Rally

Lacamas Magazine editorials are rare, but given the reaction (over 1,000 comments on the Lacamas Magazine Facebook and Instagram sites) from our coverage of Saturday’s Open Camas Rally, I’d like to lay out a few facts:

1) A reporter’s job is to report the news, so reporting an event isn’t necessarily agreeing or disagreeing with the event or the news itself. It is the news. Why is this rally/protest news? When a group this large (160+ people) peacefully assembles — during a pandemic — to speak out, have their say, and march the streets in front of shuttered businesses, it is newsworthy. I would have covered it had it been a group of environmentalists, teachers, mill workers, students, or even Boy Scouts.

2) Don’t begrudge the reporter. The report is simple and straightforward, and reflects the opinions of a segment of our local population. Lacamas Magazine has provided for months ample, factual, and objective COVID-19 reporting from Governor Jay Inslee, state and local health officials, and first responders. We will continue to do that. Saturday’s rally provided another perspective.

3) This was NOT a collective local business owner-driven event. What do I mean by that? One local business owner helped organize it to demand leaders re-open society; it wasn’t planned as a political event espousing an ideology or particular candidate, though some people brought political signs.

4) Downtown Camas business owners did not organize this rally. They are doing their best to survive right now. Don’t aim any of your anger towards them as that would simply be wrong.

5) The police were present and provided guidance to the demonstrators on how to best conduct themselves, which included staying on the sidewalks and not blocking traffic.

6) I was with the rally participants from 1 pm until approximately 2:30 pm and during that time I did not see any malicious traffic blockage, profanity or anything overtly disrespectful. With that said, watch the video and make your own conclusions: https://youtu.be/8B0306z8hxA

And, one more important matter: Local businesses are preparing to reopen under guidelines that keep changing. They are doing their best to prepare for customers to feel comfortable — and welcome. What are things you suggest they do to help you feel comfortable?

People in a free world are at liberty to express their opinions, and freedom of the press is in our Bill of Rights. I invite you to submit letters to the editor, or even draft opinions, if you’d like.

Thank you for reading,

Ernie

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