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By Shedrick Byrd

Americans have risen to the occasion of stopping Donald Trump, a want-to-be tyrant, from becoming a dictator.  In light of the tragic death of George Floyd by police brutality, Americans took to the streets throughout the country in waves to support Black Lives Matter protests of police brutality against black Americans. 

Donald Trump took this opportunity to further his desire to become a dictator.  He attempted to co-opt the military to join him in this effort.  He solicited the Secretary of Defense, and the Chairman of the military Joint Chief of Staff to disperse peaceful marching demonstrators so they, the Secretary and the Chief of Staff could walk with him to a church nearby the White House so he could pose for a photo-op.  This stunt-walking with the Secretary and the Joint Chief showed the demonstrators that he as Commander in Chief was in total control of the military and could deploy them to wreak havoc on American citizens who did not stop demonstrating.  His effort to become a tyrant quickly dissipated when several military generals, including General James Mattis his former Secretary of Defense, spoke out against using the military to harass and draw arms against American citizens.

Americans from all colors, races, nationalities and backgrounds for the last two weeks have been marching against police brutality, and in support of police reform.  In my lifetime I have witnessed several of these types of demonstrations, but never to this degree and length of time, and the number of people as I have witnessed this time. 

When the demonstration began I was glad to see that people were protesting but never thought the protests would bring about much change.  However, I have a different feeling about this protest and sense that white folk are gaining a better understanding how black folk are treated in America.  For the first time white people seem have witnessed and can understand what police brutality is.  They are beginning to understand what “white privilege” means.  I often use the phrase that when police are called to the white community they are coming to assist; when called to the black community they are coming to arrest.

I have written before that law enforcement in America needs a cultural change from the top to the bottom.  Policing began when slave patrols were set up 1704 to control and punish slaves.  Those attitudes and operating policies still exist and needs to be changed.  This is a great opportunity to change those attitudes and policies.  I just hope that the committees and lawmakers who are chosen to deal with these changes use well thought-out and not knee-jerk decisions on changes. 

Police brutality and demonstrations have brought Americans of all races together to make a change but Trump wants to use police brutality to divide America and he can then become a dictator.  I was saddened recently when I saw a news reporter asking Republican Senators about Trump’s behavior as they entered the Senate chambers.  None of them had any comments.  I wonder why they are Senators.  What use are they?  It is their responsibility to maintain the checks and balances of the three branches of government so no dictator arises in the United States of America.  Thank goodness retired military flag officers rose to the occasion!

Shedrick Byrd is a frequent contributor to the New Journal and Guide and a former Deputy Equal Opportunity Officer for the U.S. Navy, he is the author of “The Mississippi Byrd”.                  

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