Tag Archives: Portland

When Will Integrity Become Fashionable Again?

5 Jun

The GOP On The Wrong Side of History

The past 134 days, 10 hours, and 8 minutes have been far more excruciating than I would have ever thought. 45 has managed to encourage and  celebrate racism, Islamophobia, homophobia, and misogyny in unprecedented ways. We seem to wake up everyday to discover yet another way in which 45 has trashed the Constitution of the United States and found ways to install himself as dictator.  According to NBC News, CBS News, Slate.com, and the Southern Poverty Law Center’s collected data, Hate Crimes have risen exponentially — specifically crimes against the LGBT community, Jews, women, people of color, and Muslims.

Here in Portland, Oregon the White Supremacist group/pro-Trump rally will march on Sunday, in the wake of the murders of Ricky Best and Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche. These murders were committed by White Supremacist, Jeremy Joseph Christian. Sadly, despite the efforts of Mayor Ted Wheeler to ask the group not to march on Sunday, the response was: “if you don’t let us march, we can’t guarantee there won’t be violence.”

Violence seems to be the language of the Republican party today. The GOP encourage it, reward it, and celebrate it. We have no further to look at last week’s debacle with Greg Gianforte. Gianforte was approached by a journalist from the Guardian, Ben Jacobs. After Jacobs asked a question about healthcare, the multi-millionaire Gianforte grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands, body slammed him, and threw him to the ground breaking his glasses. Sadly and disgustingly, the GOP rallied around the millionaire and vilified the journalist. It does not take much to connect the dots here.

When the President of the United States vilifies the free press by declaring that “the free press is the enemy of the state,” it is not a surprise that Gianforte and the other GOP bullies feel emboldened to become physically violent. I thought people who are leaders and in positions of power were supposed to model how to be in community and how to use our words. Rather, what is being modeled is physical violence and an inability to be honest and honor the First Amendment. Maybe it is just me, but I don’t believe Gianforte should be allowed to hold public office.  Lest we forget another obnoxious example of Republican violence against the press: New York Republican Michael Grimm. Grimm threatened a reporter and said: “Let me be clear to you. If you ever do that to me again I will throw you off this fucking balcony.”  Sorry, that just does not seem like leadership qualities to me. Fortunately, Grimm is now in prison — not for assault against people in the press, but for the breaking of tax laws. Speaking of which, where are 45’s tax returns? Oh, right. We have not seen them.

The bigger picture for me and what I find most profoundly disturbing, is there does not seem to be one member in the Republican party who has just a shred of integrity or human decency. There is no one willing to come forward and call out bad, illegal, and unethical behavior.  Unlike Watergate, there is no one willing to stand up to 45. Where is our John Dean? 45 continues to lie to the American people and to the press and not one Republican officeholder finds this problematic. The new Trumpcare health plan will deny 23 million people access to health care, including me and my family, and Ayn Rand’s response, oops, I mean Paul Ryan’s response was: (my computer always does auto-correct from Paul Ryan to Ayn Rand) “We are keeping our promise.” It is very difficult not to hear the racism here as, “We promise to undo everything that black man did.”

Sadly, every day just seems to get worse and worse. I wake up each morning waiting  to learn what human rights will this administration violate, what more supports will be put in place that dismantle democracy and firmly establish an authoritarian government. Is there anyone who can put this man and his administration in check? I grow exhausted with the tagline being pushed over at Fox and by 45’s team that he is “working for America.”  What America are y’all talking about? I, too, live in America, as does my husband, my black friends and family members, my queer Muslim family members, my Latino friends and family. 45 is not working to help us!

The one place where 45 told the truth was when he declared “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and not lose any voters.”  Apparently, that has now turned out to be true. I am more than just a little sad about what this says about our country. Trump is not just shooting somebody, he is hurting over two thirds of the population of the United States, not to mention all of the people on the earth he is harming because of his delusional beliefs around climate change. Where are the GOP voices that will shout out “Enough!”? There must be one of you that has a modicum of integrity.

I can only hope that “Covfefe” means Impeachment.

Homophobia Sneaks in Everywhere: From Mississippi to Oregon

6 Apr
LGBT Folk Not Welcome

LGBT Folk Not Welcome

I could feel my heart being crushed at the news that the Republican Governor of Mississippi, Phil Bryant, signed a bill on Friday that makes it legal to discriminate against people in the LGBT community.  While not surprising coming from Mississippi, it is nonetheless disappointing. Not the first and probably not the last time the state of Mississippi is on the wrong side of history–this is not a state known for equity and equality.

Sadly, closer to home, I realize that the purported progressive Portland, Oregon hosts many homophobes as well. Last week, it came to light that the owner of The Moreland Farmers Pantry, in Sellwood, a Portland neighborhood, spewed her homophobic views. Owner Chauncy Childs posted this on her Facebook page about gays and same-sex marriage: “…a tiny minority is dictating a change of our social structure.”  I guess a population wanting equality and equity needs to be more than just a “tiny” 10% of the population. Childs went on to say that she supports the right of businesses to refuse to serve gay people.  The Charm Free Childs went on to say:

…that gay marriage is wrong because it is the start of a slippery slope that could eventually lead to pedophilia and bigamy.

Rest assured Ms. Childs, my gay husband and I will not get in our gay car find a gay parking spot and enter your store of hate.

Call to action: I would please ask that all of us LGBT folk in that “tiny population” boycott The Moreland Farmers Pantry.  May I also ask all of our allies to also boycott Ms. Childs’ Farmers Pantry.

Sadly, the latest homophobic episodes in Mississippi and Oregon are just a constant reminder that we are never completely safe and that we must constantly remain vigilant against homophobic bigots.

