One of the more prominent groups who will lead the charge of protestors is Democracy Spring (sounds more like a body wash). They claim they want to halt fat-cat billionaires and “big money interests who can spend unlimited sums of money on political campaigns to protect their special interests at the general expense.” I find this ironic considering that the main benefactor for Democracy Spring is George Soros, who as most conservatives know heads up Soros Fund Management and is listed at No. 27 on Forbes’ list with a net worth of $23 billion. He has also been an ardent supporter of open borders and legalized drugs.
What is also ironic is that on the website for Democracy Spring, they declare, “We will demand that Congress listen to the people and take immediate action to save our democracy. And we won’t leave until they do, or until they send thousands of us to jail.” Which is what they got last April when an estimated 1,200 protestors were arrested at the nation’s capital for obstructing traffic and tying themselves to the scaffolding currently surrounding the Capitol rotunda. The irony is that they want to be heard, but will go to extreme lengths to stifle not only Trump supporters, but all conservative and Republican voices. Don’t they know a democracy is not a democracy when only one voice is allowed to speak?
But in Cleveland, it will not be just the one voice of Democracy Spring, but there assuredly will be the voices of anarchists, and the leftovers from Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter, MoveOn.Org, Code Pink and the Democratic Socialists of America. Who knows, maybe even geriatric Weatherman Bill Ayres will show up to teach advanced bomb-making.
For those of us old enough to remember, this is becoming eerily reminiscent of the 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago, which established the reputations of such radicals as Jerry Rubin, Abbie Hoffman and Tom Hayden. Groups such as the Students for a Democratic Society and The Black Panthers not only earned national attention, but became targets on the FBI’s watch list throughout the next decade and a half. Rumors and intelligence reports suggested that the radicals who would descend on The Windy City were planning to dump LSD into the city’s water supply, cars would be used to block the police stations, the armories would be set upon and the convention stormed. Police were trained to react, and the convention center was barricaded with barbed wire, and then things got ugly. In the aftermath, it was reported that 152 police officers had suffered wounds and 500 protestors were medically treated, mostly from the effects of tear gas.
So will the protestors getting ready to descend on Cleveland stay peaceful? I wouldn’t bet on it. And like Chicago in 1968, authorities are preparing. The City of Cleveland has accepted bids for the purchase of 2,000 sets of riot gear and will rent over 3,000 feet of 6-foot high barricades.
In addition to Cleveland’s 1,800-member police force, 5,000 additional officers from the surrounding area will also be present, including a contingent of officers from Fort Wayne. Hopefully, all officers will be properly trained and equipped. In the end it will cost an estimated $50 million for the security needed. I could care less about those who criticize the police for becoming militarized. It’s always better to prepare for the worst. Unlike those officers in Baltimore who were woefully unprepared for the bricks that were hurled at them, forcing a breaking of the ranks and retreat, which only further emboldened those who chose violence over peaceful protest.
Lest the Democrats get too smug, perhaps the City of Brotherly Love had better be just as prepared for the Democratic Convention since I hear if the Bernie followers don’t get satisfaction, they, too, may want Philadelphia to “feel the burn.” What a world we live in.
Bob Rinearson is a resident of Fort Wayne.