Dear Mr. VP,
Now that the existence of the 11-page memo calling for the use of the National Guard to mobilize and root out undocumented people has been confirmed, I have to say something to you about it.
Somewhere in a Facebook comment I saw a person arguing that the National Guard isn’t to be used against people living domestically. Well, let’s unpack that idealistic viewpoint.
First, the reason we have the modern National Guard is the Great Railroad Strike of 1877. The strike spread to cities across the country and local militias proved inefficient as they were either totally disorganized or actually joined the strikers. The government needed a strike-breaking force that wouldn’t side with strikers, and post-1877 National Guard armories popped up across the country.
And since then?
- The National Guard was used to enforce segregation in Arkansas.
- The Guard was called into Berkeley to quell protests against UC-Berkeley over People’s Park.
- Kent State, where the Guard killed student protesters.
- The North Dakota Guard, being used against DAPL protesters.
So while it’s nice to think the government won’t use troops against its own people, that’s not the precedent.