Long ago in a land not so far away, one nation, under God, threw off the shackles of a tyrant, far removed from the struggles and experiences of a people sick of dictatorship, sick of soldiers of a faraway nation taking whatever they want whenever they want. “This is our country!” they said.“We want democracy,” they said. “No taxation without representation,” they said. They’d had enough. And so, they overthrew the tyrant. They suffered, they toiled, they fought, and they won

Sometime after that, an Austrian man came to Germany and turned people against one another. He told them that the source of their problems was the Jews. He told them the source of their problems were people that were different. He told them he would make their country great once again. And so, they voted him in. Then they voted him in again. Then he raised secret police to take people in the night. It continued over and over until it became blatant genocide. He held people in camps and gassed them while working the others to death. This continued until freedom fighters from all over the world were forced to beat fascism back and save Europe, and perhaps the rest of the world, from becoming nations of slaves having been subjugated by the desires of some tyrant, far removed from the experiences of individuals.

This is all in history. These facts are all easily accessible. Sadly, this has not prevented history from repeating itself. Except this time, a “leader” far removed from the experiences of individuals he is meant to govern is not merely ignoring a disease that has spread like wildfire within the United States but is actively working against containment efforts. This disease, due to the lack of a proper and inadequate federal response to it, has led to a death toll numbering at over 142,000 in less than 6 months. A disease which, due to rampant racism, is hitting African Americans with higher death rates and hospitalizations. This is exacerbated by the cuts the president has made to healthcare coverage of pre-existing protections, ensuring that in the face of a pandemic, hundreds of thousands have been cut off from healthcare despite being very, very in need of it. This too , is history that is echoing earlier sins of our country And in the face of African American lives being extinguished by a terrible disease, the federal government has finally decided to act decisively…against them.

In response to a renewed and expanded Black Lives Matter movement, the Trump administration deployed federal troops to Portland., According to former DHS secretary Tom Ridge, Trump is using them as some sort of  “personal militia”  who are “proactively arresting” protestors against racism and police brutality., In other words,  people are being kidnapped off the streets and thereafter detained for no reason at all. Trump plans on expanding federal agent deployments to Chicago, Philadelphia and Oakland according to recent White House statements. Let’s think about this for a moment.Trump is deploying bands of federal agents whose modus operandi is to rove around in unmarked vans and snatch individuals for practising their constitutional rights, yet cannot find a way to organize an effective  national COVID- 19 response plan. 

This illustrates an essential truth: Trump is not interested in the wellbeing of the citizens of the United States. If he was, he would have been as swift to create a national response to this virus as he was in deploying DHS agents as some sort of secret police to terrorize American mothers. The President has not backed away from the violence of his actions, nor denounced police who have elicited nationwide protests of the Black Lives Matter movement, nor has he voiced support for the thousands and tens of thousands protesting in the streets of New York ,  Portland, Chicago, Champaign-Urbana, Peoria, Rockford, Springfield, and St. Charles to name just a few. 

Americans have had enough. And it seems like things could really change. People have stood up and are now throwing off their shackles. We are tired of tyranny. We are again shouting “This is our country!” and that “We want democracy!”. With experts puzzling over the biological and environmental effects of more than 60 days of continuous tear gas usage on American citizens , one thing is certain:. the people have chosen the struggle for democracy over the acceptance of tyranny. As this is written, the federal agents that acted as occupiers have begun their evacuation of Portland and its citizens are being left with one question:Where do we go from here? The government has openly faced the people and fired upon them with tear gas and rubber bullets for more than two months and has failed to get them to cease and desist. Common people are tired of being exploited. They are tired of officials being unaccountable. They are tired of empty pockets and emptier pockets and took a stand. And they won, for now..

The fight is not over. In fact, it may still be ongoing beyond November, with the president admitting he is not sure he will accept election results, as well as voicing a desire to push the election back. Darker days may be ahead indeed. It remains important that all individuals interested in remaining in a democracy understand that freedom must be held at any cost. For the cost of losing our liberties is greater still than any terror in the dark histories of what happens when tyrants get their way. 

 

Jay Pade is an editor for culture and entertainment at Next Generation Politics. He is a voracious reader of science fiction and fantasy novels and films and is fascinated with how often the situations in them correspond with real-life events. On his average day, he can be found playing a star wars video game or talking about how blatantly political most fiction really is.