Gov. Larry Hogan has authorized members of the Maryland National Guard to be sent to the District of Columbia at the request of Donald Trump (“Hogan defends sending Maryland National Guard troops to D.C., emphasizes that they are protecting monuments,” June 3). These Guard members have become part of the police forces confronting people outraged over the murders of black people throughout the country. The vast majority of the protesters are nonviolent. The governors of Virginia, New York and Delaware refused this request from President Trump, and so their National Guard members are not being used in this cynical, politicized way. Muriel Bowser, the mayor of Washington, D.C., specifically announced that she did not want or need National Guard members deployed to Washington from other states.
On live TV, we see how this president is using the military against nonviolent protesters: gassing them and shooting them and attacking them, in order to enable the president to walk through Lafayette Park and wave a Bible in front of a church as part of a photo op. Governor Hogan says that Maryland’s Guard is not being used in this way, that they are only there to “protect the monuments,” but he has no authority over them once they are deployed. Besides, it is not monuments that are at risk in this country, but people, especially black people.
Young people join the National Guard in order to be of service to their communities. This disgraceful use of the National Guard by the Trump administration is reprehensible — even more so when it puts these young National Guard members at risk of contracting COVID-19 through their presence in large gatherings. We should all let Governor Hogan know that this deployment of Maryland’s National Guard is unacceptable and that sending them to D.C. to appease Donald Trump is shameful and outrageous.
Jean Athey, Baltimore
The writer is executive director of Maryland Peace Action.
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