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Posts published in “Day: December 22, 2020”

And so it begins

or xgr

Well, that didn't get off to a hopeful start.

The Oregon Legislature met on Monday for a one-day, quick-and-out session intended to pass emergency pandemic-related legislation which wasn't really all that controversial.

So much for that.

A writer from Portland showed up at the Oregon Statehouse early Monday - "entirely too early to be alive" and reported seeing: "a bunch of far right activists have gathered to protest the state government's decision to close their legislative session to the public today." (The numbers of protesters, estimated at around 100 to 150, were smaller than at many other Statehouse events around the country, but enough to do damage and intimidate.)

The doors to the Statehouse were closed, all right, because of people like them: Or put another way, to avoid turning a legislative session into a mass Covid-19 super-spreader event.

Some of the people outside were carrying high-powered firearms, which was another good reason not to let them in. They also called for arrest of the governor (who, they may not have known, doesn't work out of the Statehouse).

No bullets were filed and, unlike in Idaho, none of the glass doors were broken - the Oregon police succeeded generally in maintaining control of the building - but mace and bear spray was exchanged. Four people were arrested.

Inside, a Republican senator from Roseburg stalked off the floor, tearing off his mask, after declaring he was perfectly willing to wear one but refused to be required to.

Is this the kind of session Oregon has to look forward to in coming months?

Time to listen up


As the Republican Party - from state houses to Congress - sinks slowly into the cowardly, almost loony morass of its own making, we are left to wonder if this nation is about to become ungovernable.

The evidence is everywhere. Look at many GOP governors, from coast to coast, who absolutely refuse to do their sworn duties to confront the COVID-19 deadly consequences head-on. No orders for mask wearing. No orders to shutter businesses like bars and restaurants or other public gathering places. No urgent official expressions for citizens within their jurisdictions to hunker down. And stay there!

In Congress, the utterly unfathomable actions of more than 120 GOP members to put their signatures to the Texas Attorney General’s ridiculous attempt to overturn presidential voting decisions in four other states. Actually put themselves up for certain public disgrace by voluntarily supporting a lie-filled, dead-on-arrival appeal to the United States Supreme Court to change the 2020 presidential votes in other sovereign states.

I’m no lawyer. But, you could see the SCOTUS reaction to such a desperate attempt to deep-six the will of the people a long, long way before the legal axe fell.

Yes, Democrats have a slim majority in the House. And, depending on the runoff elections in Georgia, they could even lock up the Senate with 50-50 seating and tie-breaking decisions in the hands of Vice President-elect Harris sitting in the President of the Senate’s chair.
But, if Georgia voters sustain Republican candidates for the Senate, the numbers will be 52-48. How, then, could President-Elect Biden manage to implement all those campaign promises? Will the Senate, as it has recently under the thumb of Mitch McConnell, become the dead-end for whatever legislation Biden and the Democrats produce?

Odds are plainly, yes.

This country is hurting. The divisions extant from border-to-border are increasingly deepening for lack of real government action at both the state and national levels. Deadlock and lack of willingness of political leaders to get off their asses and lead.

Folks out here in the neighborhoods don’t have $170-thousand-a-year jobs - don’t have staffs to carry their burden - aren’t supported by lobbyist perks - aren’t living lives of privilege.

What they ARE living with are massive layoffs, business failures - many because of our national pandemic - health care costs driving others into bankruptcy and near-starvation in many instances.

At the national level, unreasonable tariffs and Trump’s heavy-hand breaking international treaties have resulted in increased prices in the marketplace. Other factors such as automation wiping out jobs normally done by workers, technological advances requiring retraining - retraining a lot of folks can’t afford - are crippling our country.

There are two more factors overlaying all of this. One, of course, is the pandemic which is affecting all of us. For those who continue to live as if COVID is someone else’s problem, well, wait a little longer - maybe tomorrow - and see if you can continue your “normal” activities without infection. Or maybe, death.

As far as this country’s concerned, the pandemic couldn’t have hit at a worse time. Not that there is actually a “good” time. But, complicating our national response is a President who’s repeatedly lied about what was already here and who’s seemingly washed his hands of leadership. Or, even responsibility. By his incompetence and a degree of self-service not seen since Nero, he’s had a leading role in putting an unconscionable load on our national healthcare system. Because of his indolence, thousands have died and many more thousands are likely scarred for life.

Add to that the fear those most of us feel for our own health and safety. Again the failure of most Republican governors to take actions to help alleviate those largely too real, local concerns.

The second factor affecting most of us is feeling our voices, pleading for help, are falling on deaf ears in Washington. A national sense of no recognition of - and no response to - our immediate needs. In fact, the division between Congress and the rest of us may be the single greatest divide in our nation today.

We need responsive government action at all levels. Not handouts or new welfare programs. We need job training to put people back to work. We need help for the newly-unemployed to pay the rent or the mortgage during these desperate times. We need governors to step up and lay down the law with state-backed efforts to keep us safe from the pandemic. We even need a reliable food distribution system to keep people from starving in this nation of “amber waving grains.”

The idiocy of more than 100 Republican members of Congress getting involved in a “fool’s errand” before our highest court simply adds to the weight of the real problems our nation faces. The unwillingness of GOP governors to take political and personal responsibility for the safety and security of their citizens must end.

The national Republican Party - if such exists - needs to quickly figure out what it is and what it stands for. If Trump continues to be it’s “savior,” Republicans in Congress and State Houses will find their numbers dwindling at the hands of an electorate tired of being ignored.