Last week, Obama came to Portland to speak on healthcare reform (although according to friends who got in, it was more of a brief, comedic act, which at some point caused him to take off his jacket and give all the ladies present heart palpitations). I thought I’d go hang out in the protest for a while, where they were “letting freedom ring” with brass bells.
At one point the protestors expressed their disgust with our president’s arrival by singing the national anthem. The supporters on the other side of the street countered, by also singing the national anthem. It was nearly beautiful.
But it got me thinking: is documenting the crazies the responsible thing to do? Do I want the story to be, “Obama comes to Portland, these people think he’s an undocumented terrorist commie”? Misinformed insanity has a strong enough voice as it is, without my exploitative attempts.
Also, while it was thrilling to be part of a protest I didn’t agree with, it was also kind of a huge bummer. I thought of the Bush protests I’d gone to, and wondered if I’d depressed any of his passing fans. “So much negativity! Can’t you just be nice to our president for once? He’s trying!” I crawled back to the smiling supporters.
A few more from both sides — for better or worse — here.