There has been an insurgency in the United States in the wake of George Floyd’s death with millions taking to the streets to protest police brutality. However, as the date since Floyd’s death grows more distant, the once peaceful protests have grown more intense. In some areas such as Portland, the protests have now started to be called riots. This begs the question: should President Trump send military forces to control the riots? To answer this question, it is important to evaluate the two principal perspectives.
Voices on the left would staunchly oppose interference in the riots with a paramilitary force. This rests upon the conclusion that the protestors are justified in their anger, therefore their actions are acts of true patriotism. They are protesting to create an America based upon values of justice, freedom, and equality for all. They draw upon the traditions of the Black Panther and civil rights groups which did not prioritize peace, their call to action is “no justice, no peace”. For liberals, it seems as though there has been far too long of a time spent waiting with marginal changes being made.
Dissimilarly, voices on the right would support a halt to the riots, even if it did require military intervention. Given that the protests have turned violent in nature, resort to attacking businesses, and have even led to individuals being injured, it is clear to right-wingers that these protests are no longer civil and need to be stopped. This sentiment is reflected by President Trump in a statement in a national address from the White House’s Rose Garden: “Today I have strongly recommended to every governor to deploy the National Guard in sufficient numbers that we dominate the streets. Mayors and governors must establish an overwhelming law enforcement presence until the violence has been quelled.”
Regardless of political affiliation, it is clear that there are divisions in society so deep that a simple executive order will not change. People are upset on every side, but in order for true change to be brought about, it is imperative that a dialogue is opened up where people can express their opinions freely. Violence is not the answer, neither for the protestors nor for the US government. There is a way to solve the problems protesters are lamenting without dragging violence into the equation. Perhaps this just the pacifist in me, but peace cannot come from violence, and to make substantial change, peace is necessary.