(Oregon At The Crossroads . . .)
My own journey “If you remember the sixties, you weren't really there.” —I. Dunno
I remember the sixties, vividly, never having touched anything stronger than milk and cookies at that time—I was nine when the decade ended. Yet I remember the excitement of change, the aura of possibilities. I remember young people rebelling against the frightening powers of the military, the national guard, and the police, sometimes by sticking flowers into the end of rifle barrels. It probably wasn't until years later that I learned of Abbie Hoffman's attempt to levitate the Pentagon, but that decade left me with the impression that anything was possible.
For years, my political life was motivated by Republican presidents. Nixon's downfall at the hands of Woodward and Bernstein led me to study journalism in college. Reagan's dismantling of this country's environmental protections led me to Oregon and law school at Lewis & Clark. Bush bombed Baghdad and I worked with others to start the Pacific Party.
Democrats vs. Republicans Unfortunately, John Kitzhaber has turned out to be the most recent proof that there isn’t much of a difference. Governor Kitzhaber has stood by idly while our public lands are logged and destroyed for private profit. I've been amazed to discover how few people realize that private companies log our national and state forests. These forests provide us with the purest drinking water in the world. This clean water is the basis for a number of industries in Oregon, including the billion dollar fishing industry, high-tech industries, and tourism and recreation. What's worse than the destruction of public lands for private profit is that we, the taxpayers, subsidize this destruction. It’s been documented in the public record, and a recent GAO report confirmed it just this spring. Logging road construction and timber sales on public lands are money-losing propositions. Why doesn’t the public seem to notice these things?
I think that John Kitzhaber unofficially announced his campaign for re-election when he signed a bill to recriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana. In an effort to look "tough on crime," the Governor is willing to scapegoat and lock up hundreds of thousands of peaceful, otherwise law-abiding citizens. It’s bad public policy because it invades people’s privacy. It criminalizes an activity in which there is absolutely no victim rather than punishing specific behaviors that threaten or harm innocent people. The state of Oregon estimates the cost of this measure at an additional $1.2 million dollars. That doesn’t begin to tally the human suffering and social fracturing caused by such laws. John Lennon wrote "I'm sick and tired of hearing things from up-tight, short-sighted, narrow-minded hypocrites. All I want is the truth. Just give me some truth." Well, the truth is that a change toward sane public policy is possible. And the truth is that the road we're on now, a highway to hell paved by Democrats and Republicans alike, leads to a bleak future.
Third Party Potential Throughout our history, "third" parties have played a major role. The Republican Party actually started out as a third party. Third parties have been responsible for major innovations inclu-ding social security and securing for women the right to vote.
Some people feel that voting for a "third" party candidate is a wasted vote. Nothing could be further from the truth. The truly wasted vote is one cast for a candidate you don't believe in. The problem with voting for the "lesser of two evils" is that it leads inevitably to voting for “the evil of two lessers.” If a Democrat or Republican knows that, because of party affiliation, you'll vote for them no matter what, they have no reason to listen to your concerns. What difference does it make? You'll vote for them again anyway. And again. And again. And things will never change.
Voting is not just a privilege, it's a responsibility. People struggle, even die for the right elsewhere in the world. Make your vote count by contributing to a spiritual and political evolution. Walk a refreshing green path with the Pacific Party and me. The future begins right here in the present.
Blair Bobier is the Pacific Party’s candidate for Governor of Oregon. He also serves as Executive Director of the Northwest Democracy Insitute, a non-partisan, non-profit organization committed to all citizens having a voice in government. To learn more, visit the Pacific Party website at www.pacificparty.org, or call 503.238.1856.