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As Trump-Biden Outcome Remains Uncertain, Progressives Rally Outside Federal Courthouse

Brian Bull

As counting continues in the Presidential Race, several hundred people held a “Rally for Democracy” event outside the federal courthouse in Eugene today. 

Speakers led the crowd in songs, and spoke of better days ahead should Joe Biden beat Donald Trump in this dominantly blue area.

Credit Brian Bull / KLCC
Ellen Furstner, who says she's deeply concerned for the future of women's reproductive rights under newly placed U.S. Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett.

Ellen Furstner of Marcola held a sign depicting a bloody coat hanger.

“It represents when abortions were illegal," she explained. A former midwife, she recalled when women had to induce abortions through "quack doctors", "well-meaning" friends, or by themselves.

"Now with the new Supreme Court judge, it looks like we’re going to go back to those times.”

As far as coping with stress and uncertainty, Furstner says she gardens a lot and enjoys the support of family and friends.

Another attendee, 15-year-old Eitan Wacks of Eugene, was there to show support for his LGBTQ classmates.

“I am an ally," Wacks said, holding a sign depicting 'The Count' from the PBS Children's Show, "Sesame Street". 

"LGBTQ rights are very important to me, and climate change is very important because that is an immediate issue that we need to get on top of.”

Wacks says having been confined to home a lot during the COVID-19 pandemic, this is the first rally he's been to in recent memory.  He says his coping mechanism for stress and uncertainty during turbulent times is to "keep working", which he attributes to his mother. 

Credit Brian Bull / KLCC
Eitan Wacks holds his sign at today's "Rally for Democracy" rally in Eugene.

The Trump Administration’s actions on Planned Parenthood, transgender rights, climate change, and immigration have many progressives concerned over the possibility of “four more years.”

Progressives continue to urge calm and patience as several elections remain in limbo, the most pivotal one being the presidential race between President Donald J. Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden. 

As of Wednesday afternoon after winning key battleground states like Wisconsin, Arizona, and Michigan, Biden was nearing the essential 270 electoral votes while the president has threatened legal action.

Among those speaking at the “Rally for Democracy” event, was Marty Wilde.  Wilde himself was coming out of Election Night a bit haggard, but the State House Democrat for District 11 said his military service taught him something.

“When I went to Afghanistan to help them rebuild their government, the hardest thing to teach them was to have some confidence in justice and the rule of law," Wilde told the audience. 

Credit Brian Bull / KLCC
State House District 11 Rep. Marty Wilde, fresh off his successful re-election bid.

"They would point to us and say, ‘Look, you’ve screwed up in so many different ways.’  And I would say, ‘Yes, but you could do better.’ And we could do better, and we’re all working towards that goal (CHEERS, APPLAUSE) …”

Wilde himself won his re-election bid. His district includes Eugene, Creswell, and rural portions of Lane and Linn Counties.

Copyright 2020, KLCC.

Brian Bull is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, and remains a contributor to the KLCC news department. He began working with KLCC in June 2016.   In his 27+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional),  the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from  the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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