Dear Portland Residents;
We need to discuss the alt-right group/cult Patriot Prayer, especially their leader. Joey Gibson is a Washington resident, who deliberately goes into “liberal enclaves” (Portland, being a favorite of his due to his living in nearby Vancouver) for the purpose of “triggering” people, causing trouble, inciting fights, and as of late performing botched citizens arrests. They describe themselves as a “prayer group”, however their prayers seem to consist of inciting violence and marching with neo-nazis. I do concede that they often finish off their rallies with a very extravagant, and obnoxiously public “prayer” (to which I refer all of their allies to read Matthew 6:5).
Their antics have also cost Portland taxpayers $1.9 million dollars in police overtime alone. Joey Gibson knows this, but as he is not an Oregon resident and does not pay Oregon taxes there is not much reason for him to care, and it appears he does not. After all, Joey literally makes his living from travelling up and down the west coast with his friends with the intention of using conservative ideas as a cover for his attention-seeking and childish antics. Literally they are paid protestors.
These people claim they are peaceful, yet they bring guns and don body armor for their rallies. Considering that 74% of extremist-related killings in the past decade were carried out by right-wingers (2 of those murders are still fresh in Portland’s memory), it is hard to believe their claims of nonviolence. Joey claims to be a peaceful and nonviolent figure, however I am hard pressed to think of any previous non-violent activist who surrounded himself with a mob of armed and armored angry young men.
Earlier this month, they showed up to the Rose City Black Guard’s Day of Mutual Aid. An event intended to give a hot meal to our houseless neighbors as well as collect and distribute food and other necessities to them. A member of Patriot Prayer’s followers brought a “generous donation” of garbage. Of course, they brought their goPro’s and quickly posted one-sided coverage of the event to continue their smear campaign against those who have different ideologies. Again, this was a charity event and they simply could not just stay home; a charity event agitated them so much they felt the need to organize to attempt to inflict equal agitation to the charity organizers.
Let me now speak to the company he keeps. To put it plainly: it would be unwise to allow your children around these people. Joey keeps the company of neonazis, sex offenders, violent criminals, and the like. A man is as good as the company he keeps. Joey can repeatedly tell us; he hates nazis, white supremacists, rapists, and other folk of ill repute until he is blue in the face. We should not believe his words, as he is more than pleased to march with groups like Identity Europa and the Hell Shaking Street Preachers.
It also appears that Portland in general is sick of this Washingtonian’s antics. The Portland Mercury’s headline of “Washington’s Patriot Prayer to Hold Yet Another Dumb Rally In Portland” clearly shows the annoyance of many Portland residents. It is a very understandable annoyance as well, if people had thrown an obnoxious, nose-code breaking block party for the purpose of antagonizing a Trump rally Joey and his friends would be up in arms. Joey Gibson was also aptly described as “spoiling for a fight with the left” by the Oregonian in their “Newsmaker of the Year” poll. He truly is just “spoiling for a fight”, he made a big show of coming to protest the November 4th “Refuse Fascism” rally. So what gives then? Why is someone who does not even pay taxes in the state of Oregon allowed to come in and waste funds that could be spent elsewhere? Patriot Prayer and their allies bring violence and waste wherever they go.
Extremist right wing organizing has cost Portlanders 40x the average salary in the city in one year alone; and these people have no intention to slow down. Why are they allowed to spew hate and bring violence to our street corners that are already overflowing with some of the most vulnerable human beings ? Why do we allow them to patronize our businesses and intimidate other patrons away? One may cry out “but it is their free speech!” and to that I say you are ignorant and cowardly. Free speech as it is written into the fabric of the law of the land protects you from government censorship; someone can scream that “all f*gs will burn”, and a crowd of people are just as free to go make him feel unwelcome. In fact, this is a key part of maintaining the “social norms” in society. As a community, we must make sure that racists feel unwelcome to organize and cluster in our neighborhoods. That means taking a very solid stance against groups like Patriot Prayer and their ilk, and that is a difficult thing to do. It is easy to stay home and tweet “#resist”, it is harder to get out there and actively resist the groups echoing the hatred in Washington in your streets. However ,the rewards of the latter are far richer and longer lasting. We can make our streets safer for everyone, but we must first take the risk in taking a bold and open stance against fascism.
A Concerned Citizen