Opinion: Trump needs to eliminate our nation’s polarization

Throughout the past few weeks, racism has taken over our country in many ways, and President Trump has done nothing to help the cause. WSPN's Max Brande explains the changes the president needs to make.

Credit: Emily Chafe

Throughout the past few weeks, racism has taken over our country in many ways, and President Trump has done nothing to help the cause. WSPN's Max Brande explains the changes the president needs to make.

Max Brande

Over the past few months, our world has been turned upside down. We have endured a worldwide pandemic that has taken the lives of nearly 400,000 people worldwide. We have experienced the tragedy of police brutality that has only taken the lives of a few people over the past few weeks but has caused more stir and uprising in this country than we have seen in a long time. On May 25, George Floyd’s life was taken from him by a police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota. There was absolutely no reason for Floyd’s last breath to be taken under a police officer’s knee.

Since the tragedy, demonstrators have gathered nationwide in honor of Floyd, fighting to end racial injustice and police brutality. On the flip side, there have been many people around this country that are either out to cause violence or add fuel to the fire by looting and acting aggressively. In a national crisis like the one we are in now, it is crucial to have a leader we can lean on and look to for support. Not a “leader” who has steamrolled himself into the aggression by being just as aggressive in his own way right back.

Whether it’s via social media or a press conference, Trump has handled the response to racial injustice and police brutality in our country in the worst way possible. It might as well have been Trump’s metaphorical knee that took Floyd’s last breath.

I’m not ashamed to make it known that I think Trump has handled this situation horrendously. People in this country have the right to share their opinions freely, without judgment or backlash. That’s part of the problem in our country today. Disagreements between opposing sides have totally polarized this nation. I am well aware that some people will disagree with the things I am saying, and that speaks to the freedom that we have in this nation.

At birth, we were given the right to free speech and freedom to assemble. It seems as if these are being snatched from us by the actions of police around this country, as well as some of our leaders.

I know that politics are a very heated topic at Wayland High School and certainly around the country, but don’t be fooled. This is not politics. I am not here to express my political views. This is the injustice and oppression of our American people, who bleed red like everyone else and walk like everyone else. These criminal actions of police officers towards African-American people are not politically inflicted, rather the acts of systemic oppression towards black people in our nation that we have seen since the age of slavery.

It doesn’t take a genius to see the violence going on during these protests, but what is the root of the aggression? I have reason to believe that President Trump is at the heart of all the violent protests going on. This is all happening for the mere fact that Trump cannot handle himself when he is at the forefront of the media’s attention and in a place of ultimate power. President Trump has taken his executive power and brought it into a whole new dimension.

I’m not going to try and twist this and say that President Trump did not condemn the violent protests, because he did. But that’s only half the issue. He proceeded to provoke the violence by threatening US governors that if they didn’t figure out the violence themselves, then bad things would happen to American people.

“I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them,” Trump said at a White House briefing.

This doesn’t sound like something that a proud and honest leader would say. Imagine threatening your own people by merely turning against them and deploying the military to fight against them. Disgusting. I can’t help but think that if the Obama administration were still in office, things would have been handled a lot differently. Never once would the blame game have been played, or threats made. Instead, we would be focusing on the injustice in our nation and what we can do to make steps in the right direction.

One of the most sickening interactions of these protests came on June 1, between 5 pm and 7 pm. A large group of mostly peaceful protestors were demonstrating around Lafayette Square in Washington DC, until members of the military, police, national guard, and secret service violently advanced their line. They cleared the area using tear gas, pepper balls, rubber bullets; you name it, they used it. All this so President Trump could go to the St. Johns Church and have a photo-op. Does this sound outrageous to you? Because it is. There was absolutely no reason for the police to get that aggressive with the demonstrators. When I was rewatching the video of all of this playing out, I had to remind myself that I was watching the real news, and not a paintball battle or video game. It was so hard to wrap my head around the fact that this is our sad reality, and even worse, Trump’s solution to racial injustice in our country.

Do you think that’s terrible? It gets worse.

During the violence in Lafayette Square on June 1, Trump was simultaneously speaking at a White House press conference. His primary focus during this briefing was to emphasize his commitment to the American people and keeping them safe, quite ironic, given what was happening quite literally at the same time as he was speaking.

It’s time to put your words into action, President Trump. Not everybody is all bad, and I am a big believer in that. Take action in the right way. Help bring our nation back together. That goes for everyone reading this, and everyone around our country. We all have the power to fix racial injustice. It’s not just about the people being oppressed or all on our leaders. We are in a new wave of the civil rights movement. Once led by Martin Luther King Jr, and now led by the American people. One death due to police brutality or racism in any way is one too many, and it’s time for the American people to rise up together and merge as one.