I live in a city just a little bit outside of Portland, Oregon. Following the election of Donald Trump, Portland had more than 1 million dollars of damages done during the protests.
Lucky for me, I will be watching the inauguration at a party with friends, but had I decided to watch the event from a bar in downtown Portland, I have to wonder if I could count on my physical safety. For instance, could someone walk down a street by themselves in a Make America Great Again hat without worry? Sadly, I don’t think the answer is yes.
On election night after our watch parties finished up, some friends and I stopped by a bar to grab a drink and watch the speeches. Simply by being the only ones not obviously disgusted by the election of Donald Trump, it seemed like we were getting dirty looks. I was never biggest Trump fan myself, but apparently just giving the guy a chance is enough to draw ire from some.
There are already multiple events planned on election night in Portland for folks to protest the inauguration of President Trump, This is it (Anti-donald trump protest), Join the Resistance! An Inauguration night of music and organizing to fight the Trump Agenda, and RISE UP and Resist Fascism: Inauguration Day Protest are just a few of the ones Facebook told me about because they were nearby.
Phrases like “Resist the Fascist Empire Rise with Us” are casually tossed around as if we had just elected Darth Vader to the Presidency.
Then I realized.
Some of these folks really do think Donald Trump is a fascist leader attune to Hitler. If these folks see Donald Trump as a moral equivalent to Hitler, then they must see his supporters as a moral equivalent to Nazi sympathizers if not Nazis themselves. If someone truly believes that, then it begs the question of how far they would go in opposition to Trump and his supporters.
Would a Trump supporter in downtown Portland on January 20th be treated with respect as a fellow American with differing political views? Would a Trump supporter be subjected to rude comments and harassment? Would it stop at simple words, or is there a legitimate chance of violence breaking out if someone walked around downtown wearing a red trucker hat with the words “Make America Great Again” sewn across the cap?
I want to say that individual would be safe, but I can’t say it with any certainty.
When the rhetoric has been dialed up to the level that it currently is, it creates an environment for something bad to happen.
So to all my friends out there going out to celebrate the inauguration of President Trump, have fun and stay safe. I do know one thing is for certain, you wont find me on the streets of Portland come January 20th.