Letter to the Editor: How Biden can stop the horror

President Donald Trump characterizes himself as the law-and-order president, implying that anyone against him is a Democrat and must be against law and order.

I have always accepted that most Americans of both parties are peace-loving, though it does require effective policing. We all want law and order. The question is, what kind of law and order and how do we get there?

Should we accept President Trump’s heavy-handed, enforced version or do we want a more embracing law and order that is assuaged with underlying peace? By clarifying that he holds a different vision of law and order, Joe Biden has the opportunity to neutralize this rallying cry or even adopt it as his own, but first, he needs to own up to the underlying problem and he needs to assume a sense of national leadership to solve it.

Right now, in this country, we are on dangerous ground with the horror of erupting battles between vigilantes on the right and angry mob protesters on the left. Both sides are polarizing in an escalating spiral to the breaking point that somehow needs to be stopped. So far, Biden has condemned violence on all sides but that is a safe, middle-of-the-road gesture that is not enough.

Like the unwinding of any difficult problem, a give-and-take negotiation is called for by someone both sides trust. Playing to his own strength and certainly more than President Trump’s, Biden accepts, even embraces, the right of peaceful protest. This gives him credibility. He should go before the nation appealing to all Americans not to demonstrate or hold any public marches, no matter how peaceful, until after the election. He should own up to the fact that incidents of mob violence hurt his chances of winning the election.

In return for asking protesters to temporarily stand down, he could strike a bargain. He could promise that after he is elected, he would sanction another peaceful nationwide demonstration for Black Lives Matter. That way, this ongoing chain reaction of vigilantes calling up their militia would be broken and restoration of calm in Portland, Oregon; Kenosha, Wisconsin; and other angry cities would be restored.

T. deR. Smith
Dover