FREEDOM TAKES WORK
On July 4 we recognized the Declaration of Independence defining the American dream as inalienable natural liberties including life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The Constitution establishes government embodying these treasured rights by promoting the general welfare and securing the blessings of liberty.
Whatever the Constitution further defines relies upon natural human liberties independent of and superior to any government construction. They are intangible property sourced in opinion, religion, communications, use of abilities to labor physically and mentally, and in conscience. Only by application of these inherent rights can one truly possess material things.
The American dream never meant government largess ensuring college funds, retirement accounts, savings, affordable health care, home ownership, lifetime employment, corporate wealth, political careers, and union benefits.
Politicians become patricians and offer enchanting elements of material security such as described above, while obscuring subservience to administrative laws and regulations vastly increasing their power. Their legislation and rules negate our Bill of Rights confiscating intangible human freedoms for these apparitions.
Such devices are the soft underbelly of our Constitution. Under English Common Law, basic to our Constitution, a person is innocent and not subject to the penalties of law until proven guilty. Administrative laws and regulations, like Roman Civil Law, subject people to government penalties and restrictions until they find legal means to extricate themselves.
People now routinely make unconscious Faustian-like bargains to exchange their human essence for illusions of material comfort. However, true freedom requires uncompromising adherence to American ideals of inherent, intangible natural rights.
READ UP ON EDUCATION
Have you read Michelle Obama’s bestseller Becoming? What a delightful read! It would convince anyone the importance of increasing funds for education. A free community college could be a start with a goal for all Black, brown and white students. Can you imagine Oregon with a doubling of college-educated citizens?
PROTECT THURSTON HILLS
What would you think if I told you that Hendricks Park was about to undergo a large-scale logging operation with trucks, noise, wildfire danger and the destruction of wildlife? Would you be upset if Mount Pisgah was suddenly under siege by private entities who wanted to use its precious resources for personal profit?
This is the exact conflict that many local citizens are currently experiencing in regards to the Thurston Hills Natural Area. Just east of Springfield, the area is kitty-corner to neighborhoods and within wildfire distance of the Ridgeview Elementary School. This area has recently been re-listed as a potential timber sale by the Bureau of Land Management to Seneca Jones Timber Company. This same sale was defeated in 2019 due to community outrage but now, during the COVID crisis, it is back.
I think we can all acknowledge that logging Hendricks Park would devastate the local neighborhoods, decrease property value and cause irreversible damage to Eugene’s ecosystems. Right now we need Lane County to come together to preserve our access to green spaces and protect local forests
To help stop the Thurston Hills Natural Area destructive timber sale, sign and share this petition to local Rep. Peter Defazio and your local commissioners: CascWild.org/tell-your-elected-officials-to-halt-the-thurston-hills-timber-sale/.
KEEP EUGENE VIRTUALLY WEIRD
The way things are looking, I’d say the Holiday Market this year is looking iffy at best, an event that, like the Fair, is crucial to many people’s annual income. Why don’t we make an Etsy-like website for magical Eugene-based arts and crafts, one that could be open all year, something beautiful that could come out of this pandemic?
I don’t personally know nothin’ about making websites, but it seems someone could take this idea and run with it. I want to spend some money on enchanted weirdness!
IT’S TIME TO COME TOGETHER
The time has come for actual societal changes. Please do not be distracted by the few who act out violently; the many know in their hearts wrong when they see it, and see it and see it! Let us come together from across all aisles, from all beliefs, love and treating others as we wish to be treated.
Let us take this transitional moment in history and do the right thing. This is not the time to let political affiliation cloud our thinking or keep us divided. Right is right, no matter what news station you tune into, and wrong has been going on far too long. It’s time to stop demonizing one another, time to look at all we have in common.
It might be time to start writing editorials, talking with our neighbors, creating passionate art, writing poetry and painting murals and building sculptures. Time for barn raisings, giving compliments, building each other up instead of tearing each other down, to raising our voices for those unable to, coming together in compromise, focusing on the “we” and less on the “me.”
