A kick in the pants to anyone planning violence or espousing hatred at this weekend’s rally in Portland.
Already, talk about the upcoming rally in Portland that will showcase right-wing supporters and counter-protestors on the left has reached the fever point. The rally, which is dubbed “End Domestic Terrorism” and is spearheaded by a right-wing group, is one of those peculiar events that narrowly defines one of our Republic’s greatest rights — to assemble. The right is so crucial that the Founding Fathers placed it in the very First Amendment to the Constitution.
What often gets missed, however, is key words in the First Amendment. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment to religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people to peaceably assemble.”
The two key words are “peaceably assemble.” And often rallies, such as the one in Portland planned for this weekend, turn into slugfests that leave behind more than just hurt feelings. We have the right to assemble, to rally and protest. We don’t have the right to rally, and then begin beating up people who we don’t agree with.
Portland leaders are planning a major law enforcement presence on the heels of similar rallies in June and last summer that turned violent, and the recent hate-driven shooting in El Paso, Texas. None of the city’s nearly 1,000 police officers will have the day off, and Portland will get help from the Oregon State Police and the FBI. Mayor Ted Wheeler has said he may ask Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, to call up the Oregon National Guard.
Hopefully the rally this weekend will be a peaceful affair. If it isn’t then law enforcement personnel are perfectly within their right — and our rights — to shut it down and make arrests.
A tip of the hat to George Gritz who saved his friend, Richard Vern, recently. Gritz administered CPR when Vern collapsed outside a Hermiston restaurant, essentially saving his life. Gritz didn’t hesitate and stepped up to help. That kind of devotion — and courage — deserves praise. If there is a key to this story it is a simple one — if you do not know how to do CPR yet, please find out how.
A kick in the pants to advocates who want to rush to remove dams along the Snake River. Late last month, a forum, sponsored by the Washington State Democrats Ag and Rural Caucus in Spokane, reviewed the possible impact of the removal of four dams in the region and what impact that might have on the power grid.
While a state away, the forum and the larger issue of dams is one that Oregon knows all too well. The final determination at the caucus was that more work needs to be done to discover the cost and the impact of such a removal of dams. Whether dam removal anywhere is the right move is a debatable question and certainly one that can’t be rushed. Especially for residents of the Northwest — who enjoy some of the cheapest power, much of it hydro — the question is one that can’t be dismissed easily.