On Monday evening, residents of Corvallis and surrounding areas gathered at the Benton County Courthouse to protest Donald Trump’s declaration of a “state of emergency” over a “crisis” at our nation’s southern border. Trump is claiming that this so-called emergency gives him the right to appropriate money already assigned by Congress to other projects for the building of a wall there. Protesters were concerned, since many Constitutional scholars say this claim by Trump is incorrect and is nothing more than an illegal power grab.
Some of the people present are regulars of the nightly antiwar vigil which has been taking place at the Courthouse since the U.S. first invaded Afghanistan in 2001, and others were making their first-ever protest. Baby Selma, riding in a stroller with a sign reading, “Build Schools, Not Walls,” was making almost her first-ever public appearance of any kind.
Jack Kemp carried an American flag and a sign reading “Tax the Rich”, which he described as “a winning slogan for the next election.” Jules Moritz brandished a sign bearing a blown-up image of a cartoon depicting “Trumpty Dumpty” sitting on his Wall, spoke for many when he said, “I’m here because I’ve had enough – why is he still in office?” So did Betty Malone when she said bluntly, “Call it a coup.”
Taryn Bazurto of Indivisible Oregon stood handing out scripts to be used by people who feel awkward about calling their representatives. “Call your members of Congress,” she urged. “This is an authoritarian power grab, and democracy must be defended with We the People’s participation.”
Bruce Sigloh came from Dallas with a sign reading, “Rezist Our Racist President”, and said, “We have to get that racist out of our White House and defend our free press.” Rob Schulze came from Philomath, carrying a sign reading “Veterans For Peace” which bore a small photo of himself as a young Marine, but confided that he was more proud of having been a schoolteacher than of having seen combat. “I’d show you my war wound, but I’d get in trouble for indecent exposure,” he said, using a line he had clearly used on many classrooms full of students. “I didn’t keep my butt down.”
by John M. Burt