Hug a tree or three, understand that asking for help is strength and courage, not weakness. Help and be helped is the path. It’s time to pass the reins onto the young ones who don’t carry such baggage. It is their future, after all. Let us believe, reconnect with our wild side and trust our intuition and gut feelings and love one another.
DEMOCRATS SUPPRESSING DEMOCRACY
James Walsh’s letter (“Repeal The Ban,” 5/21) hit on a major threat of which I suspect most Oregonians are unaware.
The “ban” to which he refers is the Democrats’ suppression of single signature sheets for initiative petitions. This transpired in 2019 via Senate Bill 761 in the state Legislature despite extensive public opposition.
SB 761 is just the tip of the iceberg. It is part of a concerted effort by the state’s ruling party to restrict or eliminate citizen challenges to its decisions. Through the increased use of disingenuous “emergency clauses” and “Plan B” bills the Democrat majority has also effectively curtailed citizen referenda.
The Legislature doesn’t like to be challenged. In 2013 it passed the secretive SB 833 that granted resident driver cards to illegal immigrants. Voters subsequently and resoundingly repealed SB 833 through the Measure 88 citizens’ veto referendum in 2014.
Following that embarrassing rebuff, the Democrat majority began implementing measures to prevent further challenges, and there have been no subsequent successful statewide referenda as a result. Now, any legislation that has the potential to provoke significant opposition is almost certain to include an “emergency” clause or have a “Plan B” to prevent a referendum.
If that’s not enough, the Democrats revoked the M-88 decision in 2019 through House Bill 2015, complete with a bogus “emergency” clause.
Every Lane County Democrat in the Legislature has supported these actions. How long are voters going to allow these abuses to continue?
DAMNED CHEAPSKATE CYCLISTS!
Thank you, Karen Cross (“Don’t yell, get a bell,” Letters 5/28). In my lifetime I have been a pedestrian, a bicyclist, a motorcyclist and a car driver, so I have all of those perspectives. Currently my wife and I live very close to the west bank bike path and enjoy afternoon bike rides along the Willamette River. I am amused, on a good day, and often irritated by the number of times that I have had a bike rider, on an expensive racing bike, clad in several hundred dollars worth of Spandex and carbon fiber riding gear, pass very near me from the rear at high speed, and apparently is too broke and/or inconsiderate of others to spend $5 on a bike bell.
And while I’m waxing curmudgeonly, slow down lads. It’s a bike and foot path, not a freeway.
THE REAL SECOND WAVE
Well, by now it is apparent that indeed the virus continues to spread across the land. It remains virulent, alive and growing daily, taking its devastating toll on us all. It lurks, persistently, an insidiously invisible contagion, infecting young and old, rich and poor, without regard to race, color or creed. No one is immune to its devastation and heartbreak.
And yes, COVID-19 continues to ravage us as well.
THE REVOLUTION IS NO DINNER PARTY
Eugene residents disturbed by the disorder and vandalism Sunday night, May 31, need to consider that looting and destruction of property have constituted a legitimate form of protest since the American Revolution. Think of the Boston Tea Party and the many acts of arson against royal office buildings and violence against tax collectors and other royal officials.
Now, as then, property ownership simply reflects who has power in a given society. State repressive power — police, military, national guard — exist largely to protect, by violence if need be, this status quo, to protect property that is construed as legitimate by law and tradition. State violence to protect property thus has legitimacy conferred upon it, regardless of the injustice this involves.
Looting, in other words, may go on all the time, but it’s usually called banking, financial speculation or public lands logging and mining. Maybe if property had done less violence against people before George Floyd’s murder, we wouldn’t be seeing people smashing up property now.
Destruction of property pressures the state to redefine the power of banks and corporations — including their power over the state itself — every bit as much as marching, speeches and voting. The revolution, as someone said, is not a dinner party, and the crime of robbing a bank, indeed, is nothing compared to the crime of founding one.
POLICE SHOULD AIM HIGH
Laws and justice don’t always align, not from the higher law enforcement hierarchy, city councilors, county commissioners, governors, reps, senators or presidents.
