In a time where the COVID pandemic, the Black Lives Matter movement and gun control legislation remain ongoing hot-button issues, a Crook County resident is hoping to encourage politically conservative locals to "rise up."
Chuck Banks, who has called Prineville home since 2012, is a registered Republican who feels that now is an important time for his fellow conservatives to get informed, get engaged and get connected. To spur that action, he has launched "Rise Up America – Wake the Sleeping Giant," a local rally that will feature patriotic music, three guest speakers, and a question and answer forum. It will take place at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 17 in Ochoco Creek Park.
Banks believes the U.S. is under attack, but unlike the Pearl Harbor attack where the country faced a foreign invader, he contends America is battling domestic forces from within.
"They seek to overthrow our constitution, our republic and our American way of life," he said. "Their goal is to change our form of government into socialism or communism."
The rally is intended to bring conservatives together, arm them with reputable information and encourage them to use what they learn to speak up and affect change. What Banks hopes to avoid, however, is the shouting matches and altercations that have marred other recent protests, locally and throughout the country. He contends that no minds were changed by that behavior and the heated, personal attacks prevented the intended message from being heard.
Banks said that he has seen a lot of people address the personal issues of elected officials, speaking out against their personality or other decisions and traits that are not directly related to public policy.
"I don't make my decisions based that way. I base them on policy issues," he said. "When I look at policy issues, the bottom line is who do you agree with and place your vote according to who you agree with."
The rally is geared toward conservatives, although Banks said people of any political leaning are welcome. It will lead off with the playing of patriotic music. A local pastor will then give an invocation and then a local resident will sing the national anthem. Guest speakers will take the stage next. Chris Brumbles from Oregon Federation of Firearms will lead off, speaking on Second Amendment and constitutional issues. Dr. Vern Saboe Jr., whom Banks said will be flown in by Oregon Sen. Tim Knopp, will speak next, addressing the current COVID pandemic. The final speaker will be current Oregon House District 55 Rep. Vikki Breese-Iverson. The Prineville-based Republican took office 2019.
The event will conclude with a question and answer session during which audience members can ask questions or offer comments to the guest speakers or to the audience.
Banks expects the rally to last about two and a half to three hours – depending on when it starts getting dark. He said he has been in communication with local law enforcement throughout the planning process, and he hopes the way the event is organized – an informative presentation rather than a protest – will keep it civil.
"My hope is it is going to be an encouragement to conservatives to do your homework, get engaged in the process and basically vote and let your voice be heard," he said.
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