I walk the line

As readers of the first month of the new version of this blog have seen, I'm of two minds when it comes to the daily and nightly protests here in Portlandia. One day I'm with the kids, the next day I'm with the government.

Peaceful demonstrations, I'm all for them. Picketing the police union office, yes yes yes. Trashing every statue in sight, no. Breaking stuff, spray painting, throwing rocks at cops, no. Tear gas, rubber bullets, mace, riot gear as the default uniform, deploying cops from unidentified other jurisdictions, hell no.

The writer Andrew Sullivan has a thoughtful piece up now. It may be a little to the right of were I find myself, but not far:
There has been much good done by the demonstrations forcing us all to understand better how our fellow citizens are mistreated by the agents of the state or worn down by the residue of past and present inequality. But the zeal and certainty of its more revolutionary features threaten to undo a great deal of that goodwill. 
As we used to say in the heyday of blogging, read the whole thing, here.


  1. Out here in The Numbers, where I live, things have been mostly quiet. My particular neighborhood is mostly first-generation Asian who keep to themselves. Driving the One Twenty-Deuce, it's business as usual from Foster to Airport Way. A few dispensaries have closed, as have a few pill mills. But mostly, it's quiet.

    I stick to the freeways when I venture to the Willamette side of 92nd. Traffic is starting to pick up some, which is a good sign, I suppose. But as one gets to downtown, I don't tend to see much as I loop down I-5 to catch the 405 and head out to Beaverton.

    I made the drive out to Sauvie Island today. Turns out the freeway action is to the north on I-5. I saw a Prius with BLM spray painted on the side. Tough to know whether it was intentional. But the more I drove, the more signs and flags I saw. Again, out here, we got nothing. Drive out Highway 30, and it was thick. On Sauvie Island itself, the sentiment was everywhere. I need to sit with my thoughts a little on this one before I comment much more. I'll just note I only saw white people on the island today.

    I keep thinking back to that foofraw last year over the bike lane the kids tried to drive through Northeast 7th. Ron Herndon, a name I haven't heard since middle school, stopped it and then went back inside to do whatever Ron Herndon does. His name has popped up a few times in the last few weeks. The man has certainly put in the work in this town. His and Hardesty's voices are the ones I'm turning to right now. And, of course, Lew Frederick. All three keep getting shouted down by the white wokerati. Until we figure that out, I'm afraid not much will change here.

    One final thought: we seem to go through this with the kids every ten years or so. A bunch of twenty to thirty year olds break out the skateboards and smash stuff up. It's a new generation of them each time. Eventually they age out and a new group comes in to take their place. What is it about this town and that age-group? How do we stop the cycle with the next cohort? Solve this, and we might get somewhere.

  2. I've been doing this, too, Jack. Going down the list and pondering whether I'm for it or against. There is an element of the Jacobins of the French Revolution - if you stare at something long enough you can always find a reason it isn't pure enough. For example the college students in Wisconsin who want to tear down Lincoln's statue because - although he was anti-slavery - he wasn't pro-black enough. Then there's the University of Texas fight song. The words aren't offensive but the melody was taken from a song that was sung at minstrel shows called "I've Been Working on the Railroad." That to me is an unnecessary change. On the other side of the column are the ones I'm glad to see addressed starting with the State of Mississippi flag. I'm so glad they dumped that. Next is the Washington Redskins. Jesus, how did that survive this long? The karma from that one name could be holding back the entire country. But I am not one to complain without trying to help. In a spirit of healing I've jumped in with my idea to replace the Redskins' name. How about the Washington Swamp Rats?

    1. The Eyes of Texas are upon you,
      All the livelong day.
      The Eyes of Texas are upon you,
      You cannot get away.
      Do not think you can escape them
      At night or early in the morn --
      The Eyes of Texas are upon you
      'Til Gabriel blows his horn.

      Good, harmless fun. Black students and players have been calling for it's removal for decades. Older players let the younger ones know not to be caught singing it. It means exactly what it says. It needs to go.


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