By Tom Henderson • Staff Writer • 

Letter to readers: How I survived all hell breaking loose


I spend most of my Saturday afternoons in downtown Portland, usually just a few blocks from the extremists who regularly turn politics into a contact sport.

Despairing of the state of the world, they get together from time to time to pick fights with one another. When provocation turns to altercation, like bickering children in the backseat, they stake claim to the moral high ground by insisting the other one started it.

The real injuried party in this infantile ritual is, of course, Portland.

Police warned vistors and residents alike to stay away from downtown Aug. 17. Fearing the worst, stores closed their doors.

 “Antifa threatens to turn a West Coast city into a violent mess,” Jesse Watters, one of the talking heads at Fox News, warned viewers.

“Keep your head on a swivel,” he said. “All hell’s going to break loose.”

That it did.

It was bad, as bad as I’ve ever seen it. There were corgis ... corgis everywhere. And the yapping. Dear God, the yapping.

However, for those who like yapping little dogs with stumpy legs, the annual Corgi Walk went off without a hitch in the Pearl District.

The dogs strutted the stuff just five minutes from the dueling protests. But they might as well have been on the far side of the moon.

It was life as usual in downtown Portland, except for the relatively small epicenter of the idiots.

Americans love the feel oppressed by everything from pronouns that don’t reflect their gender identity to people wishing them “happy holidays.” So it’s fun to pretend that the Portland of 2019 resembles the Belfast of 1972.

However, let’s grow up and knock off the hyperbole. It disrespects people who actually did experience things like Belfast in 1972.

Portland, and by extension America, is not coming apart at the seams just because idiots and counter-idiots have taken a playground approach to national affairs.

All hell is not breaking loose. Yes, you should keep your head on a swivel in downtown Portland, but only so you don’t miss the galleries, museums and other elements of grace and beauty continuing to thrive there.

I commute to McMinnville from a residence in the Portland area. I spend my weekends downtown, while my wife works at one of the museums.

 Her museum stayed open Aug. 17, on the theory that civilization shouldn’t cow to savagery and stupidity.

This is not to minimize the savagery and stupidity, or the state-run savagery and stupidity that inspires it.

 It is not even to suggest that the world isn’t coming to end. In fact, it may well be.

 I would just humbly suggest that we spend whatever time we have left, as individual human beings or as a species, keeping things in perspective. Let’s appreciate the beauty that surrounds us and stop reacting out of fear and ignorance.



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