By Paul Muholland
Law and order candidates, who are infamous for endorsing illegal state violence against groups they and undesirable, have little respect for the law as evident through their own actions.
Donald Trump, this season’s law and order candidate — as he called himself in his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention (RNC) — told George Stephanopoulos on “This Week” that he promotes torture of prisoners of war “beyond waterboarding,” as well as the murder of their non-combatant families, both of which are illegal under U.S. and international law. His immigrant “deportation force,” a term he coined in 2015 to describe his efforts to deport 11 million unauthorized immigrants, would require warrantless searches and detentions.
Two recent presidents who peddled law and order rhetoric frequently, Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon, were both nearly removed from office for their erratic and flagrant violations of the law.
I mention all of this because I drove out to Cleveland, Ohio, this July for the last three days of the RNC. I was curious — it seemed as if every other person in the city was a police of cer. I met many interesting and friendly people, including Vermin Supreme: a satirical third party candidate and YouTube personality who wears a boot on his head and promises free ponies if elected.
I also saw several members of the Revolutionary Communist Party arrested for burning the ag, just outside of Quicken Loans Arena, where the convention was being held. As they were ushered into a police van, one Trump supporter, who I spoke to later on, yelled to the of cer, “You guys have to be nice now, but just wait until Trump gets in. He’s going to unleash you guys.” He was greeted amicably by a few Cleveland officers.
Hoping for the police to be “unleashed” is not the sort of sentiment I am prepared to endorse. But it is one that is supported by Trump supporters and by Trump himself. The police have too much power to search and detain Americans as it stands today, and I will not vote my remaining liberties away.
Trump and his supporters do not howl for more law enforcement for any halfway respectable reason, such as a recent spike in violent crime. In fact, violent crime has been steadily falling for a generation. Trump’s appeals to law and order invariably argue for state violence to be wielded against groups associated with the political left, and should be understood as a power struggle against it.
In George Orwell’s “1984,” O’Brien tells Winston when he is locked up that “Power is not a means; it is an end… The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power.”
This line is worth bearing in mind. According to the Senate’s Report on torture, many Guantanamo Bay detainees were kept awake for days at a time, locked in boxes and stress positions and at least one was frozen to death. This is not done to gather useful intelligence. Someone kept awake for a week by listening to pinging noises will not be in a position to report actionable intelligence. So why do it? Torture is committed for its own sake.
Although I won’t vote for a police state, I refuse to accept the racketeering state that a second Clinton administration would introduce. Hillary Clinton lies so incessantly about her private email server that she may not actually remember what the truth really is, and Bill Clinton — my least favorite part of Hillary’s campaign — is so corrupt that I think he would pay for the pleasure of selling himself.
The most egregious instance of what Trump has labelled “pay for play” was the pardon of Marc Rich, a fugitive sanction dodger who made millions helping states, such as Iran and Sudan, work around U.S. sanctions. Luckily for him, he was a donor to the Clintons and the Democratic party.
During the Democratic primaries, Senator Bernie Sanders challenged Hillary Clinton to put out her transcripts for a speech she gave to Goldman Sachs, in which she was paid $250,000. It should hardly matter because according to research done by Todd Purdum at Vanity Fair, Bill Clinton made over $50 Million in speaking fees alone between 2000 and 2008.