Portland, OR–Here in the Rose City, outrage and activism have mostly died down just a couple weeks after the surprising victory of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.
Once there was courageous civil disobedience disrupting the evening commute and pro-democracy property liberation in the dead of night–occasionally mislabeled by critics as “vandalism”–to dissent from the election of Not-My-President-elect Trump. Now, the streets of downtown Portland are relatively calm. Actions still happen many days, but they are sparsely attended.
One gets the sense that many Portlanders have come to accept the reality of an impending Trump Presidency. An uncharacteristically gloomy and rainy November season seems to reflect their sentiments well.
That said, another interpretation is that we may just be experiencing the calm before the storm. A major action is being planned in Washington, DC to peacefully disrupt the peaceful transfer of power from President Obama to Trump scheduled for January 20, 2017. Activists who can’t make it to DC are encouraged to hold local actions in solidarity.
In light of these historic plans, The Daily Face Palm sat down for an exclusive interview with one of the leaders of the Portland protest movement, Keith Davis, to learn more about his ideas and vision for the future. Highlights from our conversation are included below, edited as necessary to clarify the responses and make them more inflammatory:
DFP: A lot of skeptics have been wondering what the point of protesting the election really is. What would you say to those people?
Davis: That’s easy. Our stretch goal is to hopefully get the election overturned so Hillary Clinton will become president instead of Donald Trump. It’s the only way to save our democracy. Also, many of us looked into moving to Canada before the protests and decided it’s way too f—ing cold up there. Do you know they actually get snow routinely? Unbelievable. I live in Portland for a reason.
DFP: You probably know what I’m going to ask next? What about the electoral college and the rule of law and all that?
Davis: Look, who should decide the American president? Should it be 270 random old white guys arbitrarily chosen to be “electors”? Or should it be the American people? Hillary won New York and California fair and square, not to mention the overall popular vote. I think it’s pretty clear the people have spoken.
And to be fair, Hillary isn’t the only one who has had victory stolen from her. It also happened to the Carolina Panthers earlier this year in the Super Bowl. The Panther defense held the Denver Broncos to dramatically fewer yards, and everyone knows defense wins championships. Yet in spite of this, the Broncos were still declared the winners because they happened to score more points. Completely unjust.
DFP: Do you believe Hillary Clinton would make a good president?
Davis: I’m not her number one fan, but we must #DumpTrump. The way I see it we were bound to have one accused sex offender in the White House come January 20. I’d definitely prefer it was the first husband rather than the actual president.
DFP: Just to clarify, you don’t actually have to say “hash tag”; our people can add that in later.
Davis: My bad.
DFP: Let’s move on. Some people have expressed concerns that if the election was overturned in favor of Hillary Clinton, the response from the deplorable Trump supporters might be less than peaceful. What do you think about that?
Davis: There’s no question that we’ve seen a massive increase in hate crime violence in the wake of Donald Trump’s victory, and it’s pretty clear what has caused it. Trump’s supporters are violent, hateful people like we’ve been saying all along. And his victory has emboldened them to do their worst.
That said, everything changes if Hillary is set to become the new president. Trump’s supporters are all violent racists, but they’re only acting out now because they feel like their worldview has been vindicated. If the presidency is returned to Hillary Clinton, I’m sure they’ll calm down and go back to the gun ranges and NASCAR races they crawled out from.
DFP: Wait, what?
Davis: You heard me. You know, another thing people are forgetting in all this is that the US is the unchallenged expert in political coups. Iran, Panama, Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq, Libya, Honduras, Yemen, Ukraine, etc. You name the country, and we’ve probably helped orchestrate or support a coup there in some way.
Now, a lot of those may have been disasters, but everyone knows that’s only because we didn’t stay. If we had a coup in the US, it’d be different because, well, the US government would kind of have to stay wouldn’t they? So our question to the skeptics is this: We’ve given coups and democracy to many other countries in the world; why not here?
DFP: Okay. Got it. My last question for you today is something that’s been in the news a lot. When you’re choosing the nature of your action, why block the roads? Isn’t that just going to make everyone oppose your cause out of spite?
Davis: Yeah, we hear this question a lot. But democracy is something worth fighting for, and if we happen to piss a few people off along the way, so be it. Frankly, since they’re busy destroying the planet by driving home (most of them without even the decency to carpool), I can’t say I really feel that bad for them.
Getting back to your question though, it’s a strategic consideration. Right now, we feel like we need to bring this issue to people’s attention because it may not even be on their radar. We may upset them, but at least we’ll get them to take notice. That trade-off is worth it for us.
Now, if it was a more well-known issue, our tactics would be different. For instance, if we were protesting the US-backed War in Yemen which has killed thousands and made millions of people malnourished, or the scheduling of kratom as a narcotic which created a new class of nonviolent criminals overnight, or even the widespread practice of civil asset forfeiture where people are effectively assumed guilty until proven innocent, then we wouldn’t be blocking the streets. Everybody already knows about those issues because that’s what the media focuses on to get viewers.
But how many people know that we just had a presidential election and the illegitimate president-elect is a racist misogynist with a terrible taste in ties? That’s why we have to be in the streets, to raise awareness.
DFP: Thanks for chatting with us, Keith.
*The individual quoted in this piece is fictional. Any similarities between his expressed positions and those of public figures or trolls on your social media feed are entirely coincidental.