Last night I was spellbound while watching a live Facebook feed of Monday's Black Lives Matter protest in downtown Portland, which also is a protest against the federal agents Trump has sent to supposedly protect the federal courthouse, but really is a desperate attempt to boost his fading reelection chances.
I also followed the excellent on-scene reporting of Eddy Binford-Ross, editor of the South Salem High School newspaper, the Clypian -- where she shares photos, Twitter tweets, and stories about the Portland protests.
The most inspiring part of the protest was another appearance by the "Wall of Moms," mostly yellow-clad mothers who had come out to provide a much-needed female emphasis to the protests that have been happening daily, or almost daily, since late May.
There's something deeply moving about thousands of people peacefully marching along, being led by mothers linking arms in protest against injustice.
But later in the evening, I was hugely irritated by male protesters, better termed anarchists, who Binford-Ross documented tearing down plywood that covered the windows and doors of the federal courthouse, then using what looked like baseball bats to break the glass.
Dudes, what's the fucking point of doing that?!
It's exactly what Trump wants, to be able to point to protestors/anarchists doing damage to a federal building so he can justify not only keeping federal agents in Portland, but also sending them to other large cities run by Democratic mayors. You're doing Trump's bidding, which is at odds with what the Black Lives Matter movement needs.
The fence in front of the federal courthouse had been removed. At previous protests, fencing had been taken down by protesters and used in a futile attempt to block the areas where federal agents were watching and where they would fire munitions at protesters, then come out to disperse the crowd.
At first I thought, great, the Wall of Moms should face the courthouse in a peaceful stand against the presence of federal agents, and to prevent the anarchists from doing damage to the courthouse that would provoke the agents to use tear gas, flash bangs, and pepper spray against the protesters.
But that didn't happen, maybe because moms have to go home at a halfway reasonable hour to do their mother duties while violent anarchists are free to do their stupid stuff whenever they feel like it.
On the nightly news in Portland I've seen Black leaders pleading to protesters to stop damaging property in downtown Portland because this isn't helping the Black Lives Matter cause. However, I deeply doubt that the anarchists are going to accept the request to engage in dialogue with those leaders.
So that means the protesters themselves, and the Wall of Moms in particular, have to stop the anarchists from doing their destructive thing.
Look: I'm deeply progressive and highly supportive of the protests. But it is absolutely wrong to destroy property, federal, state, or private. The federal agents are using excessive force, for sure. Yet they are justified in acting to stop the anarchists from damaging the courthouse.
Hopefully tonight's protest, if there is one, will feature a larger Wall of Moms and zero anarchists. Or at least no destructive behavior from the anarchists.
Oh, almost forgot to mention another super-irritating thing the anarchists did last night, light a fire at the base of a tree in front of the federal courthouse. It's now charred and might not survive.
Here's some screenshots of Eddy Binford-Ross's tremendous reporting on Twitter via the Clypian account. These are from the end of the protest. Most of the protest was entirely peaceful until the people I'm calling anarchists started destroying property.
I realize some would prefer to simply call them protesters, but there's a long history of "anarchists" in Portland, so I think that word is justified. Heck, there's a Portland Anarchist General Assembly Facebook page (albeit no longer active) and an Anarchist Student Union page with the most recent post being:"We are non-violent with people who are non-violent with us. But we are NOT nonviolent with anyone who is violent with us." - Malcolm X