I passed through bland, peaceful fields of unknown crops on my way into Salem; they grew smaller before blending into the outer business district of trucking outfits, processing plants, train tracks; then the tacky outposts of the budding immigrant colony begin to appear like road signs: carnicerias, immigration lawyers, some advocacy organization with a depressing and sinister name announcing itself from a bland, windowless industrial park building. Then it’s through doughty neighborhoods where fading and unkempt homes mingled with well-kept houses like retrieved artifacts from old America. In its surface mediocrity and disjointed lack of character or coherence Salem is both what the elites hate about America and the America they want to bring about, somehow.
One can’t help but think of the Third World after passing through this mild blight to the state capitol building, built by the Public Works Administration in the 1930s when “stripped classicism” was the norm in public buildings for fascist and socialist states alike. It stands there like another artifact, this of a past wherein the two sides shared the confidence in progress and science that would soon be fed into the grinder of World War II.
The architecture will prove adaptable to the New American Order, but the gold statue of a proud pioneer atop the upturned trashcan rotunda will likely not survive.
I was there to see the “stop the steal” rally. A few small skirmishes with counterdemonstrators had occurred before I arrived. I passed a group of antifa massing at the corner of the park adjacent to the capitol building and then a group of three armed patriot types coming down the sidewalk from the opposite direction. They eyed me with non-hostile curiosity. One self-consciously pulled his facemask up. I gave them a tight-grin head-nod, as if we were just out for a normal stroll.
When I came upon the scene insults were being traded with a lone counterdemonstrator on the edge of the group, numbering no more than a hundred by the time I arrived. Scattered cars passing through honked in solidarity, a few gave the finger. Here and there clots of people gathered around a furious debate with one or two interlopers.
The Trump supporters dispersed by nightfall and a larger black bloc group stepped in to fill the space, tormenting the police in the absence of the Trump supporters. I headed back to Portland. There the mood was celebratory if shrill and. “Biden Harris” flags flew abreast of BLM banners and you had the feeling the understanding was this would be a temporary privilege. By last night Portland antifa was attacking Democratic campaign headquarters.