I remember the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry — when we lived in Eugene, we often (but not as often as we’d like, it was a long drive) trekked up to Portland with the kids to enjoy it. It was a safe place, a hands-on museum with lots of children’s activities. I wonder how it’s changed in the past 30-some years.
It’s still supposed to be a safe place. In the recent demonstrations with fascists, the Portland police actually recommended that it was a good spot to visit that weekend, that it would be free of protests and Proud Boys. They lied. They actually led the Nazis right past the museum in order to clear them from downtown.
I was with my son, my daughter-in-law, and two little boys under five years old. We did not want my grandchildren anywhere near fascists. The Portland police bureau had published a map promising that OMSI, across the river from the planned site of the rally, would be safe. Alas, as police defused the main rally, some of the fascists found their way across the river and marched past the museum.
While the kids played in the beautiful Science Playground, the public-address system announced that the museum was in “lockup”; no one could enter or leave until further notice. We could not see the street; none of the staff knew what was going on; no one could tell us how long the lockup would last; no one knew whether the marchers might assemble in front of the museum, making escape impossible.
An actual lockdown, in contradiction to what the police had earlier recommended. Wow. They really don’t care, do they?
It’s not just Proud Boys, either. The Republican Party is merging with fascism.
Although no major political figure has embraced antifa activism, the Republican Party has begun to embrace the Proud Boys. Last fall, the Metropolitan Republican Club invited a Proud Boys leader to speak at a club event. (After the event, two Proud Boys beat four protesters so badly that a jury on Monday convicted two of them on charges of assault and riot.) The Republican activist Roger Stone has said he was initiated as a Proud Boy, and Proud Boys appeared at a federal courthouse when he turned himself in on charges brought by former Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Stone and the Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson posed in the Fox greenroom with two Proud Boys accompanying Stone.
This summer, Republican Senators Ted Cruz and Bill Cassidy are sponsoring a resolution that would designate antifa as a “domestic terrorist group.” No mention of the Proud Boys or any of the other neofascist groups who feel empowered by the ascent of Trump.
I guess we’ll need to go into lockdown any time a Republican passes by.