House of Nuts, I’m back! Storefront Jenius said that, and he couldn’t have been more right. After a long and somewhat fantastic past couple of weeks, I’m back. It’s been busy, and I’m alright with that, in fact quite happy with it.
The Tax Day Tea Party was interesting. April 15th, Tax Day, Pioneer Square. Save for the tax day rally in Minnesota last year, I haven’t been to many rallies or protests that come from the right side of the political spectrum in comparison to the many I’ve been to off the left side. A few things stood out. Probably the most interesting thing is the average age of the attendee is quite a bit older at the right wing events. Perhaps this lends credibility to the idea that most people start out young and progressive and become more conservative as they age, I’m not sure. The crowd was also very Caucasian, which was pretty much to be expected. There were a few children as part of families, and an interesting group of high school aged kids. Very few counter protestors, going along with everything I’d heard, basically the extent of the Tea Parties not being worth the effort to stand up against. Fiery rhetoric denouncing the current administrations use of tax payer dollars, all very passionate and patriotic. Wild because I wasn’t used to it, but relatively tame compared to some of the other ones across the country. The Oregonian estimated the crowd at 1,000, I’d say it was probably larger than that.
The other thing that really stood out was the lack of police presence. I saw only a handful of Portland Police officers in attendance, and a few private security guards making the rounds at Pioneer Square. Perhaps this lends credibility to the assertion that riots and clashes between police and protestors are largely caused by police. Who knows, but there were no police, and things went pretty smoothly.
Compare that with the May Day rally, I hit up on May 1st, South Park Blocks. This was a rally and then a march through downtown Portland in celebration of immigrant rights and also in celebration of workers rights worldwide. International Labor Day, maybe its Labour Day, who knows? This was largely attended by Hispanic people of all ages, and a pretty solid showing of organized labor. Also a decent number of Black Bloc anarchist kids. May Day (International Workers Day) is sort of a celebrated Anarchist holiday. More families, more young people than the Tax Day event. There was a lot of fiery rhetoric about immigration issues and workers rights issues and then a pretty lively march through downtown. I was more interested in the possible confrontations between the Black Bloc anarchist kids and police, who turned out in standard rally fashion. In the end, there was no confrontation, there were no battles, I was somewhat disappointed, the Indy media boards were rife with speculation as to why this was the case. Is a kinder, gentler protest generation taking hold in Portland? I fucking hope not. The crowd was estimated at 2,500, a number that seems pretty accurate to me.
Besides those two relevant events, I did a little hiking/camping, a decent amount of recreational social drinking, lots of basketball playing, and enjoyed a visit from my dear old friend, Ducky Collins.