I won't be headed downtown tomorrow. I hope a lot of people also stay home. There are two sides out there looking for a fight and I wish people would stop giving it to them.
There is a rally called the "Trump Free Speech Rally" that will be held in one of our downtown parks. Which isn't a big deal. The problem is that it's not a free speech rally. It's a facade for a fight. The Alt-Knights, The Proud Boys, The Based Stickman and his ilk are all going to be there itching for a fight. And the ANTIFA assholes are ready and willing to give it to them.
All of this comes on the heels of two people being murdered and one seriously injured last week while standing up to shield two young women from being harassed by a "patriot" on the MAX train. I used that word on purpose, just like I put it in quotes on purpose. More and more lately when you see a run of the mill Joe off the street who calls himself a "patriot" what he really means is nationalist and then you can can take a not insignificant portion of those and just go ahead and add white to his nationalist. And those are the people who are converging on the park tomorrow for their "Free Speech" rally. See, they wrap their hatred and white supremacist and sexist views in the cloak of free speech and how they are fighting for the Right.
And it is free speech. It's all protected. As long as it isn't an actually call to violence it's legal. It's not right, or I guess it is Alt-Right, but it's not correct. It shouldn't be okay. It's not what we should be celebrating. But it's protected speech.
Which brings us then to ANTIFA. They might as well have a cheesy 80s movie announcer guy everywhere they go..."Because sometimes to defeat a fascist....you have to BECOME a fascist." Though they are more anarchist in nature. They don't want rules, man...they just want to burn shit. They are wrapping themselves in the mantel of "protecting the vulnerable" and using that to pick fights with the Right.
Neither side is helping. They are both lending themselves to the divide. But if it bleeds it leads so it will be all over the news. And the left will point to the assholes on the right and say SEE HOW THEY ARE?? And the right will point to the assholes on the left and say SEE HOW THEY ARE?? And the world will keep spinning. Crooked, wobbly, not really stable feeling, but spinning.
I lean left. There is no secret there. I have leaned left for most of my life. And I hate ANTIFA. Cannot stand them. Call them out all the time. Point out how they distract from messages that actually need to get out. Drown out stories that actually need to be told. Make people on the Right feel like their own hate monger groups are actually justified.
Which is what happens. We take sides and start to make it "okay" if the people who identify like us do it. The Alt-Knights went down to Berkeley and Based Stickman bashed protesters with his bat because they had left him no choice, don't you know. When you bring up his record, when you talk about how most of these guys have been in jail, you get told that doesn't matter. Really? Like when an unarmed black man is killed for selling loose cigarettes how his record didn't matter? Or is that different?
See? We take sides.
Jesse Jackson was in town yesterday. I have a lot of conservative friends who roll their eyes at that. Call him a race baiter. How dare he show up to stir the pot! Well...how about how dare a white supremacist shout racial slurs and kill people? How about that pot has already been stirred. How about the fact that we had video of this guy because he was at the last "Free Speech" rally this group put together. He was the one wrapped in the flag giving the Nazi salute. And sure, they want to disavow him, he voted for Bernie for goodness sake, he's not one of ours! Well, he wasn't out there yelling about free college, so yeah, he's one of yours. You gave him something to hate. You gave him something to focus on. Oh, and while you are distancing yourself from the murderer at your rally, want to know what that old race baiter Jackson said? He said, "Stay home. Don't give them a fight." What a jerk right?
Colin Kaepernick kneels during the anthem to call attention to a race problem in our country and he is BLASTED, there isn't a race problem! It's only people on the left who keep using that as an excuse! LeBron James gets a racial slur painted on his house and you are SHOCKED that something like this could happen. Really? How? There were two nooses found in the Smithsonian Museum of African American History in the past few weeks. Are you shocked there too? How about the white supremacist that ran over the kid in Gresham last year? Did that one shock you? The people protesting to keep the Confederate statues? Is that shocking to you as well? How often are you going to be shocked?
Talking about a problem doesn't make you the problem. Racism in our country is not a case of he who smelt it dealt it. We've just all gotten used to the stink is the problem.
Why do you think there is a large and vocal group on the Right who always want to talk about how the demographics are changing and how this is a problem? If we didn't have a race problem, if we didn't treat minorities differently than we do the white majority why are you concerned that you will be the minority in 30 years? If we really did treat all men equally then it wouldn't matter, right? But it does matter. They are afraid of it. They do think maybe there is something that needs to happen to prevent it. Why? Because they know if they are treated the way they treat minorities right now their lives wouldn't be better.
Portland is a very liberal city. In a state with an incredibly deep and pervasive racist history. A lot of people are just learning about it now. This latest hate crime brought out the stories. The history and the present. It's very white up here. Where I live is becoming more and mover diverse but it's Indian and Chinese diversity. Diverse, but different. Downtown? Really white. Vancouver? Really white. It doesn't matter is what I get told a lot. If you are noticing you are the racist. Well, if you aren't noticing why? Why is it totally normal to you that everyone looks the same? That's weird for a melting pot country, don't you think? Color blind is a stupid concept. It just means blind most of the time. You have to be able to see the differences to understand how people are treated differently.
Flags are flying at half staff all weekend in honor of the men that died last Friday. Their funerals are being held this weekend. Mourn them. Celebrate them. The Republican Veteran and the Liberal Hippy Kid. Look to them for inspiration.
But stay away from the "Rally" and the "Protest." Let those assholes march by themselves. Don't give them the fight they so desperately want. Don't.
And for fuck's sake, start calling it out on both sides. Stop justifying it from one or the other. Wrong is wrong. Call it out. Stop it in it's tracks.
It shouldn't be this fucking hard.