By Monty Herron
Well, post-election, after Super Tuesday, and it’s a brave, new, orange, racist, bigoted, and homophobic world. On day four of Portland’s protests, I decided to embed myself as a human rights observer, and lend my voice and body to the message that we will not quietly allow this next administration to undo forty years of hard-won gains in civil rights, and cessation of wars.
So to recap my experience: No one is being paid to protest. People are exercising their RIGHT to free speech, and their right to assembly as well. Now be careful when answering these next questions, you may find yourself feeling a little uncomfortable, or heaven forbid; admitting you enjoy the privilege or are out of touch with those who have to fight for their rights.
Do a few or a small number of people invalidate an entire movement? Answer me this- do you condemn all Christians for the behavior of the Westboro Baptist Church? Do you vilify all Muslims because of the few who adhere to sharia law? If your answer is no, then stop citing the few who damage property as your reason to vilify protesters. And that’s saying something. Because I PERSONALLY took protesters to task last night for kicking someone’s truck and pulling a traffic camera down. My reward? Three intellectually challenged young men threatened me and surrounded me. I dealt with it. I don’t blame the whole crowd for it. Other people were unhappy about it, and directing traffic around the intersections. My videos on social media PROVE this.
Next up: Wah Wah Wah, these people are inconveniencing me, they aren’t accomplishing anything… That’s what they said about the Vietnam War, that’s what they said about civil rights in the sixties, that’s what they said about the Iraqi war, that’s what they said about marriage equality, shall I go on? In EACH of these cases, when public opinion swayed enough, a new direction in our social policies was achieved, or a war ended. But if it makes you feel better to gripe like Archie Bunker, or some other grumpy old person, who am I to judge, knock yourself out.
Ok, my next to last point: If you weren’t there to see it, don’t swallow whatever the media is trying to spoon feed you. Don’t contribute to, or repeat narratives if you don’t know what you’re talking about. You say you saw a video on the local news? Hmm, I don’t doubt that, but it was about 15 seconds of video, from a protest that spanned 8 hours, thereabouts. Oh yes, what a clear picture about the WHOLE thing you must have. If you care enough to talk about it, care enough to go and witness or observe for yourself.
Okay, I swear, this WILL be my last point- MANY of you have rallied, shared posts, donated, and supported the movement at Standing Rock, but now when it’s an issue in our front yard this is how you act? Y’all can be some fickle, fishy, weak-sauce mother truckers.
I love you Portlanders, regardless of your stance on this, but please, don’t expect me or others to change our ways. I enjoy the heavy-lifting of advancing society and spreading more equity and love in the world, and there’s plenty of work to do, so lend a hand, or get out of the way.