If your protest stops a portion of a city cold in its tracks you will get local, even global, media attention for the cause or injustice you passionately hold in your heart. For example, PDX: With hundreds of protesters standing in airport roadways and terminals, you'll shut down a major transportation system.
What about a daughter desperately trying to make a flight back home in the Midwest after receiving word her dad is dying within hours? Consider a family packed for a well-deserved vacation on the only week this year that it's possible. Or passengers flying in or out with businesses, transactions and cargo all vital to jobs and Oregon's economic health? Protesters might get their "half hour of fame" but the list of tragic or injurious missed flights for our fellow Oregonians is endless.
The recent protest at PDX was anti-Trump and seemed specifically focused on his immigration policies. If you are rightfully concerned about how we treat brothers and sisters from other countries, why would you deliberately cause injury to our neighbors and facilities key to life in our state?
Why not approach media with thoughtful and passionate protests? Why not organize and reach out to our Congressional delegation? Or, better still, with positive support, empower existing organizations. Portland hosts one of the most effective global relief and refugee outfits in modern history. Mercy Corps International's headquarters is on Portland's waterfront. In addition to emergency help in times of disaster, they're focused on refugees the world over. Their official statement says: "Temperatures can drop below freezing, snow blankets refugee camps, and refugees' thin tents are no match for strong wind and rain. Children without warm coats and families huddled together are suffering this winter.
"Our teams are on the ground right now, delivering much-needed food, water, shelter supplies, jackets, warm blankets and other supplies to the most vulnerable refugees. You can help provide the lifesaving relief these families and other people in crisis desperately need."
Mercy Corps is also firmly against U.S. policies they believe would harm innocent refugees here and worldwide. They do so with respect, emphasizing constitutional freedoms and working effectively within our democratic system.
We've also got locally focused Pamoja House, a multicultural organization lovingly serving diverse immigrants in Southwest Portland. Pamoja House has respectfully helped many to become successful and valued Oregonians.
Mercy Corps (www.mercycorps.org) and Pamoja House (www.pamojahouse.org) are examples of how we can do more for comforting and protecting vulnerable, real people than a damaging or fleeting protest will likely accomplish.
Jesus said in Matthew 25:45: "I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me."
We have a choice: A temporary media splash spotlighting our anger and destructive vandalism. Or helping individuals right now while seeking long-term effects that protect all Americans and the innocent from other countries.
Vic Gilliam, a resident of Silverton, is the former state representative for House District 18, which covers Silverton, Mount Angel and Hubbard. He resigned Feb. 1 due to personal reasons.