AP Photo/Don Ryan, File
Things are getting kind of sporty up in Oregon.
While the state is politically dominated by coastal urban enclaves, there is a strong ribbon of defiance in the more conservative areas of the state. Once again, GOP lawmakers have walked out of the legislature, denying progressives a quorum to cram whatever they want down Oregon’s throat.
That led to Gov. Kate Brown to order the state police to round them up. Now, I haven’t been able to find a law that requires them to be present for a vote if they don’t wish to be. In other words, Brown is using the police in an act of violence against Republican legislators who are trying to prevent what they see as detrimental legislation from being passed.
In response, one lawmaker issued a warning of his own.
“Send bachelors and come heavily armed,” Sen. Brian Boquist, a Republican from Dallas, said late Wednesday as the prospect of a walkout loomed. “I’m not going to be a political prisoner in the state of Oregon. It’s just that simple.”
Some have argued that the comments were out of line, and while they certainly weren’t helpful, let’s also keep in mind that Brown is using armed agents of the state to try to force individuals to do something against their will. That’s arguably an act of violence all on its own, and Boquist is warning that he’ll act in self-defense.
Right-leaning groups have offered to escort GOP lawmakers and serve as bodyguards.
Others planned on protesting at the state capitol. Those two things are too closely related for Brown’s comfort.
The Oregon Capitol will be closed Saturday due to a “possible militia threat” from right-wing protesters as a walkout by Republican lawmakers over landmark climate change legislation drags on.
Right-wing groups posted their support for the GOP lawmakers Friday on social media — in one instance offering to provide escorts to them should the state police come for them.
A group of local Republicans were set to protest inside the Capitol on Saturday when lawmakers were present, and anti-government groups threatened to join, prompting the statehouse shutdown.
I hate to break it to Brown, but they have a right to protest their government too.
Brown’s fear is that because these are vocally and rabidly pro-gun people, who are willing to utilize their Second Amendment rights in some contexts she doesn’t approve of, they represent a threat. It’s anti-gun hysteria, plain and simple.
She doesn’t like guns, and she doesn’t trust gun owners, particularly those who won’t capitulate to her demands. She wants docile subjects rather than armed citizens in her state.
Just because someone owns guns doesn’t mean they represent a threat. They have freedom of speech, like everyone else in the state of Oregon. They have a right to express their displeasure with the state government, especially over something they perceive as wrongheaded legislation like a cap and trade scheme. Being gun owners, being armed, doesn’t eliminate that right.
What Brown is doing is to deprive people of their constitutional right to protest due to her anti-gun paranoia.
Then again, this is a woman who ordered armed state agents to force lawmakers to return and provide a rubber stamp on her preferred legislation–which is very hypocritical since she supported Democrats doing the same thing in other states–so I don’t suppose we should be shocked by this.
It seems that Brown isn’t very big on rights.