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The voices there of Julia Jackson, the mother of Jacob Blake, who was shot in the back seven times by a policeman in Kenosha. Then you heard the voice of Vice President Mike Pence, then the voice of Donald Trump, and finally, the voice of the vice presidential candidate for the Democrats, Kamala Harris.
All in all, the U.S. is not in a great place just now with polarizing national conventions from the Republican and Democratic parties ahead of November's election. Unemployment continuing to soar and the country seeking ever deeper into its covid crisis. Terry Sheridan, managing editor of WAGA Public Radio, is on the line. Terry, good morning.
And good morning to you, Pat.
Well, if you were feeling in any way cheerful after I read out all of that, you're probably a bit glum, but you have a lot of problems in the United States at the moment.
Oh, no, it's not cheerful in any way, shape or form. The word despair has been thrown about here in the United States over the past week especially, but going over the past couple of months, because there is just a feeling of is this who we are?
And a lot of people are looking at that and saying that and they're not necessarily liking the answer.
We have talked before about the Democratic National Convention and the remote nature of it and how they use technology and so on.
How did the Republican convention work out?
Well, the Republican convention was the terminology that we're using here, whether it's work or school or anything, is hybrid. So you can say it was sort of a hybrid convention in which, yes, there were certain things that were remote done in a studio, done in private. But last night, the president gave his speech and kicked off his campaign with pretty much a rally on the lawn of the White House that was decorated with Trump signs. There was a humongous fireworks show after he gave his speech.
It was a long speech.
It was about an hour long, little over an hour, very partisan and very unprecedented usually or actually by law, the president should not be doing political events at the White House.
It should be separate. So a lot of people were put off by the fact that basically was turned into a prop for the president.
And will there be any backlash to that?
I mean, is there anything they can do when a president uses what, our public resources for private gain?
Yes, there's laws on the books. The big question is, will it get done? And especially will it get done if the president is re-elected under law?
And actually in our Constitution, any politician cannot use their public office for personal gain or for political gain here in the United States. And I don't know if it's the same in Ireland. If an incumbent is running for office, they can't use their office email. They can't use their office to run the campaign. They have to get a separate staff. They have to get a separate email address and a separate place to run the run the campaign. So that's why this last night was was unprecedented.
And it'll please his base, I'm sure, to see the backdrop of the White House kind of consolidating that image of Trump in power. It must have incensed the Democrats.
But, you know, as you say, there may not be anything they will or can do about it when you're dealing with the president of the United States.
Well, yes, it all it all depends on several of several things turning. One is that the Senate, as it's controlled by Republicans, will not do anything. The Justice Department, which is run by Attorney General Bill Barr, we can assume will not do anything. It would be a federal crime. So unlike situations that are happening in New York, the federal law enforcement agencies would not investigate it. The only thing that could come out of it is if the president loses and then there are charges or then there are proceedings launched against him.
Meantime, we have the violence in Wisconsin. What happened in Kenosha and even the releases from the police indicating that the guy admitted to Jacob Lake admitted that there was a knife in his car or whatever, it seems there is an intention there to muddy the waters when people saw the evidence with their own two eyes of a man being shot in the back seven times by a policeman.
And then we have the young vigilante, the 17 year old who it is alleged and I think people have seen again with the evidence of their eyes, this guy has been shooting people killed, too.
And he is so charged that that is true. And this is where you say the water is being incredibly muddied. The video that you see of the police officer who shot Jake Blake seven times in the back there saying that he was going for a knife or that there was somehow and we don't know this fully yet, there was somehow a knife involved before Jacob Blake was shot. There was a scuffle on the side of the car. He was shot as he was getting into the driving seat of his car.
Blake was trying to break up a domestic violence incident that was happening. Police responded to as well. What exactly happened is still unclear. We know there was some sort of scuffle with Blake and the police. We know the police let him walk away and go to his car. And it was as he was getting into his car that he was shot.
His father says that he is handcuffed to his hospital bed even though he is paralyzed from the waist down and that charges would be coming.
