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Letters to the Editor 2017-02-016

ANARCHIST WEIGHS IN

In Kelly Kenoyer’s article “Activism 101”, an informative and helpful piece of journalism, the author referred to non-violent direct action as possibly sounding like “some kind of anarchist crap.” 

 Although I appreciate and respect the author’s point of view, it seems that if any change is to be made in this or any country there is a need for acceptance and inclusion in our political movements. Using phrases that exhibit a dismissive attitude towards the thoughts and actions of anarchists (or anyone really) doesn’t really accomplish much in this direction. 

 Anarchism is an alternative to government that is easy to demonize and easier still to misunderstand. Let’s not forget that things like feminism, the 40-hour work week, employee owned business, the organic food movement, environmentalism etc., sounded like anarchistic crap to many ears once upon a time. 

Respectfully,

Elijah Salazar, An anarchist

 

STOP THE NAZIS

The Nazi graffiti in the Whiteaker neighborhood stops NOW.

Many local citizens are disgusted, and some rightfully fearful of the rise of hate groups nationwide that’s been fostered by the racist President Trump. As with past local hate crimes, locals reject this, but more is needed this time.

I call upon all city councilors and county commissioners to take a stance. I call upon educators to create a history curriculum that teaches about genocides, hate groups, racial violence and Oregon’s own inglorious history with each. I call upon all local business owners, human rights groups and interfaith alliances to create a massive event: “The Anti-Nazi Stomp.” 

With the creative genius and mockery mastery that county residents have demonstrated at the Oregon Country Fair, Eugene Celebration and other noteworthy events, coupled with the justice ninjas of our social service and human rights orgs, these serious and satirical responses must put a stop to the cowards promoting such hate as thoroughly and loudly as we can muster.

Zero tolerance for hate.

Kevin Hayden, Springfield

 

 

LEARN TO PROMOTE RACIAL JUSTICE

Thanks to Meera Powell for a provocative look at the experience of African-Americans in Eugene (“Black by Unpopular Demand” Feb. 2).

If you’re like me, a well-meaning member of the white majority, you squirmed a bit in recognizing how uncomfortable is the lived experience of our black neighbors, despite past progress in addressing the more overt forms of racism. However, if you have the courage to move beyond your unease, if you’re curious about how to promote racial justice while gaining a broader perspective, there are opportunities right here to learn how to become a better ally to people of color.

SURJ Springfield-Eugene is the local chapter of Showing Up for Racial Justice, a national group mobilizing white people for anti-racism work. I attended the meeting last Thursday along with more than 50 others of all ages, and we shared our ideas for creating an action agenda.

Interested? The next orientation takes place 5:30 pm, Thursday, March 2, at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, 13th and Pearl, followed by the monthly general meeting from 6:30 to 8:30. You’ll meet friendly, well-informed, committed folks like yourself and take a step towards a deeper involvement in building a community that’s supportive of all its residents. 

Patricia Bryan

Eugene 

 

WEAR BLACK

On Coronation Day and each subsequent Friday, I have worn black to protest the Republican administration’s unhinged leader being in power. I will continue to do so until his reign of terror and hate ends.

A powerful statement would be made if people around the world who oppose what he stands for wore black every Friday. Who’s with me?

Beckie Abbott, Eugene

 

UNIVERSAL CARE

Thanks to Stuart Henderson for an excellent letter appearing Feb. 2 — a clear and succinct description of the medical and monetary benefits of a health care system that saves taxpayers millions and improves the quality of care for all Americans.

Obamacare is only a step along the way and should be replaced by a universal, publicly supported system that leaves no one out.

Medicare for All, a slogan understood by everyone, is the way of the future. Medical care for all Oregonians can be accomplished through a universal coverage system — in which the present one, controlled by the insurance industry, no longer exists. We pay more and get less for our health care dollars than almost all of the other industrialized countries in the world.

With our new administration intent on replacing our present system with an unknown alternative, this may be the opportunity to move forward with single payer through initiative action. There are multiple movements within the U.S. working for single payer.

Health Care for All-Oregon (hcao.org) welcomes your help. The film Now is the Time: Healthcare for Everybody will be presented noon Sunday, Feb. 19, at the Unitarian Church at 13th and Chambers in Eugene. With the producer and director present, a panel will lead discussion; all are welcome and admission free.

Patricia Bitner, Eugene

 

CUE THE CUCKOO

America is going coup-coup.

Vip Short, Eugene

 

LIVING WHILE BLACK IN EUGENE

I want to thank both Meerah Powell and Mark Harris for articulating to me, a white man, what it means and feels like to be black and/or culturally disenfranchised in America, not just in “utopian”(?) Eugene. It’s frustrating to see multiple letters to EW by white people, myself included, yet rarely by blacks within the community regarding race. As with anyone, one can never truly know the experience of being “The Other,” as Ta-Nehisi Coates’s book title alludes to, Between the World and Me.

