October 12th is the last day to register to vote in Oregon. Moved recently? New in town? Here’s the link to register on-line. http://www.osbar.org/public/vote/Voting.htm
I am trying hard to think what to say about this Fall’s election. It’s the most important election of our lifetimes. And that leads me to the thought that every election is the most important. Here’s why this one is important and why I hope that everyone I know will do whatever they can to encourage everyone they know to register to vote, to help good candidates out (financially, if possible – in person, putting up a yard sign, whatever!!!), and to cast your ballot.
In Oregon: we’re electing a new governor. The choices in this race are stark. As in the presidential race, when you elect the head cheese, you’re basically electing thousands of people – from the heads of various departments, commissions, and all of their various staffs. It’s a big deal – and it generally turns out to be a popularity contest – and that is helped along by fundraising – and now there are no holds barred on that fundraising – it can come from anywhere, at any level. So, please, look closely at this race and others and see where the money is coming from and what the candidate and his minions will be about. My hunch is that the State House and Senate will stay in Dem hands. Having an R governor will make it much harder for the legislative body to do much of anything (The Gov signs off on most of what is passed, and I don’t trust an R Gov to support what the Dems in the Legislature put forward). So far the Dems in the House and Senate have been doing a better and better job (IMHO) and I’d like to see them continue to govern the state without hindrance. Also, Kitzhaber has been a leader in healthcare issues nationally and I’d like to see what he’ll do on this front. Dudley? Can’t get much of a read on him, but so far am underwhelmed. But please, take a look at this race, it’s important to those who live in Oregon and beyond. I decided to fully back John Kitzhaber and donated money via this website to his campaign: http://www.actblue.com/entity/fundraisers/22914
Oregon Portland area? Metro Council President. Bob Stacey (happy birthday, Bob), and Tom Hughes. Metro makes a lot of decisions that effect those who live in the Metro area – beyond the zoo and expo center, there’s lots of decisions about land-use planning. Stacey was the former head of 1,000 Friends of Oregon and will be a more careful steward of something I love – something that makes Oregon stand out around the country, and that’s the Urban Growth Boundary. When you leave the Metro area you hit countryside. I like that, and believe that Stacey will be a better steward of our rural areas and keep them from turning into industrial parks. There is a huge emphasis on bringing more jobs to a place via building industrial parks. I don’t buy it, and would prefer that we work with what we have – there is tons of land that is vacant within the urban growth boundary; there is tons of vacant office space – IMHO we don’t need to turn our farmland into more of anything but farmland. But that’s another discussion for another day. I’m an environmentalist. I work to preserve farmland, forests and other natural things. Everyone I know in that world is backing Stacey which has made this an easier decision for me. Again, look at this race and make your own decision, but know that it’s an important one.
For Mult Co. Commission Seat #2 there are two great women working, I’m leaning Kollymore partly because I’ve worked with her in the past and she’s been encouraging me on my anti-idling public awareness campaign, but both women would probably be great here.
Initiatives? Yes, we’ve got plenty. Parks and Wildlife? I’m for it. Med Marijuana – hell yeah! Increasing jail sentences? Nah. In PDX: Voter Owned Elections? YES! And there are more – please spend some time learning about them, and we’ll have a voting party where we’ll discuss these sometime before the election once people have their ballots.
Beyond the OR boundaries? Well, there’s a lot going on and a lot at stake. Here’s where a call to arms is really warranted.
My good friend, Brian Hasset, a Canadian, follows US politics closer than anyone I know in the US – puts is clearly at the end of this message.
My friend, Mike, sent me this article yesterday detailing what the R’s will do if they gain control of the House and/or Senate. http://www.slate.com/id/2268442/
And, if you want to get more inspiration read some Michael Moore. Or, think it over yourself.
Yes, Obama has not been all that many of us had hoped for. But he’s also done a ton, and there’s a possibility that a ton more will get done (see my comment above about what happens when you elect the head cheese….). Ie, things are happening in executive departments – regulation of industry is coming back into fashion, the EPA is getting back into the business of protecting us again, and we have a new healthcare reform that will make sure that people get healthcare.
That said, there are many disappointments, and we all know them – the economy, wars, don’t ask don’t tell, etc. But none of this will improve with the R’s in control of either legislative house. The stew that is our legislative branch will turn into cement/gridlock, call it what you will.
So, what can you do? Well, if you live in SW Washington, you can vote for the Dem. If you live in Salem or thereabouts, you can vote for Schrader (D). Yeah, that’s my recommendation, that you and everyone you know vote for the Dem in every House and Senate Race in the Country. There may be a rational Republican out there that I don’t know about – but lately they’re becoming more and more tea-partyish/Palinesque (and not the Monty Python sort) – and that’s not the country we want to live in. So, until the Republican party wrests itself back from the fear-mongering, irrational, fascistic mess that its become, they shouldn’t be encouraged by being given the power to legislate.
Thanks for listening to my thinking. I know it’s not perfect, and somewhat simplistic, but the main point I want to stress is: vote. Research what’s going on in this election, and encourage others to do so. And then vote. Make sure your friends are registered to vote. Take a moment and help them do it – soon. In Oregon, October 12th is the last day to register, but don’t wait that long.
Brian sez: “If you don’t vote, you ARE voting for Sarah Palin.
If you whine that somebody isn’t progressive enough, you ARE voting for Agent Orange to control the House.
If you vote for a third party, you’re voting for the Third Reich to retake control.
If you think you’re too cool to vote, you’re voting for hell to freeze over.
If you think the Democratic candidate isn’t perfect enough for you, you’re voting for the repeat criminals to take over the asylum again.
If you’re thinking you’re beyond all this petty voting stuff, then you should be in a petting zoo.
This is between Democrats and war criminals, between a party that wants health care and one that wants waterboarding.
If you think you’re too good for politics, then you aren’t good enough to be an American.”