Portland, Oregon, was once known as the quintessentially nice Northwestern city. Its nickname, “The Rose City,” was given to it by a Baptist group that held a convention there over a century ago. Sadly, today, riot-riven Portland smells like anything but roses.
The city has been the locus of nonstop violent protests for 51 days and counting. And really, calling them protests is incorrect: They are acts of outright rebellion, with many participants openly calling for the dismantling of the United States.
The Daily Caller described the mayhem and posted videos of it, which included the attempted torching of the Police Association building:
Portland has seen over 50 days of protests and rioting, and Saturday proved to be no different. Daily Caller reporters were at the scene where rioters squared off with officers after tearing down fencing and using it to barricade the federal courthouse. …
Outside of the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse, hundreds gathered and immediately began removing fencing surrounding the park and courthouse that had been erected by officers. Some rioters barricaded the building and began to taunt officers by banging on the walls and yelling for them to come outside.
While all this was going on, more “largely peaceful” protesters broke into the police union’s building and tried to burn it down. That’s called arson, and it’s a felony.
Who’s behind all this? Antifa and Black Lives Matter, of course. But they aren’t the only ones. There are lots of other leftists of various affiliations agitating the crowds.
One in particular who’s come to our attention is a so-called organizer of the violent protests. She describes herself in a viral Twitter video: “My name is Lilith Sinclair, I’m an Afro-Indigenous non-binary local organizer here in Portland, organizing for the abolition of not just the militarized police state but also the United States as we know it.”
Just so you know, “abolition” in this context means “violent overthrow.”
Alrighty, then! So much for these being “peaceful demonstrations” about “social justice,” as the media keep telling us ad nauseam. By the way, Sinclair and her cohorts call Portland “stolen land,” and thus feel anything they do is justified. For extremists, ends, however mistaken or evil, always justify the means.
The fevered rhetoric by the left predictably has engendered violence, which has been met with an equally predictable response by the federal government to protect its property, buildings and, most of all, employees.
Far-left activists across the nation decried “storm troopers” and lied about “unidentified” federal troops that whisked away demonstrators in unmarked vans to unknown fates. The truth: Photos clearly show “Police,” “Homeland Security” and other identifying marks on their clothing
Let us add as a note to Portland’s Antifa, BLM and their Wokester supporters: Yes, when you break the law, you get arrested.
Not surprisingly, after the federal government did its job, the American Civil Liberties Union stepped in on the side of the rioters and sued the government to keep it from further enforcing the law. This has nothing to do with First Amendment free speech rights, as the ACLU claims. It’s about violent lawbreaking, assaults on citizens and police, and wanton destruction of property. All against the law. ACLU supports it.
This is part of a pattern of how the left works: Destroy the rule of law, the backbone of our free republic. Intimidate ordinary citizens into silence. Then support and elevate rule by power of unelected street thugs in Antifa and BLM. The meek may inherit the earth, but they won’t get the big cities.
None of what we’re seeing should be viewed as a surprise or some sort of accident. Far from it. The city’s mayor, Ted Wheeler, and Portland’s far-left city council, have not only permitted the violence, but enabled and encouraged it – just as mayors in Seattle, Chicago, New York, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles have done.
You might think Wheeler & Co. would be grateful for U.S. troops restoring some semblance of order in the out-of-control city. Nope. Instead a few days ago the mayor told federal officials “Keep your troops in your own buildings, or have them leave our city.”
An invitation to more riots, in short.
That’s why federal police had to step in to restore order. Radical politicians refused to do their duty.
We’re seeing similar negligence from the now-openly socialist Democratic Party. Led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrats have expressed their “alarm” at President Donald Trump daring to enforce the nation’s laws. Americans should think long and hard before they mark their ballots in November.
As for Portland, lawlessness will take its toll on business and the local economy, as it inevitably does.
The city, already hit by a wave of pandemic shutdowns, will soon face closures due to riots and unrest. They’re already happening. The anger among some business owners is palpable.
“I don’t think the majority of social-justice warriors are truly concerned with justice,” said Nick Zukin, who just closed the doors of his Portland restaurant, Mi Mero Mole. “I think they enjoy causing people pain and ‘social justice’ gives them an excuse.”
So far, departures from Portland remain largely anecdotal, with little hard evidence – yet. But as has happened before elsewhere, you can expect a flood of business-closings and relocations in coming months and years.
As a piece in Oregonlive.com noted, more than a month into the chaos, businesses remain “furious, not only at the people who broke into their stores but also at the police for failing to intervene.”
In June, the Portland Tribune reported $30 million in business losses due to rioting and looting, based on a local Chamber of Commerce survey. That includes a bill of more than $6 million in overtime during the riots for local cops.
Meanwhile, from March to late June, Portland accounted for roughly half of all Oregon’s jobless claims, despite being just 15% of the state’s population. Things will only get worse as businesses flee.
This is how cities die. By electing ideologues who don’t care about enforcing the law, who show contempt for average taxpayers, and who impose leftist policies on the local community that damage the economy. Businesses and residents have been leaving Los Angeles and San Francisco, and now they’re walking away from Seattle.
Portland may be next. It’s already losing population, as a recent Wall Street Journal piece notes: “In just three months it has become clear that modern urban progressivism is politically incompetent and intellectually incoherent.”
Of course, it’s never too late to change course. But that’s never been the far left’s strong suit, has it?
— Written by the I&I Editorial Board