In the wake of the shit storm President Trump created by visiting an Episcopal Church across the way from the White House and brandishing a bible upside down, the Commander in Chief suggested it was time to unleash the U.S. Military on its troubled cities and passionate people to calm everything down real fast with an overwhelming display of force.
Of course, he is not allowed to do that without the support of Congress, which isn’t going to go for that kind of a response in what now appears to be a period of declining strife. Also, sending the 82nd Airborne out to interrupt looting of a collection of troubled retail sites is probably not our best use of force. It would be better to open up a training camp for local police forces to learn how to control situations without using deadly force or a toxic collection of sprayables, like tear gas.
The Secretary of Defense, ballsy for a Trump appointee, disagreed with the president Wednesday and said he didn’t think that’s what the Insurrection Act covered, because it’s a protest, not an insurrection. His days are likely numbered, but that’s okay, because so are President Trump’s.
He might well be able to enthuse his base by waving someone else’s bible in the air at a church that didn’t invite his presence, but it’s going to take a whole lot more than that to send this gaseous turdbag back for four more years.
But that’s a debate for a later day. My real purpose here is to ask a simple question: To whom does the U.S. military belong? Is it the president’s? Is it a tool of Congress. Is it…Nah. None of that. It’s ours. Our children fill the ranks, our taxes pay the salaries and the bills, our political consensus provides the oomph the idea needs if it is to roll toward accomplishing anything. It’s not his to use as he pleases. Generations of worried politicians fearing just the kind of government Trump has delivered built lots of safety valves into the use of the military.
You could hear them venting all over the place over the weekend. It’s just not going to happen. Even some regional governors pulled their National Guard troops out of the line of fire after Trumps’ remarks. A president may well have the authority to call out the army, but the need for consensus to do that is clear and a deal breaker if it isn’t there.
Pretty clearly, it isn’t there.
People may well be sick of looking at all the sweaty masses and midnight raiders on cable TV, and are perhaps sad that Macy’s got hit overnight. But Macy’s isn’t America. In fact, it isn’t even much of a store anymore. So who is going to weep about that?
A gaggle of bandits hit the local Best Buy at the height of the conflict, and the Evanston Police Department, presenting a model of efficiency, arrested every one of them and secured the location. They were folks who came from distant suburbs to sample Best Buy’s wares. And now they are on their way to being felons.
See, even in all this turmoil, something still works.
And it didn’t take the U.S. Army to get it done.