Snooping out our rural Oregon windows

Whether you wanted progressive health care or progress on health care, you are probably disappointed.  It is tempting to blame the tea bagger protestors when, of course, the real challenge to democracy is that we were sold out by parties beholden to corporate lobbyists.  They steered us to a global collapse and stuck around to pick up the choice pieces.  It’s enough to make you angry.

The tea baggers are asked (by corporate lobbyists?) to focus their anger laterally, towards their neighbors promoting democratic services and better sharing of this countries wealth.  What used to be policy based on thoughtful decency or inclusive democracy now leave us and Santa declared “socialists.”

Building progressive rural infrastructure is what the ROP is all about.  And while we make strides, the DC based fear mongering to the extreme right does not cease.  In fact, the volume has risen dramatically in the last year.  Rural America is groomed to provide the foot soldiers of the extreme right.
As health care and economic fairness join the culture war topics of abortion, queers and immigration, we need to consider how we respond to the headlines being acted out in our own backyards.  It’s all local but it’s a lot more local when you look at the roster of the 32 community meetings taking place in our Oregon back yards in the next 30 days under the leadership of Americans for Prosperity – a group committed to being a policy home for tea baggers.  (The list of upcoming meetings is at the close of this post or go to their website, as it allows you to track what they are doing in your town.)  And tracking these growing dynamics in every town is really critical to us making strategic decisions about responses.  This is very similar to what many of us watched escalate in our communities in the early 90s.  And along with it came militias – and the article linked to here, entitled A Passion Rising, adds a very poignant face to that growing armed rage.
This escalation of the extreme right is not understood by many national (and urban) commentators.  Making it even more important that we document reality in our towns to build an accurate and valuable national and global awareness of what we face.
The early November Tea Bagger gathering in DC showed the “unofficial merger of the religious right and the Tea Party movement.” Calling the health care bill “a bailout for the abortion industry,” Perkins (president of the Family Research Council) signaled the final front in the health care battle — whether private plans that currently cover certain therapeutic abortions will be permitted to do so under the new scheme.”
And this ties into health care access and everything else we voted for last November.
Compromise is not a bad thing but using health care to advance the agenda of the extreme right (significant anti-choice rollbacks) and corporate profits (mandatory enrollment in private systems) is not just bad for optimism, it has sobering historical overtones. In the opinion of one ROP leader, “The most serious thing is not the activities of the right wing, religious or tea bag, they are predictable. The most serious thing is the cynical betrayal of the Democrats in Congress and the White House. I can’t overstate how dangerous it is. Historically, fascism in Germany, Italy, Chile, and virtually all cases, was proceeded by a sell-out by left parties that people had swept into office to change terrible failures of  prior conservative regimes. In Germany the people put the socialists in power after the collapse of the Kaiser and the WWI defeat. Same in Italy, which entered WWI against the wishes of the majority, suffered great casualties, and an economic depression at armistice. They voted massively for the socialists too. In both cases the left refused to do anything but shore up the existing ‘system’ of finance and military. The right re-grouped under cover of ‘new’ movements – Mussolini’s Fascists, the Nazis, and split off a big chunk of people who had previously voted left. They would never have taken power if the left had confronted the powers that be when people expected them to.”

As we gather for holidays, have more quiet time at home, leaf through our local papers, please track the local responses to the times and share what you learn with the ROP as we try and weave a coordinated snapshot.  It is actually less scary the more we know.  And as DC solutions whither on the vine, we may find great opportunities for hometown solutions that create new shared places for the righteous indignation of the masses to not divide over differences but unite over some shared community based values.
Happy holidays – warmly, marcy

Union County Chapter Meeting

December 21st, 2009

7:00 AM – 8:30 AM

Location: Flying J Restaurant, I-84 Exit 265, La Grande

Benton County Chapter Meeting

December 22nd, 2009

6:15 PM – 8:00 PM

Location: King Tin Restaurant, 1857 NW 9th, Corvallis

West Douglas County Chapter Meeting

December 22nd, 2009

6:30 PM – 8:00 PM

Location: Methodist Church, 3520 Frontage Road, Reedsport

Washington County Chapter Meeting

December 28th, 2009

6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Location: BG Plaza, 3800 SW Cedar Hills Blvd, Suite 124, Beaverton

Multnomah County Chapter Meeting

January 2nd, 2010

10:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Location: University Chapel, 3210 SE Taylor, Portland

East Douglas County Chapter Meeting

January 5th, 2010

6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Location: Karen’s Coffee Cup, 2445 NE Diamond Lake Blvd, Roseburg

Linn County Chapter Meeting

January 5th, 2010

6:30 PM – 8:00 PM

Location: Lebanon Senior Center, 65B Academy, Lebanon

Jefferson County Chapter Meeting

January 5th, 2010

6:30 PM – 8:00 PM

Location: Jefferson County Library, Rodriguez Annex, 134 E Street, Madras

Clark County Chapter Meeting

January 5th, 2010

6:30 PM – 8:00 PM

Location: Harney Elementary School, 3212 E Evergreen Blvd, Vancouver

Lake County Chapter Meeting

January 6th, 2010

6:30 PM – 8:00 PM

Location: Jerry’s Restaurant, 508 North 2nd, Lakeview

South Deschutes County Chapter Meeting

January 7th, 2010

6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Location: John C Johnson Building, 16405 1st Street, La Pine

Josephine County Chapter Meeting

January 7th, 2010

6:30 PM – 8:00 PM

Location: Elmer’s Restaurant, 175 Agness, Grants Pass

Coos County Chapter Meeting

January 7th, 2010

7:00 PM – 8:30 PM

Location: Dental Office, 1250 Thompson Road, Coos Bay

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