by Dewayne Bingham, Asst. Photo Editor—
On Friday, a Biden-Harris campaign bus carrying volunteers, officials and Texas congressional candidate Wendy Davis (D) was surrounded on I-35 between Austin and San Antonio by trucks flying Trump flags, which attempted to slow the bus down and run it off the road.
The FBI and local law enforcement are investigating the incident, which led to the cancellation of three Biden campaign events in Texas that day due to safety concerns.
The loss of key events could prove costly to the Biden campaign, considering that Texas holds 38 Electoral College votes, second in magnitude only to California’s 55 votes, and that since 1.8 million Texans have registered to vote since the 2016 election, the race for the perennial swing state could be closer and have greater turnout than many experts predicted.
President Trump and other conservatives like Florida Senator Marco Rubio (R) have praised the “Trump Train’s” pursuit of the Biden campaign bus as an act of patriotism.
Trump tweeted that, rather than looking into the incident, “the FBI & Justice should be investigating the terrorists, anarchists, and agitators of ANTIFA, who run around burning down our Democrat run cities and hurting our people!”
So, rather than calling for an end to the continued acts of voter intimidation and politically charged violence which continue to threaten voter turnout come November 3, especially targeted toward liberals and minority communities in swing states, the president of the free world continues pointing his finger at political opponents, indulging and justifying the actions of his radicalized base.
If the word “radical” alarms or perplexes you, consider the President’s history of refusing to condemn and sever ties with white supremacists like former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke. Consider his more recent support of the white supremacy group Proud Boys—whom he encouraged to “stand back and stand by,” at the Sept. 29 presidential debate. Consider that he has refused on multiple occasions to acknowledge that he’d peacefully transfer his political office to Joe Biden, should Trump lose the 2020 election.
Trump’s rhetoric stirs the unrest which fuels these politically charged attacks. His rhetoric says to potential voters—many of whom are already facing discrimination based on their immigration status and acts of police brutality within their communities on a daily basis—that they might not be safe to exercise their constitutional right and democratic responsibility of voting. His rhetoric says that they are endangered, and that he’s fine with it.
The actions he condones border on domestic terrorism. If citizens of a “free” country are threatened and persecuted for exercising their democratic rights and broadcasting their political beliefs, we are not truly free. That is radicalism. That is fascism.
Like Trump, officials like Texas GOP Chairman Allen West have cited riots and the execution of Trump supporters, seemingly to defend the actions of more radicalized conservatives and gaslight citizens into thinking their actions are not as great a threat to our democracy as liberal extremists, that they do not deserve the media’s attention and should not alarm Americans.
Extremism threatens our democracy regardless of where it falls on a political spectrum.
But failing to acknowledge that it exists on both sides, shrugging off incidents like the Biden campaign bus being pursued and endangered, an NYPD officer using his patrol car’s bullhorn to voice support for Trump and intimidate inhabitants of a Brooklyn neighborhood late at night, and turning a blind eye to the flying of flags which read “Trump 2020, F*ck Your Feelings,” in the midst of a pandemic that’s claimed over 231,000 American lives, shows that our president is solely concerned with protecting the interests of his voters, not democracy itself.
In an interview with Fox News, Johns Hopkins University professor Wendy Osefo said, “We are all Americans, and it does not matter what side of the aisle you sit on. There should not be violence directed at you simply because of your political affiliations.”
Osefo also acknowledged the responsibility of elected officials to quell the unrest surrounding this vital and historically contentious election, which is situated in a broader framework between the movement against systemic racism and a pandemic that has victimized America’s poor, working-class and minority communities most significantly.
President Donald Trump has failed to stand up for those communities and their rights. He has refused to stand up for our democratic process. By doing nothing but standing back and standing by, he’s become an accomplice of domestic terrorism.