By Royal Alexander/Opinion

There are few more venerable practices in our Constitutional traditional than picketing and protesting—peaceably assembling—and speaking out, seeking a redress of grievances; demanding that attention be brought to public issues. In our history, there are numerous examples of vocal, persistent, peaceable protest that resulted in permanent, beneficial changes to society. These fundamental rights allowing us to be heard are not only cherished by Americans but are rights not allowed citizens in many other parts of the world. That genuine response is what we first witnessed on the heels of the tragic and inexcusable death of George Floyd. The large majority of America is sickened and outraged by the video we witnessed of the last few minutes of his life. However, that sincere, heartfelt sentiment and the demand to address the issue of police brutality has now been overshadowed and displaced by a lawlessness that threatens our national security. There are reports that much of the looting and destruction we are witnessing nationally is not local and did not spring up organically but is being covertly organized for reasons that have nothing to do with police conduct or George Floyd. There are indications that ANTIFA, the violent group that often emerges in times of unrest, is likely involved in inflaming this uprising. For these reasons, I think President Trump is correct in designating that organization a “domestic terror” organization.

The long and short of it is that our country is founded upon a rule of law and no person or organization is justified in bringing violence, death, and destruction to our society. (Most insurance liability policies carry exclusions for property destroyed during rioting and civil unrest. So, many small businesses, often minority-owned, and their families are simply ruined if their business burns. This, of course, does not address the loss of life). No person or organization has the right to kill, and destroy property, based upon some perverse notion they are “seeking social change.” No one has the right to become a law unto themselves. What we are witnessing are the very same actions that constitute invasion and war. It is the definition of insurrection. We address critical issues in this country by persistently speaking out, voting, organizing, marching, and striking. We address them by building a grassroots movement from the ground up and persuading elected officials to address our demands for needed change in our law and policy—or voting them out and choosing different elected officials. We also may address them by seeking relief in the courts. Not this way. This is anarchy. What we are seeing is a rebuke to our American system of law and self-government. The great sadness is that the focus should be on the death of George Floyd and not on how we are going to keep American cities from going up in flames and how many people may be killed and how much property and livelihood destroyed before this ends. The president has authority to do so, including under the Insurrection Act, and he must move quickly and decisively to end this.


  1. silent protest and to believe in your own opinion is fine,
    but when you harm others or loot and set fires you are now a criminal .

  2. I’m sorry, but using federal forces for this should be the last resort. The National Guards exist to protect the states in conditions like this as well as from a tyrannical federal government body. The federal military is supposed to remain impartial and if activated can only deploy to protect property/communities, not take up arms against the American people. Posse Comitatus also lays out that our federal military is not to be used to police our citizens.

    The president has better options. His advisors need to go. Rather than threaten the use of federal troops he could have threatened to withhold funding for the states refusing to activate the guard to squash this. That is leadership, not forcing an ultimatum on a people. No one wants this civil discourse and if you look carefully at where things are the worst it is where citizens rights to self preservation have been eroded to the point that they have to ability to take action and protect themselves and their own property. What about civil liberties of the people who are being victimized in this? The people destroying these communities DON’T EVEN LIVE THERE, yet you are going to force the federal knee on their necks…yeah, that’s leadership alright. Support the citizens that need help, stand against lawlessness and empower the people to protect what is theirs.

  3. In 1962, I was a senior in High School in New Orleans. One day the entire high school headed to Canal Street chanting ” two, four, six, eight we don’t want to integrate”. I was clearly a curious crowd follower and joined in. When the throng got to Downtown New Orleans, I saw street violence: People fighting and hatred everywhere. I quickly realized I was scared and took off for the streetcar. Now, almost 60 years later, not much has changed. There is still violence, but we also still see hate lurking deeply in the hearts of those who just can’t let it go. To those who can’t let t go, please integrate our neighbors into your heart. Lets show our children a better life.

  4. ANTIFA is not an organization, but a philosophy that is anti-fascist. You can’t declare an idea a terrorist organization; to do so is not just a dangerous precedent, but opposition to the core tenants of our country (free speech). It would be like declaring environmentalism or pro-life and organization. It is not, it is a belief. ANTIFA stands for anti-fascism. If someone is anti-ANTIFA, does that make them fascist?

  5. Focus on the peaceful vast majority of protestors. Focus on the message, our message. There is a bad lot in any crowd. And it is shameful that some disruptors are detracting from the message being carried across most of the countries in the world. Again focus on the loud and clear voice of America and most Americans. George Floyd’s death and so many others in like situations must lead to change. “The least we can do…is not to remain silent.”

  6. The American military is not a plaything for dictators. Our goal as Americans is to fight for democracy, not oligarchy. Requesting that the government take control of the people in this way is the complete opposite of what conservatives SAY they want, as in, less government. Why don’t you just let the states deal with it? Why don’t you sit down and try to figure out why your white privilege has you in such a condition that you cannot understand history or generational systemic abuse that has led to this juncture? I think your time is better spent calling for reform of the police system, and a review of the basic human agreement we have in this country that everyone is to be treated equitably and with respect, and not profiled in such an egregious way that a man can be killed on camera and you’re whining about broken windows.

  7. You are basically saying that it’s okay to declare martial law on American citizens protesting against abuse of power. Oh, my, that’s not fascist at all.

    • I don’t think anyone is against protesting peacefully, but these people are not protesting peacefully, they are destroying. Destroying things that some people have worked their entire lives to build. And I’m not talking about just white people here. Did you not see the black woman on the news crying because the people that were not from her neighborhood had destroyed the only stores where she shopped, the grocery store and the dollar store, both were destroyed. She had nowhere to shop because she couldn’t drive and buses did not run in her area. There comes a time when something must be done about the destruction of businesses, homes, vehicles, parks and many other things. You say the citizens were protesting against abuse of power, I say they were using a man’s tragic death by the police as an excuse for them to loot, burn and kill. If they were wanting to protest the man’s death, they would have listened to his brother and stopped the riots. They could have gone to church to pray for the man’s family instead of burning a church. I find no excuse for what these people are doing. It is wrong anyway you look at it. I’m proud of several cities in our state, for they did protest peacefully. New Orleans was one of them and that is a city formerly known for it’s violence. That city made me proud, the ones who could not control the rioters were a disgrace.

        • You might I don’t have any inherited wrongs! My family has worked for what we have! So get over it!

        • I inherited my whiteness, true. I did not inherit privilege in terms of wealth because I was born in abject poverty in the 39’s. I did inherit parents who instilled in me the concept that the way out of poverty is a strong work ethic. I feel no guilt for being white and had no role in the horrible atrocities of slavery, therefore I did not inherit any wrongs. I do feel a responsibility to be a good citizen and help, wherever I can, those who need a hand-up.

          Mysticfool, your name is appropriate!

          • That’s the logic and thinking that is running nearly every major city and most states here in America.

    • It’s not protesting after the first brick is thrown,first fire set, first assault,first killing or any damages. Martial law should have been declared night 1.

      • So you recommend more killing the protest begin with senseless violence. Martial law is shoot on sight,once again killing unarmed black men and women. A stray bullet is just that it has to hit something to stop. We as the black community wants the violence to stop not just from cops but from any foreign or domestic act. That statement is offensive, what if it was your child or nephew better yet your grandchild would u still use martial law as the answer?

        • So we just continue letting the mob take over neighborhood after neighborhood? What would you do if it was your home or business?

        • Martial law is NOT “shoot on sight.” Please educate yourself. And yes, if my child or grandchild was participating in riotous acts, you bet I would advocate for martial law if nothing else worked. It just might save their life!

Comments are closed.