For the second time since April, Oregon's Republican lawmakers are boycotting the state senate rather than risk losing a vote. If they don't soon return, over 100 other bills won't be voted upon, and state employees won't be paid.
Republican senator Tim Knopp defended the action, saying, "This is democracy."
Democratic governor Kate Brown had a different view: "They are turning their backs on Oregonians and they are turning their backs on the democratic process." As is her right under Oregon law, Brown ordered state police to find the Republicans and bring them to the capitol. Armed militia members pledged to do "whatever it takes" to prevent this.
Republican senator Brian Boquist taunted the police, saying that when they come for him, they should "send bachelors and come heavily armed." Since then, he and other Republican lawmakers have fled the state to elude capture.
On Saturday, the capitol building was closed by police based upon “a credible threat from militia groups.” On Monday, Democrats reported to work anyway.
The last time that Oregon militiamen took up arms against the state was in 2016 when 26 of them occupied and vandalized the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. The occupation ended 39 days later when a militiaman was shot to death by the FBI.
The Malheur occupation was inspired by the conviction of area ranchers Dwight and Steven Hammond for setting fire to federally protected wildlife habitat because they weren't allowed to graze cattle on the land. Soon after the Malheur occupation, Trump pardoned the Hammonds. That same year, he referred to those who parade under swastikas and Confederate flags as "good people."
Like the heavily armed groups of Republican thugs that call themselves militias, the Trump administration and Republican lawmakers will do "whatever it takes" to insure that all power is in their hands. Of late, they have been redrawing state voting districts in order to marginalize black people, and, just today, Trump vowed to postpone the 2020 census indefinitely because the Supreme Court won't allow him to include a question that would penalize Democratically controlled states. These are not guesses; these are facts that have been admitted to by the Trump administration and Republican lawmakers.
When I heard that Oregon state senator praise democracy only to explain that democracy means taking his toys and going home anytime he might lose a vote, I remembered Melania Trump saying, "We must do our best to ensure that every child can live in comfort and security with the best possible education," even while her husband was busy denying basic necessities to children, and a less fortunate woman was watching her husband and child drown in the Rio Grande because of Donald Trump's harsh border policies (see photo). America's "first lady" had previously said that she opposes cyberbullying, conveniently overlooking the fact her powerful husband is up before dawn each day bullying people on the internet. The words of Republicans might look like cake icing, but one must remember that the cake contains arsenic, and that the Republican Party represents the world's gravest threat to America democracy.