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Will Betsy Johnson Speak Out Against Racist Symbols at Her Campaign Rallies?

[Portland, OR] – Yesterday, OPB’s Dirk VanderHart reported on the use of white supremacist and far-right symbols at a campaign event organized by former Senator Betsy Johnson.

As VanderHart reported:

“Shirts bearing the Confederate flag and ‘Let’s go Brandon’ — a coded epithet against President Joe Biden — dot the crowd, and most people you talk to tend to support one political party. 

“‘I’m a Republican. I’m a harsh Republican,’ says Keith Forsythe, a Deer Island businessman keen to tell a reporter about his displeasure with President Biden. ‘I slam my TV set off if that dickweed shows up on it.’”

OPB’s reporting begs the question: Will Betsy Johnson publicly condemn the use of the Confederate flag and all other racist symbols at her campaign events?

The Confederate flag is a widely recognized symbol of racist intolerance. In 2016, after nine Black members of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina were murdered in a racially motivated mass shooting, national pressure mounted to remove the Confederate battle flag from public grounds. 

In Oregon, Tina was a leader in the effort to remove the Mississippi state flag from the Oregon Capitol grounds because of its Confederate imagery. The Mississippi flag was removed from the Capitol’s Walk of Flags in March 2016.

As Senator Lew Frederick told reporters at the time: “I grew up with this flag, and it was used around me for the same reasons it even exists. To taunt African Americans, to remind us of our status in the historical South, and to remind us of exactly what it symbolizes to those who carry or display it: racism and their attachment to racism.”

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