Most politicians legislate from the safety of a Capitol building in which the main populous, aka those who have to live with the consequences of what is legislated, cannot go. Very few venture out and mingle with the rest of us. Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler gave it a shot and figured the protesters would appreciate having a conversation with the Mayor’s full attention. Sorely wrong he was.
Mayor Wheeler gifted a “listening session” to the protesters where he answered their questions for roughly two hours. According to local news station KATU, “many protesters were against Wheeler and said so” but the crowd “was largely accepting of his presence” – until they weren’t. “Nearing midnight, the crowd turned on him.”
One New York Times reporter tweeted a video of the Mayor getting gassed by the crowd with the caption “Mayor Wheeler with eyes closed, coughing, suffering from the tear gas. ‘How does it feel, Teddy??’ someone shouts.”
When the protestors turned, “tear gas was deployed at around that time and fireworks exploded near the courthouse and the Justice Center” reported KATU. One protestor expressed her sympathy for the Mayor’s attack. Just joking, she was not sympathetic at all: “Oh, for sure, he got gassed” said Akos Sarfo-Katanka. “I was standing with him, within three feet of him. I think it’s giving him a little sampling of those of us who have been out here.” She also said ‘this is the first time I’d ever seen a mayor, or any public official, be in the depths of what was going on.”
Wheeler stood his moral ground, when asked how long he would stay with protestors, he said “I’m not going to leave. If you get gassed, I’m getting gassed.” How noble considering the actions of Portland leadership is instigating these thugs and allowing them to continue damaging the city. Of course, the Mayor’s bravery did not last. “A reporter for the New York Times tweeted a video of protesters swearing at the mayor as he entered a building with bodyguards struggling to keep protesters at bay.”
Turns out the mayor, in fact, did not stay as long as needed and reneged on the “you get gassed, I’m getting gassed” promise.