A missed opportunity
My college years were more educational than they seemed at the time. I learned a lot about life during five years of undergrad.
One thing I learned was about bar fights. You never step in to break up a bar fight. The guys who are fighting will both turn on you, and beat the crap out of you.
We talked about this phenomenon in grander terms in history and political science classes, too. Even natural enemies will band together when an external threat appears. People who were previously hostile to each other will team up to fight the common enemy.
That lesson has not played out this summer in Portland. The original bar fight, which had been going on for many weeks and was a replay of several punch-fests of the past, was between the local police and the city's "political dissidents" (for lack of a better term). The federal Homeland Security geniuses actually stepped into the middle of that bar fight. Given the situation, the Portland cops and the protesters could have joined together against their common enemy. But they didn't. Now the local police look like they're in the middle, between a highly re-energized protester group and the Trump occupying army, with whom the protesters are duking it out.
It was a real blown opportunity for the Portland bureau. The police chief and the police union could have stood up right away and said, "This isn't helping us. Please go home." The chief and the union could have put on a show during the protests, distancing themselves from the scared, incompetent, dangerous boys from the border patrol.
But they didn't. The Portland cops saw other men in uniform wearing badges and carrying sub-machine guns. And they did what cops always do: They stood up for the other guys in uniform rather than for the public.
Oh, the mayor made a speech. The Black city commissioner made a speech. The governor made a speech. The Congresspeople tweeted and wrote stern letters. But it was too late. The local cops and the feds were obviously working together from the minute the feds arrived, and the protesters saw it. The "acting" Cabinet secretary for the federal security types came to town and met with the police union and assorted cops. The politicians were essentially told to go to hell.
And so the chance to bring the Portland police and the dissidents together, defending their city together against the common external threat from Trumpism, was wasted. The beat goes on, as do the beatings.