This article was originally published by CounterPunch on April 27, 2018

While Trump was ordering his Navy ships to rain missiles on Syria, Oregon’s anti-Trump Democrat “resistance” was planning a grand birthing ceremony, welcoming the U.S.S. Portland into Trump’s array of Navy death machines.

Oregon’s Democrats are among the most “progressive” in the country, the mayor of its biggest city, its governor, and both U.S. Senators make national headlines competing for the title “most anti-Trump Democrat.”

Every one of them directly participated in the U.S.S. Portland commissioning ceremony, the mayor going as far as declaring April 21st, “U.S.S Portland day.” The ceremony was as ultra-nationalist and pro-military as they come, at a time where Trump’s military is attacking Syria and threatening a regional conflagration.

Oregon Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley were both honorary members of the “commissioning committee” that planned the grand Navy ceremony, while both mayor and governor spoke at the event (the ceremony fired Howitzer cannons in honor of the governor).

The mayor’s speech was the epitome of cognitive dissonance, projecting his liberal illusions onto the ship’s bloody intentions.  The mayor falsely claimed that the ship’s purpose was “humanitarian,” and would deliver “critical aid during emergencies.” The mayor seemed serious when he called the U.S.S. Portland “a force for peace…carrying our city’s name throughout the world.”

The hippy dreams of the mayor were instantly shattered when a Navy admiral addressed the crowd, confirming that the ship was built for war.  The admiral bragged about the killing capacity of the U.S.S. Portland, informing the audience that the vessel is meant to lead ground invasions and is equipped with state of the art missile systems and a powerful weaponized laser beam.  He said that the U.S.S. Portland was meant to “take the fight ashore” and “exploit all facets of amphibious warfare,” allowing her to execute “expeditionary warfare operations.”

The admiral said the ship was “tailor-made for the dynamic South Pacific,” meaning that the U.S.S. Portland would be responsible for directly confronting China’s military in its backyard.

Governor Kate Brown, speaking after the admiral, followed his lead:

She thanked the Navy for “protecting peace” since “freedom is not free.” She praised the “dedicated warriors willing to put themselves in harms way to protect our liberties… defending democracy is an age of unprecedented threats.”Brown called the U.S. military a “global force for good,” and ended with the standard “God bless America.”

Trump couldn’t have said it better and could even raise a possible fuss about the governor plagiarizing his prior speeches.

Oregon’s Democrats kept a low profile locally about their militaristic speech-making, which would have stayed mostly under wraps if not for the light poured onto it by the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) who called out the Democrats on Twitter and made a excellent video of the ceremony that captured the greatest moments of hypocrisy.

DSA also organized a protest that was co-sponsored by ten other local organizations, including Jobs For Justice, Veterans For Peace, Don’t Shoot PDX, and the Portland Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines.

One of the speakers at the protest, Grant Walter from Socialist Alternative, said that “If you are an elected official and do not come out against this commissioning, consider yourself pro-war.”

He’s of course right.

The emcee of the event, Olivia Katbi-Smith, who is a co-Chair of Portland DSA, discussed how the $2 billion warship that was being praised by the Democrats was robbing the United States of quality healthcare, education, housing, and other basic services.

Katbi-Smith is also Syrian, and said to the press:

“I and others in Portland’s Arab community have family living in Syria, whose lives are vulnerable to Trump’s military actions. It’s disgraceful that Portland City Council is essentially endorsing this war, by celebrating a vessel that could soon be deployed in the Mediterranean to help attack Syria.”

The big picture here is that the pro-military attitude of the Democratic Party is teaching Trump that war can save his presidency.  While Trump was bombing Syria, the explosions silenced the criticism at home; there was barely an anti-war view expressed among the media or Democratic Party.  The only criticism voiced was that Trump hadn’t gone far enough, that Assad’s military was still intact, implying that the solution was a “more effective”, deeper, military assault.

Trump is surely watching the reaction to the Democrat’s “resistance,” and learning.  War is the solution to his problems.

Portland’s antiwar organizers demanded an end to imperialist war, and locally demanded that Portland city council rescind the mayor’s declaration that made April 21st U.S.S. Portland Day. Protesters also want City Council to issue a public statement to the Navy, insisting that it change the name of the U.S.S. Portland, as protester after protester said “not in our name.”

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Shamus Cooke is a member of the Portland branch of Democratic Socialists of America. He can be reached at shamuscooke@gmail.com