Picture(Photo by Alex Brandon / AP)
By Jamal Laoudi
Washington D.C., July 18, 2016- Today, the Republican convention kicks off in Cleveland Ohio.  It will last until Thursday July, 12th when the expected Republican nominee, Donald Trump, will give his acceptance speech, assuming the nomination process goes smoothly. 

With rare exceptions, recent Republican conventions have gone smoothly and the Republican nominee has always been known ahead of the convention with much consensus.   This time around, the nominee has proven quite spiky, and many argue that he is hardly a Republican.  We are talking about the colorful Donald J. Trump.  

During the primaries, he has proven very controversial, from his comments about banning Muslims from entering the U.S., which he revised to a watered down version, to building a wall throughout the American-Mexican border, among other eyebrow-raising comments. 

On the Muslim issue, his campaign stated in a press release that “Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on." With respect to building a wall, he stated, numerous times that “we are going to build the wall” and that he will “make Mexico pay for it.”

Tensions are running high even among the Republican Party where many Republicans, including in Congress, have refused to endorse him.  Paul Ryan, leader of the Republican Party in Congress and House Speaker initially did to endorse Trump. It took few meetings and discussions for him to come around to that.  As far as the reaction of the Democrats and the liberals to this nominee are concerned, it is safe to leave that part to your imagination.

Security at the convention is bound to be ultra-tight due to the various incidents that took place during the primaries, especially during Trump’s rallies who has proved very divisive.  Trump has done his part to ensure ultra-tight security measures but another issue has the police quite tense to put it mildly. 

In recent weeks, there were reprisal attacks against police officers in some parts of the U.S. for what is seen as police brutality against African Americans.  Last week, three police officers were ambushed and killed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana by Gavin Eugene Long, an African-American former Marine.  The week prior, five police officers were killed in Dallas, Texas in an ambush by Micah Xavier Johnson, an African American Afghan former Army reservist and Afghan War veteran.  

The LA Times argues in a piece entitled “it's not just Dallas or Baton Rouge — police officers have been killed across the country” that these two attacks are by no means the entire story. These killings were triggered by two recent incidents where police officers in Louisiana and Minnesota shot dead two black men, Alton B. Sterling and Philando Castile respectively.  Videos of the two incidents put into question whether or not excessive force of that nature was warranted thereby reigniting the ever-divisive issue of race.      

These incidents have the police very nervous all over the country.  With the GOP convention in Cleveland, it is a nightmare for law enforcement.  A nightmare because in Ohio, open-carry law is in full effect.  Many are promising to publically and openly carry firearms. There were suggestions and requests to temporarily suspend open-carry but those requests were denied.  Stephen Loomis, president of Cleveland Police Union told CNN that “We are sending a letter to Gov. Kasich requesting assistance from him. He could very easily do some kind of executive order or something — I don’t care if it’s constitutional or not at this point.” Ohio’s governor John Kasich’s office responded by denying the request on the grounds that “Ohio governors do not have the power to arbitrarily suspend federal and state constitutional rights or state laws.”  

In what may appear as odd, Jeff Larson CEO of the GOP convention agrees with the Ohio’s governor and defended him by stating that “The governor can’t simply say, I’m going to relax [the law] for a day.” Protests against Trump and police brutality and misconduct have been ongoing for months and will only intensify during the Republican Convention.  Everybody involved needs to give 110% if this is to go smoothly.                 


 


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