Nearly drowned out by honking cars, a chanting mob of about 250 Plaza protesters Thursday shouted “Save our democracy” and “No one is above the law,” following the seeming endangerment of the Robert Mueller investigation of Russia meddling in the 2016 election triggered by the firing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Protests on the curb of East Main Street in Ashland have been frequent in recent years, but this demonstration, two days after midterm elections, was especially vociferous. Many signs called for the protection of Mueller’s probe.
“I’m here to support Mueller and democracy and simply, no one is above the law,” said demonstrator Marya Metivier. “Trump is not above the law, period.”
Chris Wiltz said, “I’m here to protect democracy. Mueller is very important. Trump is not above the law. My fear is he will now go after Mueller and stop him. I don’t think he can be stopped, though.”
Activist Livia Genise observed, “I’m so proud to be here with people who care about country more than party. I’m afraid if the Mueller report is stopped, then indictments won’t go forward and justice will be obstructed.”
John Brinnand said, “We’re facing a choice of what the American character will be — open and transparent, courageous, accepting or fearful, insular and reactionary.”
Having driven up from Yreka for the protest, Abigail VanAlyn said, “I’m completely and utterly outraged about what’s going on in our government and how this Matthew Whitaker had been elevated to temporary Attorney General, when he’s completely unqualified and has conflicts of interest, to put it mildly.”
One demonstrator had been at it for half a century. “I don’t want anything to get in the way of Mueller,” said Ann Johnson. “I don’t want to be a hateful protester, but I worked for (Vice President) Hubert Humphrey in the early 1960s and had (Oregon Congressman) Al Ullman for a neighbor and back then people got together and talked.”
John Hawksley said, “I’m tired of Republicans trashing the environment, suppressing voting, politically corrupting the Supreme Court, (it’s decision on) Citizens United ... has done more to corrupt democracy than anything Trump has done — and I’m tired of the racism and support of dictators around the world.”
Linda Guss said she’s “outraged at the disregard for rule of law, which has been displaced by Trump and his cronies, including the new acting Attorney General, who is part of the co-law breakers.”
Social justice activist Jason Houk, who organized the demonstration, said, “We American citizens are pretty fed up with one assault after another on democracy, starting with the refusal of Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court, the attacks on LGBTQ and immigrants. Enough is enough. Now, the Mueller investigation needs not to be meddled with.”
Some 400,000 people nationwide signed up online to participate in 1,000 demonstrations, including those at Medford’s Vogel Plaza and the Josephine County Courthouse, Houk posted.
Houk’s online notice said, “We call on Senator Ron Wyden, Senator Jeff Merkley and Representative Greg Walden to do everything in their power to prevent President Trump from firing Mueller. Americans deserve full and truthful answers to ensure the security and sanctity of our election system is never compromised again.”
John Darling is an Ashland freelance writer. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.