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BY KATHRYN BERG

July 21, 2020


Has this devotional grounded your resistance to Trump in Scripture and empowered you to act for the common good? If the answer is "yes," then please help us reach more progressive Christians. Become a Patron today.
Federal law enforcement agents on Saturday in Portland, Mason Trinca for The New York Times
Trailing in the polls, Trump portrayed the nation’s cities as out of control and threatened to send federal troops into more cities, all controlled by Democrats. - via The New York Times
"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." - Luke 4:18-19
 
As Trump grows more desperate about his reelection chances, he grows more brazen in his willingness to abuse the power of the presidency. Down in the polls on the issues of combatting the pandemic, addressing racial injustice, and handling the economy, he is trying to recast protests against racial injustice as lawlessness, in order to justify a battle for America’s cities. He blames Democrats for tolerating violence and plans to deploy federal agents to more cities under the guise of restoring law and order.

Trump doesn’t even try to hide the political nature of this authoritarian abuse of power. On Monday, he described the issue in purely political terms: “I’m going to do something — that, I can tell you...Because we’re not going to let New York and Chicago and Philadelphia and Detroit and Baltimore and all of these...We’re not going to let this happen in our country. All run by liberal Democrats. Look at what’s going on — all run by Democrats, all run by very liberal Democrats...If Biden got in, that would be true for the country. The whole country would go to hell. And we’re not going to let it go to hell.”

In Portland, where camouflaged federal agents kidnapped protesters off the streets and threw them into unmarked vehicles without explaining why they were being detained, the Oregon attorney general is seeking a restraining order against the federal agents. The ACLU has also filed suit against the DHS and the U.S. Marshals Service. The mayors of Atlanta and Chicago and New York have threatened lawsuits if Trump follows through on his threat to employ similar tactics there. Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon said he would introduce legislation to limit the role of federal agents in American cities. “This isn’t just an Oregon crisis,” he said. “It’s an American crisis. We need to stop Trump before this spreads.” In Portland, undaunted by Trump’s goons, the protests grow. One of my favorite scenes was the Wall of Moms singing a lullaby of “Hands Up, Please Don’t Shoot Me.” 

Only two weeks ago I wrote about how Trump is following a fascist political playbook in trying to stoke fear and anger and foment division. It’s clear now that he will not limit himself to fascist rhetoric, but plans to deploy federal agents to a fascist purpose - unless he is stopped.
Continue to educate yourself about the growing threat of authoritarianism. Read Twilight of Democracy: The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism, by Anne Applebaum. Support the ACLU or Freedom House in their efforts to combat authoritarianism. Call the Department of Homeland Security at 202-282-8495 and object to DHS sending uninvited federal agents into American’s cities.  
Strengthen and fortify us, God, and fill us with your Spirit. Open the eyes of the public so that people won’t be misled by fascist rhetoric. Bless the attorneys trying to preserve liberty and give clarity to the judges sworn to uphold the Constitution. Amen.
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