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Blocking people's right to public access is not endearing people to your cause. It makes them less likely to pay attention and more likely to veer away from the liberal left.

A couple of weeks ago my wife and I attended the Freedom Rally at the Oregon Convention Center. We had a wonderful time at the rally, once we were inside. We were greeted warmly as we checked in and found a seat. We left our coats in our chairs without worry and ate a delicious catered lunch, where people were calmly and politely serving themselves.

As the rally began, we took our seats and participated in an opening prayer and a patriotic song. We then listened to four conservative speakers who proudly took the stage and delivered intelligent, well-rehearsed messages to the crowd of over 2,000 attendees. When the speakers were finished, we closed with a prayer and peacefully exited the hall, and as we left there was no trash anywhere except in the trash receptacles.

However, arriving in downtown Portland on the MAX on our way to the rally, we had to run the gantlet of demonstrators who were protesting something, but we never did figure out what. They were yelling into powered microphones spewing forth a message that was so effective that all we can remember of it is "blah blah blah blah" repeated over and over. They were waving signs that made no sense. My wife and I looked at the signs, looked at each other, and shrugged our shoulders in unison because we had no idea what the signs meant.

Then we had to push our way through a crowd assembled on the public stairs attempting to block our way to a public venue. They were such a brave crowd, trying to block access to parents with children in tow, the elderly with walkers and canes, and every age in between.

Apparently these protesters did not understand the following:

1. If they were sharing a message that people wanted to hear, they would have people willingly standing around listening to their message. The fact that they feel compelled to block public access in an attempt to get people to listen should give them a clue that no one cares about their message.

2. They have a right to protest, and I support their right to protest, but they don't have the right to block public access to public venues.

3. Blocking people's right to public access is not endearing people to your cause. It makes them less likely to pay attention and more likely to veer away from the liberal left.

For my wife and I, the difference between intelligent conservatives and obnoxious liberals could not have been made clearer.

Jim Kolousek lives in Gaston.

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