Wording means absolutely everything when you’re in a position of power. This is why demonstrated intelligence and oratory skills had been something of a prerequisite for President of the United States. However, that line of thinking has been thrown completely out the window with the election of President Donald J. Trump.
From the moment he decided to run for the presidency right up to the present, Trump has dispensed with all forms of pleasantry and decorum in going about the business of running the country. Much of his language is combative, sarcastic, condescending, boastful and self-serving. On Thursday, he mentioned that he wanted to be tough on crime and just as recently as a few weeks ago he tweeted the possibility of “sending in the feds” to quell street level gun violence in the city of Chicago.
In an editorial on the matter, I opined that perhaps putting the onus on cleaning up the city on the federal government was a bad idea seeing as though the U.S. government has actually been complicit in allowing urban communities like those located in Chicago to deteriorate in the first place due to its role in redlining and other instances of institutional racism that affected people of color for over 50 years, or they turned a blind eye to it altogether.
Additionally, I stated that in this current volatile political environment it was not beyond the scope of imagination to see a not-too-distant future where street level criminals are treated like terror suspects. Now, with his most recent executive orders, it appears that dark reality might be a little bit closer than I could have imagined at the time I wrote that piece.
Trump signed the three executive orders following the confirmation of “racist” Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the new actions are to develop “strategies to reduce crime, including, in particular, illegal immigration, drug trafficking and violent crime.”
One of them is designed to reduce crime and restore public safety and he directed Sessions to establish a new Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety.
Another order is supposed to increase surveillance aimed at combating transnational drug cartels and promote information-sharing between law enforcement agencies. The third, and perhaps most racist of the proposed legislation, is designed to prosecute those who commit crimes against law enforcement officers. Now, since when has there been an uptick in crimes against law enforcement? Like, half-past never.
Amnesty International USA’s Noor Mir swiftly reacted to the executive order, saying that while “(l)aw enforcement officers face unique hardships and challenges due to the nature of their work, this order does not address underlying problems in the criminal justice system.This order will not protect anyone, and instead it creates additional penalties that could cause people to be significantly over-prosecuted for offenses including resisting arrest.”
As is the case whenever the institution adopts laws that can easily be used to exploit and target groups of disenfranchised people, we have to look deeper to witness their nefarious potential. However, because the President of the United States has a cabinet full of racists and racist apologists, the racism that would normally be hidden in the verbiage is on the surface for all to see.
“I’m directing Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security to undertake all necessary and lawful action to break the back of the criminal cartels that have spread across our nation and are destroying the blood of our youth and other people,” Trump said Thursday.
Drug cartels, violent crime, immigration, these are all dog-whistle terms meant to signify one thing to the general public, but also signal something different to a select group of individuals. In this instance, the individuals these overtures are meant to appease are White, conservative and male. Those who these laws will affect most are Black, Brown and poor.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that these new measures will only fuel the racist-designed mechanism known as the prison industrial complex, and benefit those invested in grinding down people of color for monetary gain. The potential legislation isn’t racist because of what’s in them, but because of the intent of those who proposed them.
The new president has already proven that he has no desire to curb, temper or restrain law enforcement in any way when it comes to abuse of power, excessive force and wanton violence against people of color.
These new executive orders don’t address the record numbers of police violence against unarmed citizens and are clearly race-based, and the addition new Attorney General Jeff Sessions shows use the executive branch clearly doesn’t give a damn about “us”.