Portland moms. Getty Image.
Trump's announcement he's going full fascist invasion - think Hitler into Poland - with a surge of federal troops into U.S. cities "plagued by violent crime" wasn't unexpected, especially with the smirking Barr behind him all the way. Acting thug-in-chief Chad Wolf had hinted at extra-judicial tricks with his calls for "proactively" arresting protesters - a potential move that Robert Kennedy gently but brutally eviscerated decades ago - evidently unaware of the cognitive dissonance between telling states they're on their own fighting an out-of-control pandemic but the feds are here for them, albeit unwanted, to bring imaginary "violent perpetrators to justice." The dissonance is clear in Portland, where the arrival of troops "liberating" the city has spectacularly backfired, galvanizing protesters who were starting to tire after weeks of demonstrations but who, still and all, "don’t think people should be abducted from the streets by the president’s secret police.” At this point, the troops often appear under siege, reduced to hunkering in the graffiti-covered federal courthouse they're allegedly protecting while protesters' ranks swell. “I think they’re more scared than us," said a woman whose sign read, '100% Not A Terrorist.' "They’re hiding in there. They don’t know what they’re doing.” Over 2,000 women have joined the Wall of Moms, marching despite teargas, arms linked, in yellow t-shirts and their kids' bike helmets, carrying signs - "Good Trouble...History Has Its Eyes On You...I'm So Disappointed In You - Mom...George Floyd Called Out For His Mama...You Need A Time Out...Gramma Is Here For Black Lives Matter" - and chanting a sing-songey, "Hands up, please don't shoot me."
The moms have now been joined by a Wall of Dads - orange t-shirts - or the Dad Pod. Many bear umbrellas, hockey sticks, home-made shields, leaf-blowers slung on a shoulder - iconic suburban tools used to clean up messes, now re-tooled to fight fascism/send tear-gas back whence it came because, "The only way to stop a bad guy with tear-gas is a good guy with a leaf- blower." At #WallofDads, people note the troops seem bewildered by tear-gas lobbed back at them; despite a gazillion bucks of weaponry, none seem to have googled "Hong Kong protests," where activists used blowers and traffic cones as defensive weapons. Portland's protests offer an eerie mix of moods, from good cheer - "Wow. I did not have leafblowers, naked lady, big navy guy or angry moms on my How To Gang Up On The Gestapo Bingo Card" - to moving hymns to terrifying video of stun-guns and barricades from the press collective 45th Parallel Absurdist Brigade. But their message is clear: "It's just us normal people out here," a #WallofProtesters. With Trump's surge, the wall promises to get ever bigger. In a dramatic move reminiscent of a key moment in Vietnam War protests, #WallofVets began trending moments after Trump's announcement, with veterans promising "vets from sea to shining sea" - in white shirts. Their urgency felt palpable: "Let's get this movement going...Navy vet from Phoenix reporting in...Are we doing this?" The #WallofVets will likely start up in Albuquerque. Others - of moms, dads, vets, patriots - are underway in New York, D.C., Philly, Denver, St. Louis, Chicago, Baltimore, Michigan, North Carolina, etc. So he may yet build his wall, thousands of miles wide.
Update: In response to a lawsuit by the ACLU, a federal judge has issued a temporary restraining order barring federal goons from using force, threats and dispersal orders against journalists or legal observers documenting Portland's Constitutionally protected protests. During the hearing, Judge Michael Simon noted that “When wrongdoing is underway...the free press is the guardian of the public interest, and the judiciary is the guardian of the press.” A win for the rule of law. And a suggestion: Send money to thank the ACLU, which keeps saving us from the worst of the mob-boss-wannabe's excesses.
On the umbrella barricades. Twitter photo
Dads report in with leaf-blower, ski and bike helmets. Twitter photo
Photo by Marissa Lang/Washington Post