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[flagged] I Cannot Remain Silent (theatlantic.com)
173 points by Xplor 35 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 31 comments

it ought to go without saying, but just to make this explicitly clear: the author is Admiral Mike Mullen (ret), whose last position before he retired was as the seventeenth chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

He was a servicemember from 1968 to 2011, served under 9 administrations, and was appointed chair of the joint chiefs by GWB in 2007 and retained through Obama's first term.

Lafayette square is such a sacred place. Right in front of the white house. It’s always full of protestors, regardless of the administration.

If we can’t let people peacefully protest here, then we’ve really lost legitimacy as a liberal democracy.

We have not been a democracy or a representative republic for a long time, at a bare minimum we would need a new amendment to overturn citizens united and move to publicly financed elections to get back to that. You can claim you're represented in this current system, I understand that need, but it's not really accurate.

My vote counts and is counted. That makes it a representative republic. Citizens United and publicly financed elections do not affect whether or not my vote counts or is counted. Of course they affect what messages me and my fellow citizens see, and they are important. But your claims would only make sense in a world where money guaranteed votes rather than merely influenced voters.

Your local representative is spending 90% of their day talking to lobbyists who pay to talk to them and doing fundraising calls with rich people.

People press the button on a machine in lots of countries, that doesn't necessarily make them a republic. The practical reality of the situation is they are spending every day NOT representing people as much as possible. This isn't an abstract thought experiment in political science definitions, this is the actual reality we are living under.

It sounds like the public need to wake up to the reality that politics are driven by money, and instead of using a voting system, we should just crowdfund sponsor our candidates and lock them into contracts.

The longer we keep our head in the sand instead of facing reality, the more delusional we get.

If we, as the public, are unwilling to actually pay our candidates the way that lobbyists are, and if we are unwilling to change the laws that allow lobbyists to continue influencing politicians in this manner, then we effectively have no representation.

Genuinely curious why this story was flagged while an active discussion is taking place in the comments, which are very similar to discussions in other related stories on HN not getting flagged.

I agree. I get the wish to keep HN from being an (overly) political place, and I might agree with flagging this if it was a post on some random person's blog (even if that person is well known in tech). But this is not that. This a statement from a long serving and respected former chairman of the Joint Chiefs, someone who is eminently qualified to comment. Furthermore, it is a post that speaks not to any of the details, but to the larger picture of what is going on in the United States right now.

If there was a single post about the current situation that I would nominate to be allowed here, this is undoubtedly it.

As others have noted, it may be that the discussion here was spiraling into a negative cesspool of bad comments too quickly, and maybe that's why it got flagged?

I reposted a similar article as an experiment, although it's not nearly as good since it isn't the original source. It didn't get flagged but probably because it didn't gain traction quickly enough to garner comments:


I have no idea, but it's not just the flagging, I even bring it up and the negs pour in. Weird emails recently, too. I've no idea why it's gotten so bad lately, I guess when something is so divisive it's just bound to happen.

I get the comments can be cesspools and maybe that's why the fast flags, but censoring opposing views doesn't erase them, it hides them. I dont come for articles, most are reposted from other aggregators, I come for the comments, the discussions and the views.

Assuming good faith, at the minimum this appears to be an inconsistent application of flagging articles as compared to many other recent comparable items that gained traction.

Why was this flagged?

> This is not the time for stunts. This is the time for leadership.

Trump's comments about "dominate the battle space" really pierced my heart.

Seeing the president openly violate the first amendment right: "the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances" made me very sad.

"that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth." - I don't think we have a government for the people.


I disagree with your comment; these were not “violent rioters.” But I vouched for it, as it should not have been flag killed.

To HelixEndevour (I've tried to vouch/reply to your post, but unable)

I agree with the first part of statement: Violent rioters should not endanger the life of the President. Which is why, even if I don't like the current president or his methods (or anything, really), I understand the need to support security of white house.

But "Violent Rioters endangering president's life" should not be mixed up with "Capricious president endangers peaceful protesters' life". They are morally and tactically different scenarios.

By all accounts:

- Protesters were peaceful

- They were not approaching or endangering White House

- President decided to have an unannounced photo-op

- Without warning, trips used force to disperse crowds so the president can have his photo op

If you believe this is not a correct framework, I'd be curious to hear your perspective.


> By all accounts:

> - Protesters were peaceful

From MSNBC's own coverage

0:42 - Visible in the scene are fireworks being launched at cops.


You are being lied to, and by all the reporters of the major networks who were on the scene, no less.

The rioters at White House and in Washington burned a church, defaced public property, including Lincoln memorial and WWII memorial, and injured 60 secret service members before backup arrived. They've looted entire districts in NYC. Burned a police precinct to the ground in Minneapolis. Destroyed entire neighborhoods. They seek to intimidate and incite fear and violence. They are spray painting "fuck 12" and "ACAB" all over America to instill anti police hatred, invoking true criminals to take advantage of the situation and kill cops: https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/retired-st-louis-police...

This is not a peaceful protest.

This would imply the president would have been unharmed if he just took a walk to the church. I think it's unlikely that nothing would have happened. They've been throwing bottles (possibly bricks), smacking people with signs, and harassed/chased away a Fox News crew.


A warning would have been nice.

> This would imply the president would have been unharmed if he just took a walk to the church.

This comment sounds very disingenuous, because it fails to take into account the fact that Trump's decision to go on an unplanned photo-op was designed to force a scenario devised explicitly to draw a reaction.

And please note that even the priest complained that he felt abused and betrayed by Trump because it was patently obvious that the goal of that stunt was not to visit church or talk to the priest.

In basketball there's taking a charge and flopping. Trump's photo-op at the church was a colossal flop.

As James Baldwin and Nikki Giovanni put it, if you have to use force to stay in charge you have no power, "your game ain't running"

Are you justifying this as corporal punishment for pre-crime?

The account was made 21 minutes ago. There is a chance that this was a ban dodger posting their first new post.

Likely, but it could also be someone who wanted to express their honest opinion without "ruining" their normal account. I didn't get to see the comment, so I can't really offer any commentary on it beyond that.

You can turn dead comments on in your profile

Huh, didn't know that. I bet I'm not the only one.

> it should not have been flag killed.

Why not? It's clearly low-effort trollbait.

"Our fellow citizens are not the enemy, and must never become so." Yes actually, in a riot, your fellow citizens are your enemy, and their own.

This was not a riot but a peaceful protest that was covered by multiple camera angles (including the POV or a camera that got punched by a cop/fed/whatever while they brutalized journalists). Civilian riots in the next town over do not justify police riots to enable a tyrant to walk across the street to take pictures of an upside-down bible in front of a church while that same church's pastors were tear-gassed.

What makes my fellow citizens my enemy in a riot?

Not quite. The techniques the military uses to attack enemies are not the same as the techniques of law enforcement, nor should they be. This is why militarization of the police is generally frowned upon, and the use of military forces to quell civil unrest is also not a good idea.

>It sickened me yesterday to see security personnel—including members of the National Guard—forcibly and violently clear a path through Lafayette Square to accommodate the president's visit outside St. John's Church. I have to date been reticent to speak out on issues surrounding President Trump's leadership, but we are at an inflection point, and the events of the past few weeks have made it impossible to remain silent.

Who in Lafayette Square was a rioter?

The disabled veterans, the people standing around doing nothing, or the elderly female Episcopalian ministers?

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