YES to Fluoridation…

6 May

Yes on 26When the whole issue of fluoridation for Portland water came up recently, I thought, naively, big woo.  Who cares?  Really is this an issue we need to be concerned about?  However, in the past six weeks, it has become a big deal, as I read the literature available and watched both campaigns for and against, I have to say I have come to strongly believe that we must vote YES on Fluoridation.

I have come around to this decision from a social justice and equity perspective.  While the campaign against make some interesting points and express legitimate concerns, the overwhelming scientific evidence and efforts toward equity in health care for Portlanders has won me over. Sadly, Oregon ranks in the top ten states for uninsured residents, with 35% of children having untreated tooth decay. Oral hygiene contributes to overall health in significant ways beyond tooth decay throughout life. While fluoride is especially helpful to children, it is important for low income and marginalized adults and seniors as well.

Portland is the largest (and one of only eight) major city in the country not to fluoridate its water. Opposition is mainly based on scare tactics that exploit and distort minor facts and half truths. The information that opponents use — linking fluoride to bone cancer, sick pets, and damaged wildlife — overlook two key facts. Significantly, the very data they use has been incorporated into the fluoridation proposal to ensure that levels will be safe and effective both. Second, many of the studies that are cited refer to other forms of fluoride, a natural mineral that — like many — can be beneficial or harmful depending on its form and its intensity.

Toothpaste and mouthwash aren’t enough, or Oregon (#48 nationwide in fluoridation rates) would not have the terrible oral hygiene problems that it does. The poor, elderly, and underserved are disproportionately impacted by not taking this simple, SAFE step. Again, I would point to the issue of equity.  If we remove barriers for underserved populations for tooth decay, pain, lost time in school, and periodontal disease, we are investing in everyone’s future by creating a stronger Portland with a stronger workforce. Dozens of organizations — including the ADA, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the NASW — support this sensible move. Gov. John Kitzhaber, MD, has been a vocal advocate.

Portlanders should engage their civic spirit and sense of care for their fellows and vote yes on 26-151.

What Kind of Crack is the Tea Party Smoking?

21 Apr

Who Cares About Safe Bridges?

I’m sure that everyone remembers the tragic loss of 35 lives when the I-35 bridge in Minneapolis suddenly collapsed in 2007.  In addition to the loss of 35 lives, there were 145 people injured. Most of us took this as a call to arms to evaluate bridge safety across the country. I happen to live in the City of Bridges, Portland, Oregon. We have one bridge in particular, the 85-year-old Sellwood Bridge, that has scored a 2 out of a possible perfect score of 100.  Emergency vehicles are no longer allowed on the bridge.  My husband and I actually refuse to cross the bridge for fear it will collapse at any time.

Gratefully, Oregonians were smart enough to say we need to raise funds to build a new bridge.  The whopping cost to drivers is an additional $5.00 a year per vehicle registration.  One should note that Oregon has one of the lowest vehicle registration costs in the nation. We moved here from Atlanta and our car registration is now less than 10% of what it was in Georgia.  All was going well until some Tea Party member cried about Clackamas County having to pay for a percentage of the new bridge, when the bridge is in Multnomah County.  One should note that 70% of the drivers  that depend on this bridge every day are from Clackamas County.  Yes, many people from Clackamas County depend on this bridge to get to work everyday–now is not the time to leave a job just to stay on the east side of the river. The Tea Party has managed to now put the issue on a special ballot in May.  Again, we have an example of the Tea Party having absolutely no concern for the public at large.  Honestly, I have no idea what the Tea Party’s agenda is.  Am I the only one to find complaining about $5.00 a year to build a new necessary bridge insane?  Click here to take action and stop the Tea Party!

Celebrating Paulann Petersen, Oregon Poet Laureate

2 Apr

In recognition of National Poetry Month, The Solipsistic Me would like to honor and celebrate Paulann Petersen, Oregon’s sixth Poet Laureate.

Born in Portland in 1942, Petersen has lived in Oregon her entire life (other than her undergraduate years at Pomona College in Claremont, CA). Her poetry was originally inspired by the high plateaus around Klamath Falls, where she lived for years. Her first published poem appeared in the Sunday Oregonian in 1975. After years of teaching, she took on poetry full time. She now lives in southeast Portland.

Petersen’s poetry covers a wide range of subjects, often with a uniquely Oregon point of view. She frequently celebrates Oregon’s landscape, beauty, and structures. She has won numerous awards, including the Stewart Holbrook Award for Outstanding Contributions to Oregon’s Literary Life in 2006.

Paulann is also a wonderful, charming human being. Her background as a teacher and love of sharing poetry make her the perfect ambassador for Oregon poetry. As a member of the board of Friends of William Stafford, she also continues his tradition of using poetry for social action.  For more information, visit her website.

Most of Petersen’s works are available from libraries all over the country. They are also included in the Oregon Poetry Collection, a joint project of the Oregon Center for the Book and the Oregon State Poetry Association, at the Oregon State Library.

Paulann Petersen also does many public readings. She will be reading and speaking about poetry as part of the State Library’s spring lecture series on April 13.

Hero of the Week Award, January 28, 2011

28 Jan

As usual, I always delight in posting the HWA.  For those detractors of mine, of which I seem to have an increasing number of, that declare I am anti-Christian, you will appreciate that this weeks HWA goes to the Reverend Chuck Currie. While I am not a Christian, I do appreciate those religious people that are trying to make the world a better place. Rev. Currie, a Portlander, consistently post compassionate and loving stories on his blog about the LGBT community and about women’s rights and about Human rights in general.  I applaud you Rev. Currie.  Keep up the good work. Click here to see his blog.

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