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Brian Fitzgerald: 5th Congressional District voters should support Democrat Jamie McLeod-Skinner.

In a recent front-page New York Times article, Oregon' s 5th Congressional District is featured. The article, "As Republicans intensify focus on crime, Democrats push back," states that "a Republican campaign ad juxtaposes video of Jamie McLeod-Skinner ... protesting with footage of rioters and looters. Ms. McLeod — Skinner, an ominous-sounding narrator warns, is 'one of them.'" Brian Fitzgerald

While Mcleod-Skinner's opponent isn't named in the article, let me break the news: It's Republican Lori Chavez-DeRemer, who calls herself America First, a disgusting appellation of nativists who worship the flag, not the values it represents.

I'm career military; I love this country, but I detest chicken hawks. Most Republicans don't have the backbone to bleed for their country in uniform, so excuse me while I laugh at their Dodge Rams with a 50-foot U.S. flag. Is it guilt for being such cowards? But for some reason, this draft-dodging crowd worships law enforcement and the military, but they hate the rest of government.

Have you ever wondered why Republicans only love government workers who are authorized to kill on behalf of the state? It's because violence permeates the Republican Party. It always has and always will.

Time for a history lesson: George Floyd was killed on May 25, 2020. That is why I protested for racial justice, along with thousands of peace-loving Oregonians. For some reason, Chavez-DeRemer would have you think these "dirty hippies" are rising up for no valid reason; it's as if she thinks the protests were the result of spontaneous combustion. No, people are tired of law enforcement in this country treating American citizens worse than I treated Al-Qaeda in Iraq.

It doesn't seem like a day goes by without another video of a cop, somewhere, pummeling an American citizen. I respect our security services, but not their culture. I identified the danger of right-wing politics in the military years ago; and it would behoove Americans to ask questions about the political nature of our police departments. Officers by and large are good, but their culture is rotten. Chavez-DeRemer doesn't understand this.

How exactly is Chavez-DeRemer going to eliminate crime in Portland? Firstly, it's not in her Congressional District, so the answer is she can't.

Secondly, we do not have a nationwide federal police force. Law enforcement in this country is local and decentralized. Citizen input at the local level is the only way to improve public safety. Donald Trump wanted to send soldiers to Portland in order to shoot protesters. Is that what Chavez-DeRemer wants? Other than bringing in federal troops, she has no options at the federal level.

Do Republicans want a police state? What policies and solutions do they have to offer? Spending more money? Does the Portland Police Bureau really need more than $249 million per year? That's more than the entire national defense of Moldova, which is next to Russia and fears an invasion. No, it's just fear mongering and the rhetoric of "dominating the streets." If anyone knows the history of the Black Shirts, you should be afraid of such sentiments.

While I won't accuse the Republicans of being semi-fascist, their politics border on Mussolini-esque. I reject such authoritarianism. I want to believe in Oregon, not loathe it. I would encourage every Oregonian in the 5th Congressional District to vote for Democrat Jamie McLeod-Skinner.

Brian Fitzgerald is a Happy Valley resident.

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