Home/Rod Dreher/Punching Down In Portlandia

Punching Down In Portlandia

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jf008xA1x1Q&w=525&h=300]

The video above is NSFW, for language. It shows a mob of anti-Trump protesters storming into the Portland (OR) airport yesterday, and violently assaulting a pro-Trump protester standing there. The Portland Oregonian describes what happened:

Port of Portland officials say approximately 600 turned out, eclipsing the previous day’s 100 to 150 demonstrators.

The presence of a four-man counter-protest at times turned tense as demonstrators from both camps clashed. One of the counter-demonstrators was assaulted just after 5 p.m., Port of Portland spokesman Steve Johnson said.

Grant Chisholm, 39 of Portland told The Oregonian/Oregonlive that he was at the airport with three other members of the group Bible Believers for a counter-protest when a Trump opponent hit him in the head three times with something metallic. Chisholm dropped and drifted in and out of unconsciousness, he said, while vomiting as other protesters kicked him in the head.

“They almost killed me tonight,” Chisholm said.

Six hundred people vs. four — and they nearly killed the guy.

It’s building. The reader Zapollo said in a comment on a post yesterday:

I hate this. It makes me sick to think of myself turning into one of those conservatives who just mainlines Fox News all day long and never hears anything except through the right-wing media filter. (I actually muted one of my conservative friends, too, because I couldn’t stand his non-stop posting of InfoWars-type crap.) But neither am I a masochist. “A willingness to listen to other points of view” does not imply that I must subject myself to a nonstop stream of insults and outrage.

Thing is, I don’t protest. I don’t march or carry signs or post political rants on Facebook. I pretty much keep my views to myself. When I share them online, I try to stay anonymous.

But I vote. Every time, in every single election, even tiny local races. I haven’t missed an election of any kind in more than a decade.

I’m the quiet, anonymous guy who never has a political sign in his yard, never puts a bumper sticker on his car, never writes a letter to the editor and never melts down his Congressman’s phone lines. But I study the recorded votes of my legislators at all levels every single week and I show up to vote in all elections, without fail. I was originally a reluctant Trump voter, but the left’s reaction over the past week has been pushing me further into the Trump camp.

The Benedict Option couldn’t come at a better time.

Is there a single person unsure of what to think about Trump’s Executive Order, or maybe even opposed to it, who is moved towards the opposition camp by mob violence like this? Seriously, there is nothing more American and patriotic than protesting against the government’s policies. If you believe that Trump has acted unjustly, then you should make a public statement of opposition if you are so moved. More power to you.

But violence? No, no, no. When the violent right-wing mob comes for you — and it eventually will — what are you going to do?

What happens when these violent emotions enter the hallways of schools and universities? Will people identifies as Trump supporters among the student body have to worry about being beaten up? If so, the left surely doesn’t think that the right will stand for that. Do they?

Let me remind you Christian readers what another reader said in this space last week:

However, as the progressive opposition to Trump ramps up and we experience the unfolding four years as one of constant emergency and calamity, there is a real danger for Christians especially: that Christians become drawn by default into the terms of debate established by Progressives, advanced by the media, echoed by Hollywood, supported on campuses, and amplified ceaselessly on social media. Social media is going to be a the Internet Age’s equivalent of the seven deadly sins – especially sloth – and Christians would be well-advised not to be drawn into its tempting distractions. We are going to be a nation ever more defined by constant and ceaseless outrage over everything, and whatever one says – no matter if it’s meant for amusement or a passing observation – will be inexorably drawn into the outrage amplification machine.

One of the great challenges, then, will be fostering spaces where silence, moderation, contemplation, conversation, and real friendships might blossom. I can already see developing the disposition so common during the great ideological battles of the mid-20th century – if you are not with us, you are against us. Not to be drawn into this secularized Manicheanism will be one of the great challenges for Christians, and it seems to me the unexpected way that the types of Christian communities envisioned in the Benedict Option will be especially necessary. We may not face the threat that we thought might be coming under a Clinton Presidency, but in many respects at least that prospect had the benefit of making it clearer to us what was to be expected and the forms of resistance that would be needed. The current conflagration will be subtler in its iniquity – more akin to the temptations offered by a Screwtape – and the ability to build spaces outside the Politics of the Eschaton will be especially needful.

UPDATE: Just seeing that one of the mosque shooters — and perhaps the only shooter — in Quebec has been identified as a right-wing troll who has championed Marine Le Pen and Donald Trump on social media. I will write about this when more information about him becomes available.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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