LETTER: Hither to the republic

Increasingly common, are media reports about the number of new and aspiring groups in Oregon that are led by persons who’ve decided to replace the elected officials and established authorities with themselves. 

They are exampled by regional networks known as New-Nazis, People’s Rights, Proud Boys, White Supremacists, Three Percenters and more. It’s believed most are fascist in their desire for totalitarian regimes, seeking a new order where immigrants of color are disallowed, religious intolerance prevails and racism is practiced unabated.

Presumably disgruntled locally by what they view as the government’s imposition by executive orders requiring masks, social distancing, hand-washing, permits for protest parades with approved routes, and lockdown of certain businesses such as inside restaurant dining, physical-fitness clubs and grooming salons, they are more and more frequently using super-aggressive means to gain the upper hand. They also argue vehemently for their versions of right of assembly, freedom of speech and actions far outside the law and norms.

In the modern era, anti-establishment activity in Oregon can be traced to protests during the Vietnam War and, more recently, when Ammon Bundy, a son and followers led an attack in early 2016 to take over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Their complaint was not only focused on freeing from prison ranchers who had practiced illegal burns inside the refuge, but also that private interests should not be denied access inside the refuge for cattle ranching, mining, resorts, golf courses, hunting, and any other private interest devoted to pleasure and profit.

These protests have spawned protests to the level of insurrection, including those devoted to peaceful demonstrations turned riots where the apparent intent becomes overthrowing the government by violent means and destruction of government buildings, private businesses, churches, personal property as well as injury and death to those in their way. It would appear to an observer that while some of the wreckage and damage results from frustrations and disappointments of those who want to prevent blacks and others of color to reside here to those who want rule by their hand over what has been a mainly peaceful way of life in Oregon since statehood in 1859.

World history in modern times is replete with movements that began as shouting-match protests to destruction and death to all who choose not to stand with group leaders. We need look back no further than the European nations of Germany, Italy, Russia and Spain during the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s. After World War I they went from recovery to seditious groups whose often narcissistic psychopathic leaders headed their fellow countrymen into uprisings that ultimately led to World War II, resulting in death to millions, total destruction, and massive starvation.

In Oregon, for example, we’ve recently experienced what may have been a complicit state representative from Independence opening a door to protesters hell-bent on forcing change by violent means. This incident has resulted in Oregon State Police no longer willing to communicate openly with all legislators. Lawlessness has also occurred outside the Oregon capitol at the Governor’s mansion in Salem, local businesses and attacks on government buildings, stores, museums and people with much more of the same in Portland. We have become a nation where domestic terrorism reigns while those persons of trust, having taken an oath to preserve, protect and defend the people of Oregon, are no longer reliable.

What becomes of us if the anarchists succeed as they attempt to do so? Any Oregonian who has appreciated the way of life we have led will predictably miss the freedoms and opportunities when they are gone. Meanwhile, anyone so inclined to read world history at depth and breadth will find that many countries have made a serious effort at creating and sustaining a democracy, as far back as ancient Greek city-states. Unfortunate for their citizens, they failed and disappeared into the dust bin of history. It’s now up to all of us to save our republic or lose it.

(Gene H. McIntyre lives in Keizer.)