was marching from Selma to the state capital of Montgomery to demand voting rights for Black Americans. Alabama Governor George Wallace had already directed state troopers “to use whatever measures are necessary to prevent a march.”
As the marchers reached the crest of the bridge, they saw a wall of state troopers waiting for them. The troopers were backed up by deputies from the county sheriff’s office some on horseback. The marchers stopped just short of the line of police officers.
“It would be detrimental to your safety to continue this march,” Major John Cloud announced over a bullhorn. “This is an unlawful assembly. You have to disperse, you are ordered to disperse. Go home or go to your church. This march will not continue.”
“Mr. Major,” replied Hosea Williams of the Southern Christian Leadership Council, “I would like to have a word, can we have a word?”
“I’ve got nothing further to say to you,” Cloud responded.
A brief standoff followed. Then the line of state troopers advanced. Firing tear gas and wielding clubs, the troopers tore through the crowd of marchers, which included women and children. Deputies on horseback joined the assault. White bystanders cheered. The unarmed marchers were beaten to the ground.
Cloud’s order to Lewis and the other marchers to disperse, offensive as it was, was legally justifiable. vThe Governor had issued an order to stop the march. The power structure in Alabama had decided that dissent would not be allowed. Changes to the system would not be considered. The people gathered on that bridge needed to go home, shut up and do what they were told.
Every police officer on that bridge then had a personal choice to make. They could enforce the law or they could do what was right. They could side with a morally bankrupt system that oppressed poor white people in addition to disenfranchising Black Americans or they could stand with the people, the Constitution, and the founding principles of our democracy.
The officers on that bridge made the wrong choice. No doubt they grew to regret that and lived with the shame of their actions for the rest of their lives. They acted not as defenders of the public but as instruments of oppression.
On February 23, 2022, a trucker convoy estimated to include 1000 vehicles will leave Los Angeles bound for Washington, D.C. The size of that convoy will increase dramatically as it crosses the nation. Organizers of the event are looking for the same thing John Lewis and his marchers were looking for in 1965.
Already the power structure in Washington, D.C. is organizing to confront and defeat this challenge. COVID-19 provided the perfect pretext for an already out of control government to dramatically expand its reach and authority. The corporate oligarchy that increasingly runs our government has no intention of walking that back and allowing a return to true democratic rule.
Once again the troopers will be mobilized. Once again they will have a choice to make.
The foundation for the coming assault has already been laid. The Department of Homeland Security’s recent National Terrorism Advisory System Bulletin makes crystal clear the basis on which action will be taken.
“The United States remains in a heightened threat environment fueled by several factors, including an online environment filled with false or misleading narratives and conspiracy theories, and other forms of mis-dis-and mal-information (MDM) introduced and/or amplified by foreign and domestic threat actors. These threat actors seek to exacerbate societal friction to sow discord and undermine public trust in government institutions to encourage unrest, which could potentially inspire acts of violence.”
“Key factors contributing to the current heightened threat environment include:
The proliferation of false or misleading narratives, which sow discord or undermine public trust in U.S. government institutions:
For example, there is widespread online proliferation of false or misleading narratives regarding unsubstantiated widespread election fraud and COVID-19. Grievances associated with these themes inspired violent extremist attacks during 2021.”
Speaking to Yahoo News recently a DHS spokesman confirmed that the department was “tracking reports of a potential convoy.” The spokesperson added that the DHS was working with federal, state, and local partners to “continuously assess the threat environment and keep our communities safe.”
“We are tracking this like it’s a real threat because we think it has the potential to cause all kinds of problems, violent or otherwise,” another law enforcement official told Yahoo News. “We don’t want a lot of angry people storming D.C., we’ve seen that before. So for now, we monitor movements and see who these people are, if they pose a threat not just to D.C. but of course to anywhere else along the way.”
On February 23, 2022, a whole bunch of average Americans are going to start their truck engines and begin a cross-country drive to their nation’s capital. They will be motivated by the desire to regain control over a government that is supposed to answer to them and serve their interests. After two years of lies and coercion, these men and women will be speaking for us all.
“We have had enough. We want our country back.”
At some point in the days that follow the members of the self-appointed elite that thinks it runs this nation will issue “legal” orders, profess the existence of a threat to public safety, and direct state, local, and federal police officers to move in, begin breaking heads and disperse the “rabble.”
In Canada, the police are announcing they will “take back” Ottawa from the truckers there. In France, heads are already being broken. We are next.
To the law enforcement officers of America: It has been fifty years since Selma. This time – do the right thing. Stand aside. Take the side of freedom.