Is Portland A Sign of Things to Come?

“I’m not going to lie—it stings, it’s hard to breathe . . . and I can tell you with 100% honesty, I saw nothing which provoked this response.” – Portland, Oregon Mayor Ted Wheeler, after being gassed by federal troops.

Conspiracy theories are a dime a dozen, and usually they aren’t even worth the dime. Trust me – I have a very good friend who messages me constantly with stories about aliens on the moon, the world being flat, Joe Biden planning to step down and name Hillary Clinton president after he wins in November … and all kinds of really interesting things.

Every once in a while, though, a conspiracy theory turns out to have some merit.

Take as a case in point what’s happening in Portland, Oregon, a town I know very well from years of living in nearby Salem. President Donald Trump has been so disturbed by peaceful protests there (and elsewhere) that he decided to send in Homeland Security militia forces in unmarked clothing and unmarked vehicles to start picking up protesters and detaining them in undisclosed locations. This despite the fact that both Oregon Governor Kate Brown and Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler have repeatedly said they do not want federal government intervention. In fact, Wheeler himself was gassed by federal agents on Tuesday night as he stood with peaceful protesters to show his support for their protest of police violence.

Monty Python’s John Cleese, himself the king of ironic humor, asked on Twitter if President Trump didn’t recognize the irony of using unwarranted and unsolicited police brutality in an effort to stop those who are protesting against police brutality.

It’s a real head-scratcher, but just one in a never-ending litany of head-scratchers brought on by the presidency of a failed reality TV host.

It was just a week ago, on Friday, July 17th, that an Oregon attorney filed a lawsuit against the federal government saying that Trump’s actions violated the civil rights of Oregon’s citizens. That came after days of back-and-forth clashes between Trump’s administration and Oregon’s elected officials. Oregonian officials made it clear they did not want federal troops, and those troops continued to infiltrate the state anyway.

Meanwhile, considering his expedition a success (as he does all of his failures), Trump is talking about taking similar actions in other cities across the country. Apparently, in his mind, fighting protests against police violence with police violence makes perfect sense.

Ok, let’s get back to that conspiracy theory. I’m not a believer in polls taken in July of an election year because for whatever reason the bulk of the small percentage of Americans who bother to participate in their civic duty don’t really make a decision about who to vote for until the week or two preceding an election. Democratic candidate Joe Biden is beating Trump handily in many polls, but then so was Hillary Clinton in 2016.

What happens if Trump loses? He has made many statements about how he does not think his followers, who represent between 35% and 40% of American voters, won’t stand for him to only serve two terms, the legal limit. He has also indicated that he will not go quietly if he loses in November because it will not be a legitimate election if he comes out on the wrong side. The conspiracy theorists would have us believe that Trump will undermine the electoral system, most likely with more help from his Russian friends, and either win (another) illegitimate election or refuse to surrender the presidency even if he loses.

Does Donald Trump imagine that he can maintain power even in the face of a loss if he has his own private militia in place to help him stay in power?What does he suppose he will do with his own version of Adolph Hitler’s SS if he loses? After all, even if he loses he will be President for roughly three months before Joe Biden would be sworn in as his replacement. Would military forces even follow his orders if he no longer carried the title of Commander in Chief?

Just before the climax of the movie Star Trek: First Contact, Captain Jean-Luc Picard gives one of his classic monologues about how the Federation refuses to stand up to their arch enemies, the Borg. He finishes by forcefully stating that it’s time for the Federation to draw a line and say: “This far, no further!”

I can’t help but wonder when the American people will finally grow so tired of Donald Trump’s daily egregious violations of the Constitution that we say, as a collective, THIS FAR, NO FURTHER!

Perhaps Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler is going to play the role of Jean-Luc Picard in this narrative?

I’m not a fan of or believer in most conspiracy theories…but this particular theory is worth pondering. It’s going to be a very interesting next few months in the United States of America.

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