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May-08-2007 23:25printcomments

Op Ed: T’ain’t Funny, McGee
All Too True in Oregon Today:
UN-Informed Citizens
Pay Heavy Costs

Elected representatives too often forget what the Oregon people truly want, but it’s a nationwide problem.

donkey and cart
The load may be too much to bear if citizens
don't pay attention today. Photo: foresthillfarms

(BEND, Ore.) - Many among you will clearly remember from whence cometh that “T’Ain’t Funny...” quote: widely-viewed entertainment TV a few years ago. How many will know-as-well the facts about the latest Legislative capers re lavish corporate campaign contributions -- with their now-obvious distorting-perverting impact on every aspect of Oregon law and life?

That single fact, overwhelming in its significance for preserving the proper understandings of how we protect and maintain our vaunted Oregon life-style, provides disturbing proof on where Oregonian attention has been riveted for far too long: On “entertainment” at any cost --instead of those very-demanding state affairs inevitably shaping and supporting every Oregon life.

It is no excuse --for OREGONIANS-- that the same devastating situation has prevailed nationally, too: With overwhelming proof in political history right out there for all to see.

We share the inevitable-now shudders over the major consequences continuing to come home --to roost right on our shoulders while we survey the wreckage we have allowed to occur.

Surely by now it is obvious the prices we are paying for OUR inattention to that same political scourge by elected representatives: Ongoing, repeated inattention to what the Oregon people truly wanted, over that major historical period in our State.

In our prolonged effort, now demanded to rebuild and remake what has been devastated over that full past thirty years, we now discover the painful points-at-issue that we allowed: While we paid less-than-proper attention to what was being done TO us --rather than to what needed to be done FOR the commonweal AND the common family-- we have allowed basic tax-share to be distorted, diverted, and disabled in a number of key contributing areas.

We have allowed such influence by one well known lobbyist that his quoted-boast re keeping his targeted tax in place all that time was literally true; and, only recently, moved to make sure that the State ethics mechanism is “free-and-independent”: With enough whomp and wisdom to operate --as it surely should—for the commonweal good rather than be manipulated for such other purposes as has now been clearly recorded. We have allowed Oregon education to become decimated and deniable to far too many of our young Oregonians from preschool through the top levels of graduate achievement; With major mass destruction of desperately-needed student opportunity to build the basic foundations on which all Oregon business, industry and widespread social achievements must now be based -- in this the 21st Century! Perhaps most poignant of all missed opportunities is that for demanded progress in healthcare for all --a concept uniquely Oregonian-fit since primed and produced early-on by one of our most effective and popular Governors; Now, again, offered to legislators still enraptured by Big Tobacco and Big Pharma and several other Bigs, intent on delay and obstruction and damage wherever it can be done to what the commonman Oregonian has made very clear is needed in pursuit of the proper, well-deserved Oregonian way-of-life. But then, too, there’s that very widespread and ferociously damaging sold-by-distorted-initiative mass raid on land values; now creating chaos in the courts as well as wildly threatening massive well-manipulated repayment from common funds for purported damage to properties. That one, so flawed as to be nearly UN-manageable even via court-consideration, may well end up being returned to further study by those whom it impacts the greatest --the Oregon voter. This time, perhaps --if we pay full attention and learn the real-story- we may be able to make a very valid and effective Oregonian-type decision. What has caused this continuing deep-and-cutting concern, now, with these long-known, long-studied State issues and problems? Where were all those vaunted free-press “in the media” open-channels, for the full and demanded information-needed, over that key span-of-years? They were operating, some with more intensity than others, but each and every one doing their main job of providing precisely the backgrounds and the basic facts demanded for key State-level decision by the voters. You can check for yourselves, in widespread, wide-open public archives made easily available in every one of these open-and-public/serving media operations. Then “what went wrong” all those years? WHY were we NOT “paying attention” in full panoply, as wise voters everywhere must learn to do?

That’s “the big one” -- the question we should ask ourselves, each and every one of us responsible for what happens in OUR State of Oregon. “She Flies With Her Own Wings!” we proudly claim --while allowing others, operating for malign political and personal purposes, to manipulate both the takeoff and the landing processes, right out there in our own Legislature. Those thirty years are long-gone, with no possible way to recall them for another-run even though we now understand so much more about what happened --and who allowed it to happen, too. What we must do, now, is demand and use the full access to key channels for information and background we know we need. Open, continued, democratic dialog --filled with the intensity and information only thus achievable--in every such channel must become an essential to any continuation of our Oregon life-style. That’s what our Founders intended when they chose, so wisely, their very FIRST Amendment. It has always been the key element and the strongest possible foundation for all wise --and democratic-- decision, ever since that early one we made ‘way back in 1776.


Note for Reader:
For extremely comprehensive treatment of the major issues leading to deep discontent on our national status --surely reflected in Oregon-- see: “One day you’re gonna wake up, America” at www.informationclearinghouse.info/article17651.htm. The writer is David Michael Green, professor of political science at Hofstra University.




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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.

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