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A Lesson In Nonviolent Protest

In recent months President Donald Trump has inflicted tremendous damage on his reelection prospects by grossly mismanaging three major challenges. In declining order of importance, they are the coronavirus, the economy, and racial justice.

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Focus On Law And Order

If the election were held today, he would lose badly. So, over the next ten weeks, he will focus nearly all of his efforts to shifting the focus of the electorate to “law and order,” which he correctly considers to be his strongest issue.

We’re going to be hearing a lot about the “lawlessness of the Democrat controlled cities” – especially those in battleground states. If this strategy succeeds, his chances of reelection will greatly improve.

Back in the mid-1950s, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr set out to secure racial justice by leading dozens of peaceful civil rights demonstrations and marches across the South – even in the face of unspeakable violence by the local and state police and virulent racist counter-demonstrators. He and his followers – including Rosa Parks, John Lewis, and Fannie Lou Hammer – all preached and practiced nonviolence.

This brave and very clever strategy not only appealed to the consciences of most Americans, but it enabled the passage of the most far-reaching civil rights legislation in a century. Before his death in July, Congressman John Lewis -- who had literally gotten his head bashed in during freedom rides, marches -- and demonstrations, still called for nonviolent actions.

Trump's Mismanagement Of The Pandemic, The Economy, And Racial Justice

President Trump is obviously trying to change the political conversation from his own gross mismanagement of the pandemic, the economy, and racial justice to “law and order.” But we don’t have to play his game.

I am not suggesting that demonstrators demanding racial justice not fight back against police violence. All I am asking is that they police themselves to prevent looting, property destruction, or any other stupid and counterproductive behavior.

We don’t want to give Trump the political ammunition he needs to get reelected. Were Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, John Lewis, and Fannie Lou Hammer alive today, that’s exactly the advice they would offer.