As far as Kyle Rittenhouse goes, again, 17 years old, he shouldn't have had a long gun in the first place. He shouldn't have carried it across state lines he says he was protecting or he has said through his lawyer or before he was protecting the the businesses in the area. He's been on videotape at various points of the night that he did the shooting. And, yes, there there's shooting. There's video of him shooting the three people. And then he walked away through police and actually got into another state before he was arrested.
And then you have a Fox News host, Tucker Carlson, defending the killing of the people by them.
And and that's where a lot of people yesterday when this news came out about Tucker Carlson, that's where people in a lot of ways just threw up their hands in despair only.
Tucker Carlson. Tucker Carlson. Yes, he was the first.
And he said that Rittenhouse stepped in because local police couldn't or Democrat run cities couldn't. But it's it's been picked up by other conservative media. Is that this the media that this teenager was actually the hero in all of this and that he was preventing more violence? And I don't know if you've seen the video. You don't you don't know.
I mean, I don't know now, but what was his business anyway?
I mean, you've got police whose job it is to protect businesses, not some 17 year old kid from across state lines armed with a gun that he should not have. I mean, it doesn't make sense. But what is worrying is the message here.
I mean, you can see and I could not have believed this would happen even at the height of the civil rights movement and even the Black Panthers and all the rest of it, you couldn't see that people would have such a disregard for the norms of law and order.
You know, that that protest should always be policed and controlled. Of course, that is true. But that you have people in the public forum defending the indefensible.
What has America become defending the indefensible? The thing I find most worrying is the militias that have popped up. And then Rittenhouse thought he was part of a militia in which citizens heavily armed have decided to take the law into their own hands.
They were patrolling.
They say they were protecting the property in Kenosha, you know, against rioting and looting and what have you.
But the fact that the police were cooperating with them is scary and the fact that that an armed militia was patrolling the streets of an American city.
Now, again, as I'm talking about the despair you see in our sports world, you know, the athletes and the games have either been postponed or boycotted that are going on the NBA playoffs. There was a baseball game in New York. The players took the field, had a moment of silence, and then immediately walked off the field and the and the game was canceled.
So there is there are people who are trying to trying to make the trying to solve this, I guess is the best way, the best, the best as we can.
But I mean, here you have Trump again, his reaction to the NBA stopping their playoff games was, well, the ratings are very. Now, anyway, this kind of well, everything is measured in ratings as far as as far as President Trump goes, that's the thing. He'll brag about his coronavirus briefings. His ratings were bigger than X, his ratings.
When he does his his rallies or when he was able to do his rallies were bigger than X. So it's measured. His measure of success to a large degree is the ratings and the number of tweets are retweeted.
It is extraordinary just watching the American story unfold, whether this will be, you know, four or eight years of the most bizarre presidency that we have observed in the United States. And that includes Nixon and all the rest of it. You know, Melania the other night making her address in the background, you know, it was almost something out of a movie. Absolutely incredible.
Anyway, entry of so many other problems, the hurricane Laura that struck. And at last I read, there were a number of fatalities after the the first kid was was killed. What's the cleanup like?
Well, this storm in one way and maybe this shows you the way 20/20 is turning out for us, is that, yes, this is one of the strongest storms to hit the United States ever. It has devastated many small towns, including Lake Charles, Louisiana. But the fact that a town could pretty much be wiped out, but there are limited deaths. People are looking at that as a victory. But again, one of the things to give hope is that the rest of the country is rallying around today.
The Red Cross is mobilizing. Several of the other organizations are mobilizing. People are starting to collect goods and food and clothing and supplies to send down to the people of Louisiana and coastal Texas who are who have been affected by this. But, yes, that it's a big problem, too.
And if it wasn't for everything else that was going on, this would have been the story of the week.
That and burgeoning cases of covid-19 on college campuses with the total death toll as significantly above 180000 anyway. Terry, you have your problems. Managing editor of OSHA Public Radio, Terry Sheridan. Ed, thank you very much for joining us.