I have a recurring nightmare.
There’s a knock at my door.
Armed, unknown men grab me without provocation. No acknowledgment of what I did to warrant arrest in the middle of the night.
Walking on the streets, displaying the yellow star of David I’m forced to wear, men with no insignias force me into an unmarked car, where I disappear forever.
They don’t identify themselves, explain my transgressions or read me my rights.
I wake up in a cold sweat, hyperventilating with chest pain. It takes times to remember where I am.
Safe and sound in my own bed in the United States of America.
A land of laws. A country based on the constitution that protects my rights and protects me from such actions.
I breath deeply and shake it off, secure in the knowledge this will never happen here.
I am safe.
Unlike my ancestors who died in the Holocaust less than a century ago.
It is our constitutionally guaranteed right to protest. A right our forefathers felt was so important they spelled it our specifically.
The First Amendment within the United States Constitution states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress.”
This is what makes America, America. Our right to assemble and petition the government when we believe change is required.
Yet all too often, violence and retaliation has been the response. For decades, images of law enforcement in riot gear beating up defenseless and unarmed citizens has been the real reaction.
Representative John Lewis almost lost his life when he marched peacefully across the Edmund Pettus Bridge on March 7, 1965, in Selma, Alabama. Along with Martin Luther King Jr., and thousands of others, they risked their lives to demand voting rights for Black people.
It became known as Bloody Sunday.
The images were so horrific the nation finally demanded an end to that despicable practice. President Lyndon B Johnson signed into law the Voting Rights Act of 1965 ensuring the representation of all Americans at the voting box. He ended his speech with the famous words of the protesters-
“We shall overcome.”
But we all knew who committed those atrocities. They all wore the uniforms of state troopers or local police.
Starting in Washington D.C. a few weeks ago, military vehicles rolled down the streets toward the White House.
Peaceful protesters filled streets across this country because of the despicable murder of Gerald Floyd by police officers. Thousands took up the banner – Black Lives Matter- making it clear this cannot happen again. A secret military force was seen in our capitol. No insignias. No idea where they came from or who directed their actions.
Last week they descended on Portland,Oregon.
Dragging peaceful protesters off the streets, throwing them in unmarked cars, beating others for demanding to know who they are and even shooting a young man in the face with a rubber bullet.
A wall of mothers and fathers now stand hand in hand attempting to protect their children from this tyranny.
My question? Where is the wall of local police officers charged with protecting their communities against any and all unlawful agitators, federal intruders included?
This is not the United States of America.
This is a horror film that has played out in my head over and over and over again. One I knew could never happen in reality because we wouldn’t tolerate such behavior. The outcry would be unanimous and overwhelming- Not in my America!
This is not law-enforcement this is lawlessness.
Law enforcement must honor our rights by making it clear who they are, showing their badge and ID upon request.
Law enforcement must state the reason a person is being detained.
Law enforcement must quote Miranda rights to all who are arrested.
Law enforcement must tell anyone who asks where they will be taken so a legal representative can attend.
Law enforcement must follow the rules of law.
They are not masked, unidentified people in war time garb beating up non violent protesters and kidnapping them off the streets of our cities.
There are no body cameras. There is no visible way to discern who they are or where they get the authority for their actions. There is no accountability. Where do you go to claim an injustice or transgression? How do you seek consequences for such lawlessness?
Portland did not ask for their aid.
Portland and Oregon’s governing powers demanded they leave. Portland was allowing the vast majority of peaceful protesters their right to congregate while stopping those few who chose violence instead. Portland made it clear these secret agents were just inciting and inflaming the situation. Portland demanded they leave law enforcement to them, making it clear these reckless, lawless vigilantes sent by Washington were not wanted.
Trump has threatened other cities will suffer the same fate.
Are Arizonans ok with this?
I am not!
My daughter is peacefully protesting in Los Angeles. I applaud her desire to stand up for what she believes. To fight for her right to make her concerns known. The idea she could disappear with these unnamed, unmarked, military federal bullies is unimaginable and unthinkable.
Not in the United States of America!
This was one place I always knew I was safe from a knock on my door, or being dragged off the street because someone didn’t like the way I look, my beliefs or the opinions I have. I’ve always known I have the right to scream as loudly and strongly as I wish.
We’ve always watched from afar in horror as totalitarian governments sent tanks rolling down the streets in Czechoslovakia, troops murdered students in Tiananmen Square, Putin put down protesters angered with his recent coup to lead for life.
Protesters have been the catalyst for propelling us into a better tomorrow. It started with the Boston Tea Party that created the most breathtaking democracy ever seen. Women suffragettes marched for child labor laws, voter and reproductive rights. The Civil Rights Movement demanded the end of institutionalized racism. The Vietnam War protests finally ended a needless conflict that killed thousands of our youth. The March of Our Lives protest in 2018 sparked a nation-wide movement led by students, demanding better laws and increased governmental action to protect schools against mass shootings. To those American protesters on the streets today.
This is who we are.