The photo op of June 2nd is a defining moment

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On June 2, we witnessed what will go down as a defining moment in U.S. history. It will either send our country into chaos and tyranny, or it will eventually release us from the nightmare of the Trump presidency in November.

Following seven days of nation-wide protests and violence in response to the brutal killing of George Floyd by Minnesotta police officers on May 25, Trump delivered a speech in the Rose Garden. Our country has had horrible racial violence over the course of our entire history, the killing of Mr. Floyd was nothing new. Racism is systemic and it is imperative that we change. But in his speech that day, Trump did not offer solutions, condolence, hope, or calm words; his speech was full of hate and threats of violence. In addition, at the same time his administration instructed the police who were around the peaceful protestors in Layfayette Park by the White House to use batons, runner bullets, pepper spray and tear gas to push the assembled protestors away from the area.

All so that Trump could walk from the Rose Garden to the church nearby for a photo op.

He stood in front of the church and held a bible in the air for the cameras. He did not offer words of kindness for George Floyd and his family. He did not pray. He used the bible and the church behind him as a prop as if to say, “I have God on my side and will use that to beat and suppress citizens.”

Trump threatened to use the military to supress protestors in the states if the governors did not do as he instructed. I began to see what I thought could be the rise of a dictator — something I have thought in the past with Trump, but only now did it seem more real. This is what tyrants do, and how many countries have fallen: they use unstable conditions and internal strife to gain full control. It could happen here.

I quickly learned that Trump cannot legally send troops into a state without the invitation of the governors. Our democracy’s checks and balances still work. We have very strong and knowledgable members of the Senate who would quickly remove Trump. That said, I am scared.

I did this drawing of Trump in response. He uses hate all the time, ever since he was elected. Above, I drew him in short pants as I used to before he was elected President. At the time, I saw him as a bully, the shorts indicate he acts like a schoolyard bully.

In his three years in office, I have come to know that Trump is more than a bully; much more. He is a dangerous man. I decided my original decision to end drawing him in the short pants in 2017 — out of respect for the office of the President — was no longer something I would do.

The photo op on June 2nd will either propel us into voting Trump out of office, or it will be the first day of the begining of a different America.

Written by

Visual journalist/writer for New Yorker, New York Times, CBS News, CNN. TED, SXSW speaker. Looking to change world w humor.

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