I was not yet born on December 7, 1941. After Pearl Harbor was attacked on that day, America’s president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, called it “a day which will live in infamy.” Americans who were old enough to experience that horrific event will never forget what happened, and where they were on that day.
Born in 1946, certain events in American history can never be erased from my memory. The assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the murder of students protesting the Vietnam war at Kent State University, the embarrassing final day of the evacuation of Saigon in 1975, leaving our allies to die at the hands of the Viet Cong, the cowardly attacks on September 11, 2001, and the shock that a non-American had stolen the presidency on the morning of November 9, 2016 will be etched on my brain for the extent of my life. But none of these shocked me or frightened me more than what happened outside of the White House in Lafayette Park on June 1, 2020.
What we all witnessed was an attack on the rights of hundreds of American men and women guaranteed by the first amendment. No one can deny that this was a display of pure fascism by a man who falsely claims to be your president. The purpose for this unconstitutional act? A photo op at St. John’s Episcopal Church. I am a novelist and not once in my life did I imagine a man claiming to be our president ordering an attack on the people he is required to represent.
What was even more upsetting as I watched members of our armed forces attack peaceful protesters with rubber bullets and tear gas, was who was marching behind them with Trump. Several of his lackeys, including Mike Pence, Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper, and William Barr dutifully obeyed their fuhrer’s command. Trump’s clone, Ivanka Trump proudly marched as the crowd was dispersed. Most upsetting was the participation of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mark Milley, walking behind Trump.
Was this the end of our Democratic government? Has our military joined forces with the executive branch to create a dictatorship?
Today, General Milley apologized for his choice.
He said: “I should not have been there. My presence in that moment and in that environment created a perception of the military involved in domestic politics.
“As a commissioned uniformed officer, it was a mistake that I have learned from, and I sincerely hope we all can learn from it.”
Gen Milley added: “We must hold dear the principle of an apolitical military that is so deeply rooted in the very essence of our republic.”
General Milley said he was outraged at the senseless murder of George Floyd.
General Milley said: “The protests that have ensued not only speak to his killing but also to centuries of injustice toward African Americans.”
We can only hope that General Milley is sincere. All of us who served in the military swore to defend our nation, and our nation is the American people, not land, or buildings. If we allow a tyrannical dictator to occupy the White House, our military leaders must direct their soldiers to uphold the Constitution and defend the people, not an ambitious politician.
Trump has proven that my distaste for ‘professional politicians’ is valid. The word ‘politician’ forces bile to rise from my stomach. Moscow Mitch McConnell has been in the senate for far, far too long. After 36 years he has accomplished nothing which positively affects our nation’s people, but he created the “party of no” and intentionally makes our government dysfunctional. He is the poster boy for term limits.
Op-ed by James Turnage
My eight novels are available on Amazon’s free Kindle app