So You Want to Live in a Police State?

If you think a police state will make America great again a.) you're wrong, and b.) you've got your candidate -- Donald Trump and the Deplorables are your self-evident choice.

In a national forum, Trump promises to lock up his opponent if he wins. And there are the Chants: "lock her up," "execute her." And the blind rage at his rallies against foreigners and immigrants and women and Jews and Muslims and reporters and anyone else who does not toe the Trump line ... wherever it is that day. And the contempt for due process, laws they don't like, the government, anyone who disagrees with them. And the claim that anything that doesn't turn out as they want is "rigged." And the refusal to accept results they don't like, e.g., the expressed preference of American voters. And the willingness to try to intimidate those voters who might not vote as they want, voters who might be women or Hispanics or Blacks or the poor or foreign-born Americans or ... democrats. And, always, the threat, implicit and explicit, of violence.

To date, just a nasty little incipient sociopathic mob. Surely responsible adults will, when necessary, step forward and prevent blatantly illegal acts. Except that the FBI (effectively our national police agency) has a history of manipulating the law to support its view of what is good and right and proper. Last week's imbroglio over emails suggest that the FBI has not fully accepted that its role is to enforce laws not overlook, bend or break them.

Another sample of failure at the federal level: during the last Bush administration, the Justice Department found ways to allow blatantly illegal, ineffective and appallingly immoral torture.

States rightists may argue that surely we can rely on our state agencies. Not really. It was Alabama's state troopers who tried to kill John Lewis on the Edmond Pettus bridge. It is state legislatures across the nation which have gerrymandered state and national legislative districts in ways designed to undermine the sanctity of our votes. For decades in many jurisdictions lynchings were, de facto, legal.

Law enforcement personnel at all levels work for us. They are directly responsible to our elected and appointed GOVERNMENT (you know, the thing that makes civilization possible) officials. We have serious work to do as citizens to improve their performance and reestablish trust and respect between us and them. The current political campaign/climate has made that task more difficult and more essential.

At every level of government, prosecutors have immense powers to choose which laws to enforce and against whom, who gets indicted and who gets a pass. Justice in not reliably well-served.

For most of us the first line of protection is our local police and sheriffs. Yet, if you've made even a modest effort in the last year to keep informed about anything other than this seemingly interminable presidential campaign, you will know that there are serious problems in law enforcement departments around the country.

Militarization is a significant part of the problem. Former deputy director of the FBI Danny Colson told us years ago that the roles of a policeman and of a soldier are almost diametrically opposite: police protect, soldiers kill. A good policeman/woman is an all day, every day hero. Bad or inadequate police are a serious cultural and political problem, a threat to justice and to our freedoms. Correcting these failings will take extraordinary will and many years of diligent engagement.

If you think a police state will make America great again c.) do you really want the alt-right running your life? and d.) do not think it cannot happen here.

For my part -- and with my vote -- I'm choosing the path toward "Liberty and Justice for ALL."