Quiet Riot!

What is more American than protest? Apple pie? Baseball? Monopolizing in the business world so you can crush the little guy? Who knows? From the very beginning of this nation of ours, we have been protesting, crying out against the status quo to make our voices heard.

Some of the more active protests since the 1960’s civil rights movement have happened recently beginning roughly around the election of the 45th President of the United States Donald J Trump. As the average American knows, Donald Trump has had a pretty colorful history. Orange being the predominant color.

ripe orange with leaves on white background

courtesy of reddit

All kidding aside, during his campaign, many of the skeletons in his closet have come out.

“They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists” he said once about Mexican immigrants. “Now the poor guy, you ought to see this guy. ‘Ah, I don’t know what I said! I don’t remember!’” he said as he mocked a disabled reporter during a rally. Some of the most shocking was when he made some remarks of some sexual harassment he had participated in.

As you could imagine, someone who talked like this and acted like this wouldn’t be considered for a respectable position by the masses. His election into the presidency really was one of the biggest upsets in political history. This led to much protest.

Starting on November 8th 2016, the voice of Portland started protesting against Trump. The protests were virtually nonstop for nearly a week. Many millennials had walked out of class to congregate in places like City Hall to hold signs and to do chants expressing that Trump is “Not my President”!

These protests were fine. If anything, they were a beautiful statement of our inalienable right of speech and expression. This was, until the riots broke out. Between November 10th and 12th was when the riots took place. What was peaceful protest suddenly was super expensive property damage. Anarchists, some proclaimed and some not came downtown and started breaking in windows of local businesses, throwing cinderblocks through cars and other illegal activity. When it began, people feared that Donald Trump would destroy the United States, but that simply just turned into the people of Portland doing it for him.

The demonstrations continued on even in January. At this point, they were just blocking traffic and not doing much else. In one video, some demonstrators could be seen hanging off of the front of a Trimet bus preventing the driver from going anywhere. What sort of message could they be trying to convey here? Do they think making a few people late for work or preventing a few people from getting back home to their families would teach a lesson to the President? I think not. It just gives the whole protest idea a bad name and paints all demonstrators as not advocates of justice but as menaces to the peace. I have heard “If someone tries to stand in front of me and block my car, I am driving through them!” This is an understandable sentiment because in a company, if you want to get the CEO’s attention, would you give the low guys on the totem pole hell? I think not, if you give them hell, you better be ready for it to come back to you.

Over the past few months, we have seen the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to demonstrations of protest. We have seen them storming the streets of Portland, surrounding City Hall, and even blocking the transit of some of our locals and tourists in the PDX airport. The last mentioned thing here was in response to the ban that the Trump administration put on travel between some predominantly Muslim nations and our own.

In my personal opinion, protest has become a bit of a moot point. If you fight fire with fire, you will get burned. And the only way to truly make a point and take a stand is through passionate words fueled with love. The pen is mightier than the sword. If you want to make a strong, lasting point, you need to get out a pen and a notebook and get down to writing about it. People will forget about that one time they were blocked in traffic, but they won’t soon forget when all of their sins against humanity are illustrated and published for all to see.

featured image courtesy of DailyMail

Loren Riddle

WR 122-18


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