Orders stream down like a polluted river from the International Monetary Fund and from the World Trade Organization to all countries’ leaders. These conglomerates can ruin entire countries’ banks by regulating inflation and depression with the purpose of obtaining astronomic gains. Most in this food chain submit to the global rulers because of unethical bribery and/or because of explicit threats.
The police can’t do much about poisoned money flowing from the roots to the choking vines. Some cops do see this outrage and wish to change direction, but even the honest ones can’t do it through legal means because the law itself is most often wrong and biased.
During protests I’ve never witnessed cops on the side of the protesters helping to make our planet more survivable, beautiful and just. There are also always meetings of one kind or another where after five minutes valuable insights can be reached.
Please, well meaning cops, aim high; protect us from those blinded by big money.
David Ivan Piccioni
PROTECT THE RIGHT TO VOTE
As the nation grapples with its legacy of racism and how to move toward a just society, the right to vote and be fairly represented becomes even more critical. In Oregon we have an opportunity to reform how voting districts are created and reduce the risk of gerrymandering. During June, you can sign an initiative petition for the November ballot that would create an independent commission to draw state and federal legislative districts after the 2020 census.
Currently, boundaries are drawn by the Oregon Legislature or, if it fails to act, by the Secretary of State. In other words, politicians, not voters, create the districts that elect them. This is a conflict of interest which has often resulted in gerrymandering. The initiative replaces politicians with a committee of Democratic, Republican, and independent voters.
A coalition of groups, including the Eugene-Springfield NAACP, League of Women Voters and Oregon Farm Bureau are leading this effort. If you received a petition in the mail, follow the instructions for signing and mail it in the postage paid envelope. If you didn’t receive the petition, get one at peoplenotpoliticiansoregon.com. Signing the petition is one important concrete thing you can do to strengthen voting rights.
ERICKSON’S DISMISSAL UNFAIR
Although she acknowledged some missteps, it seems somewhat unfair to dismiss Kay Erickson, the director of the state Employment Department. Like one employee stated, they were simply overwhelmed with claims from the virus.
The agency needed 700 claims processors during the Obama-Biden economy, but under the Trump economy, that number was reduced to only 100.
The other 600 will no doubt get their jobs back if Biden gets in, so I guess there is some light at the end of the tunnel after these devastating Trump years.
SPIRITUAL LIFE CAN BE SOCIALLY DISTANT
Churches and other spiritually oriented groups have a vital role to play in helping people manage their lives in this crisis and beyond. This is actually a good time for those looking to join a spiritual community. Go online and explore our diversity of churches, synagogues, mosques, ashrams and meditation groups. Inspiring content is more accessible than ever before. Please support these groups with your blessings, your love and your checkbook.
We humans are social animals who turn to each other in good times and bad. But how do we do that effectively through online video, Facetime and little boxes on Zoom? This is awkward technology that may require some patience and even humor. But these innovations help hold us together when other forces are pushing us apart.
Unity of the Valley has adapted to the times, and our services and music are now online more than ever before. Like other churches, we have enjoyed reconnecting with old friends, some very far away. We hope to emerge even stronger when we finally get together in person. It will be a glorious day.
Rev. Inge Tarantola
Unity of the Valley, Eugene
STRIVE TO BE HARMLESS
Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit,” and “Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation.” The foundation of such a method is love. Unless love is at the core of our actions, then we cannot truly transform human relations. Harmlessness is a reflection of our highest potential, which is love. Wise love, purposefully directed, is the essence of harmlessness.
Harmlessness speaks no word that can damage another person, thinks no thought which could produce misunderstanding and performs no action which could hurt anyone. Harmlessness brings about caution in judgment, reticence in speech, ability to refrain from impulsive action, and the demonstration of a non-critical spirit. Importantly, harmlessness is a positive, dynamic force and not negative tolerance. Because strong aspiration and enthusiasm, misplaced or misdirected, could easily harm another, we should look not only at our harmful tendencies but at the use of our virtues.
Practicing harmlessness is how we lay the groundwork for our future and for our children’s future. In this time of uncertainty, the practice of harmlessness will be the tipping point into unifying possibilities.
Christopher and Deb Michaels