Political Polarization and Safety in Portland

Last week’s murders have all of us thinking about the rising political polarization in this country and this city.  The tragic deaths of the heroes who stepped forward to protect vulnerable women from abuse anger us all.   Many people feel less and less safe as political tensions rise.

I don't know what those women experienced on that MAX train, but I know that Multnomah Republican Party members have experienced physical and verbal attacks merely for sitting at booths under the Party banner at street fairs in Portland.  A lunatic on Facebook threatened to stab our members to death for daring to march in the Avenue of Roses Parade; Parade organizers told the newspaper they couldn’t get assurances of police protection, and cancelled the Parade.

 No blood was shed in those cases, but Multnomah County Republicans don’t feel safe in public, and we are trying to figure out how to respond.  More and more citizens are stepping forward to assume the role of sheepdogs as the population of wolves rises.  I have been criticized for daring to think about reaching out to groups like Oregon III%, which calls itself “a family of patriots that would welcome all Liberty loving Americans, regardless of race, gender, creed, age, or social standing,”  for volunteers to provide security for our members.  That may or may not be an answer for us.

I don’t know what the answer is, but I know what it is not.  It is not Portland’s Mayor calling upon the federal government to cancel the event permits for a free speech rally or march against Sharia that may attract violent opposition, and declaring, in substance, that only Left wing events may proceed with City permission.  The problem is violence, not speech.  The failure to distinguish between those who are instigating violence, and those who are attempting to defend themselves, is moral blindness.  Any cop on the beat can tell the difference, but Portland has few police for a City of its size, preferring to spend the money on nonessential services. 

Our members who believe, as our Declaration of Independence proclaims, that they are “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights . . . [and] that to secure these rights, Governments are instituted,” are not racists, white supremacists, and Nazis.  Defending our Constitution is not defending white privilege.  Multnomah County Republicans are not going to associate with racists, white supremacists, and Nazis, and it angers us to be blamed for the murderous actions of a lunatic who may fit this description.   And neither are we going to retreat from the public square because of threats of violence and namecalling. 

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