The current protests in Portland, which begin on or about May 28th, were in response to the death of George Floyd. As noted in this post, these protests were effectively ceased on July 8th-11th. The Federal task force PACT was formed the day it was penned into existence on July 1st and immediately began acting under that declaration, following Trump’s EO written on 6/26. On July 11th and 12th The federal government most aggressively deployed what they would describe as law enforcement officers, and the citizens of Portland would describe, by employment of their own senses, as an invading army. An unknown, unmarked, invading army operating by unknown principles and unstated rules of engagement.
It is offered by the federal government that these forces are protecting federal property; federal property that was *not* in any danger -or under attack -or under any scrutiny by the citizens of Portland. The citizens of Portland could not have cared less about the US District Courthouse. Had protestors vandalized it with graffiti? Yes they did, because of its proximity to what had been the focus of their ire, the Multnomah County Justice Center, next to the courthouse. I don’t offer this as justification for the graffiti, merely the reason why it was opportunistically selected. There was no particular malice aimed at the courthouse. The US District Courthouse of Portland was, outside of the occasional tagging, entirely ignored by those protesting in Portland, again, as noted and clearly supported in this post.
If “protecting the federal property of Portland”, was the goal of the federal forces in Portland, it is evident they are doing a shitty job, as it is a damn sight worse than its condition before they arrived.
If you have any lingering doubts whether the above statements concerning the Federal Courthouse are true, I suggest you watch the video of the entire night of protest on July 8th. There are very few people, it is super mellow, and no one gives a damn about the Courthouse.
From the outset, DHS’s ‘Protecting American Communities Task Force’ (PACT), aggressively interacted with the citizenry of Portland, setting the tone for the following days. As I suggested in my previous post on How Trump’s Stormtroopers Created Violent Protest in Portland, a timeline in pictures, it was ultimately the federal forces desire to draw attention to that object that they supposedly sought to protect, the Federal Courthouse. It is from the federal property of the courthouse, that PACT are less likely to face legal difficulties for their actions. Something that was evident the day before they arrived, continued to be evident on the 12th when they led protestors to the courthouse, and remains evident to this day.
Now, the state of affairs at the courthouse, is a predictable sequence every night since the 12th. Protestors gather, over a course of hours they become increasingly agitated and begin shooting fireworks, setting small fires, and attempting to knock over the fence(when erected). Somewhere between 12 midnight and 1am local time, the federal forces repel the protestors several blocks back from the courthouse, taking increasing care not to accelerate the repulsion into something legally troubling, and then return to the courthouse as the protestors disperse and generally call it a night.
And here we are.
There is nothing that will happen in this current routine, that will positively play to advance the causes of racial justice and police accountability as inspired by the death of George Floyd. The only narrative that will emerge from this setup, is that which the Trump Administration wishes to present, although not to great effect: Democratic run cities are burning hellholes of anarchy, only a “law and order” President, such as Donny Trump, can control this disaster that will engulf the nation. It is imperative that the administration continue to roll-out this pilot program to other major liberal cities in order to quell the destruction.
Do not doubt that Acting Secretary Chad Wolf, and Acting Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli, whom control these forces, are political operatives to this end. They are unconfirmed for a reason. There is no facade. They are not public servants, they are Trump campaign employees. They are desperate to control the narrative: Democrats are monsters. Protestors are anarchists and comprised of the well organized, terrorist group-Antifa.
It is unfortunate to state, but supported by the Federal Court’s ruling against Oregon (in my post here), the only way to push the ball forward, is for PACT forces to act in further documentable defiance of the constitution or commit more chargeable offenses, in order to change the legal narrative, and to an extent, the overall narrative.
In this light, both sides of the literal fence need each other. The Federal forces need the protestors to commit offenses; the protestors need the federal forces to commit offenses. Not a great formula. As it stands, the only side that will currently commit further offenses are the protestors.
What cannot be overstated, is the position of the residents and protestors of Portland. Whereas protests in May and June where primarily the social concerns previously mentioned, the current protests about the Federal property are a mixture of the social concerns and a reaction to what is seen as an invading force to their city. PACT is not wanted. No one asked for their arrival. Their deployment not only served no good, it was measurably bad and predictably so. From this angle, those protestors acting out of anger, don’t give a fuck what the national narrative is, and I don’t blame them.
The fact that PACT was rolled out as a propaganda machine for Trump’s re-election is undeniable. This is a fact. This fact becomes increasingly distant to a national narrative, each day the confrontation continues. However, it will not be forgotten by the citizens of Portland.
It seems almost a foregone conclusion that the protestors will do more than break through the fence surrounding the Federal Courthouse. In the fence’s current, ill-advised configuration, mobs of protestors may very well jump over that fence, with the help of the cement barriers on both sides, and begin the ultimate act that will solidify a consensus national narrative.
I don’t know which narrative that will be.
If the protestors cared to form a national narrative, I would suggest returning to the park next to the courthouse, where they previously gathered, waved signs, and chanted to good effect; including new chants voicing their disapproval of the PACT forces. The other obvious adjustment, would be the opposite of that, and I’m not going to type those words.