May Day is a great day to show support for working people, to celebrate the return of the growing season and even to procreate.
But busting up windows, setting fires and throwing rocks at police are decidedly not in the spirit of spring renewal.
It’s just vandalism. Ultimately, breaking things is a political failure. So are thuggery, rioting and intimidation.
Indeed, there was no coherent message from the group that took over Olympia streets Monday evening and was described by Olympia police as a mob.
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Some among the 50 who gathered and marched along Capitol Way were wearing black and had covered their faces with bandannas or masks.
Some held signs with the messages, “Become Ungovernable” and “Delete the Port.”
The capital city was not alone in hosting May Day protests. Self-described anarchists struck in other Northwest cities.
For some, Republican President Donald Trump is the wrong man in the White House. And “the man” in all his manifestations or guises — local banks included — needed to be swatted in the face.
In Olympia, where “the man” was not immediately available, the windows of local businesses were the senseless targets.
In Portland, a police car was set on fire. In Seattle, pro-Trump and anti-Trump protesters made peace around the smoking of marijuana.
By Tuesday morning in Olympia, plywood was stuck like a Band-Aid over the window gaps at the downtown Starbucks.
Why hit the Seattle-based coffee chain? Perhaps it stands as a symbol of corporate ownership or creeping globalism.
Windows at two banks were also smashed — at national chain US Bank and at locally owned Olympia Federal Savings Bank. The latter is where a few homeless people were ousted from a makeshift camp in a parking area a few weeks ago.
If the goal was to attack big institutions, it’s worth noting that the protest took place largely in a shopping district known for its bevy of shops that are locally invented, locally owned and locally operated.
Unfortunately these kinds of protests that last only a few hours can leave visitors with the feeling that Olympia’s downtown is not safe.
At last count, Olympia police detained and arrested nine people for investigation of malicious mischief. If there is evidence to charge the offenders, prosecutors should proceed.
In the end, breakage is breakage. It won’t lead to constructive changes.
Just ask the far-right fools who occupied the national refuge at Malheur, Oregon, more than a year ago. They left behind trash but no inspiration or legacy worth owning.
Was May Day in Olympia really any different at its core?