Originally posted on cnn.com on June 15, 2020
During one of the most tumultuous weeks in recent American history, massive demonstrations against the brutal actions of Minneapolis police in the death of George Floyd spread across the country in over 700 cities and towns.
In response, President Donald Trump called for more police violence against protesters, before brandishing a Bible in front of the St. John’s Church near to the White House.
Trump talked of “law and order,” a phrase designed to attract a political base that might feel threatened by the valid grievances of a multicultural coalition of marchers for whom taking to the streets has become their only recourse. Their actions, designed to provoke meaningful change, harken back to the words of James Baldwin, writing about 1966 riots in Harlem: “The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer.” Baldwin continued, “To respect the law, in the context in which the American Negro finds himself, is simply to surrender his self-respect.”
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