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Trump has put America's moral authority in danger

June 5, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 31: A man holds up his fist during a protest near the White House on May 31, 2020 in Washington, DC. Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was arrested for Floyd's death and is accused of kneeling on Floyd's neck as he pleaded with him about not being able to breathe. Floyd was pronounced dead a short while later. Chauvin and three other officers, who were involved in the arrest. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Frida Ghitis writes that America, for all its flaws, has always stood as a symbol of a torch lighting a path toward equality and freedom in the world, even as it struggled to realize its own democratic ideals. Now, the US looks like one of the last places that can speak credibly in defense of democratic rights elsewhere.

(CNN)America, for all its flaws, has always been symbolized by a torch lighting a path toward equality and freedom in the world, even as it struggled to realize its own democratic ideals.

The images of military police facing demonstrators, of park police confronting peaceful protesters by firing chemical gas into the crowds at Lafayette Park and the temporary movement of hundreds of active-duty members of the Army's 82nd Airborne Division to Washington DC this week all threaten to plunge a spear through the heart of America's democratic dignity.

Some were driven by anti-American sentiment, but the overwhelming fuel was likely anger against racism, confirming that the ideals driving the demonstrations here -- America's founding ideals of equality -- do indeed hold a universal appeal.

Many of the demonstrators chanting in other countries did so to support American protesters in defense of that founding principle.

It is uniquely poignant that this American tragedy is unfolding this week on the anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, when Chinese soldiers drove their tanks over peaceful demonstrators calling for democratic reforms.

They have earned the right to speak out, without fear of hypocrisy, in defense of democracy and freedom for people everywhere.

That's if the American people make an unequivocal statement this November, not just by defeating Trump at the polls, but by handing a decisive repudiation of his presidency, sending the message that his four years in office were an aberration, a painful detour in the country's march toward those democratic ideals that have inspired the world for more than 200 years.

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