Today, Trump called on police to not be too careful with suspects.
Immediately, I thought of myself: I am a person with mental illness and people with mental illness are likely to be killed by police. Shit.
But I wasn’t shocked. Few things shock me these days.
I took a nap and, when I woke, I realized that what I have thought from the beginning may be correct: Trump is authoritarian. He’s authoritarian and he needs a Gestapo.
Whether you have met a criminal or not, one thing is also clear: Trump needs fictitious “thugs” who are our enemy.
If we have these so-called thugs, a term that is quite often also associated with Black people, then we have an internal enemy and the use of police force is justified.
An authoritarian needs external and internal enemies in order to justify brutality. The enemy is everywhere and needs to be brought down forcefully.
But understand one thing: You are a potential thug. I am a potential thug. Your mother, brother and sister are all potential thugs. This is because anyone can be a suspect. Anyone can be arrested. And, in this country, an arrest doesn’t mean one is guilty of a crime. And even if one is guilty of a crime, one still has rights.
Once we understand that the mythical thug does not exist and is only a device used to scare us into accepting brutality, we can come to a point where we understand not only our own humanity, but the humanity of those around us. Even those strangers, whom, in our mind, Trump wants us to fear.
Fear is what Trump and his ilk thrive on. Let’s abandon it.
Let us instead keep our kindness, which is always under threat in authoritarian times. Let’s come together, support one another, and support our communities. I say this to both police and non-police.
While Trump may have run as a “law and order” candidate, he doesn’t fool me. If he were really into law and order, he would be saying the things I’m saying. He would be saying, in this country, we are innocent until proven guilty and criminals have rights, too.
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