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Editor, Casa Grande Dispatch:

Since Jefferson first penned the words “created equal,” we have struggled with the concept of equality — racial, social, economic and constitutional equality — in this country. It seems to me even in the best of times our country takes only incremental steps down that long and difficult path. And, sometimes, that aspiring road toward human equality feels more like the road not taken. This week, thanks to Donald Trump, America took two giant goose steps down that road rarely taken — but in the wrong direction, as we’ve come to expect. We all saw it on CNN and MSNBC and Fox.

This time, had Trump’s delusional posturing not been so consequential, he would remain as usual an object of national scorn and ridicule — a gross caricature of some self-absorbed 18th century monarch, a Mel Brooks parody of Louis XVI, perhaps. “I love my people. Pull!”

Instead of human catapults, this week we saw peaceful protesters in Lafayette Park and national police using helicopters, tear gas and rubber bullets — plus Trump’s own bizarre threat of “ominous weapons” and “vicious dogs” — put a disgraceful end to that peaceful (and constitutionally protected) demonstration. Oh my, oh my, oh my, what transgressions did these demonstrators commit to bring such royal wrath down upon their heads? Lest we forget, those folks were protesting yet another police murder of an unarmed black man. They were protesting the institutional racism we have long ignored in this country. They were protesting the racial, social and economic inequalities that tear this country apart.

Frankly, who blames them? And, frankly, what a missed opportunity, a Churchill moment, to take an incremental step down that long and difficult path toward national unity.

Yet — as any deposed monarch will tell you — when the opposition grows exponentially, the king soon runs out of royal hounds.

Bill Alewyn