Mark Harris “channels” Martin Luther King Jr. in his “Riverside” commentary, his last paragraph essentially paraphrasing a key portion of King’s speech at New York’s Riverside church exactly one year before he was murdered: “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.” Undeniably one of his most moving and prophetic speeches.
Recently, I read a great article on Arif Gursel, a black entrepreneur in hi-tech, where he explained his own experiences of racism in an industry biased towards White employment. He stated: “The Pan-African community is damaged by years of institutional racism ... Post Traumatic Slavery Disorder. Four hundred years of trauma, and it’s never stopped.”

The mayor of Mill Valley, California, Jessica Sloan, a human rights attorney, is co-founder with Van Jones of #Cut50; its goal is to reduce incarceration rates by 50 percent in 10 years. In her research, she discovered that 50 percent of Marin County’s minuscule black population “lives” in San Quentin prison!

To find out more about “living while black” in America, read the recent damning expose by The Portland Tribune newspaper. Go to UnequalJusticeOregon.org, or the PT’s website.

Sean S. Doyle, Corvallis

 

FELLOW ANARCHISTS, THUGS AND PAID PROTESTERS

Great to see you all downtown. I guess we better get used to seeing more of one another.

Good news, though: our plan is working. Kellyanne Conway has disqualified herself from being taken seriously about anything. I thought “alternative facts” was enough, but the Bowling Green Massacre really put her over the top. 

Sean Spicer will be gone in six months. We even got the Oval Office guy to walk right into our trap by making an executive order that would involve thousands of U.S. employees and throw tens of thousands of lives into chaos without even running it by a lawyer. Less than a month in office and he’s in federal court already. All according to plan.

We still have to work on the Nazi-in-the-White-House thing. He couldn’t even find a neo-Nazi; he had to go with a 1930s Nazi. Everything he does is straight out of the 30s playbook: vilify the press, produce a flurry of confusing executive orders, divide the opposition. This guy needs to go.
See you on the barricades.

Chico Schwall, Eugene

 

GRAMMAR POLICE

Re: Feb. 9 EW cover.

This is what Bryan Garner says in the first entry of his lexicon Modern American Usage (third edition): "The indefinite article a is used before words beginning with a consonant sound … The other form, an, is used before words beginning with a vowel sound. Since the sound rather than the letter controls, it’s not unusual to find a before a vowel or an before a consonant. Hence a European country … an FBI agent
    “People worry about whether the correct article is a or an with historianhistoric, and a few other words. Most authorities have supported a over an. The traditional rule is that if the h- is sounded, then a is the proper form. So people who aspirate their h’s and follow that rule would say a historian or a historic
    “As Mark Twain once wrote, referring to humbleheroic, and historical: ‘Correct writers of the American language do not put an before those words' … Nearly a century later, the linguist Dwight Bolinger harshly condemned those who write an historical as being guilty of 'a Cockneyed, cockeyed, and half-cocked ignorance and self-importance, that knoweth not where it aspirateth.’"

Sam Taylor, Eugene

Editor’s Note: When you start buying ink by the barrel, you can have fun with grammar too.

 

CLEARCUTTING HARMS RURAL COMMUNITIES

Our names are Justice (15), Maggie (16), Hazel (16), Mia (17) and Maia (18). We are students at the Academy of Arts and Academics in Springfield. We are all currently taking a course called Agents of Change, an activist class focusing on environmentalism. 

We wanted to say a word about clear-cutting in Oregon. Intense clear-cutting on the Oregon Coast Range is hurting communities, polluting clean stream water, and destroying wildlife habitat. The coastal communities are forced to suffer the impact of the clear-cut logging and aerial spray, while corporate clear cutters export raw logs, costing local mill jobs and hurting local economies. 

Families who live in the Walton, Oregon, area rely solely on the stream water running through the woods. When the trees in the area get clear-cut, especially over streams, there are many negative results, one of them being water pollution. Logging near and over streams makes them excessively muddy. Herbicides, pesticides and oil run off from machinery also leaking into the water not only harms the environment, but it harms the families in the area. The people who rely on this water for drinking and cooking are left with completely unusable water. 

Oregonians, if you pride yourself on our pure, clean water, then take a stand against clear cutting and aerial spraying. For those of us concerned about the economic backfire of potentially outlawing clear cutting, worry not. Forrest thinning is when a crew takes down specific trees, instead of clear-cutting the entire wood area. Forrest thinning is better for the environment, and provides more jobs and revenue than a two-man clear cut crew.

The problem is not logging or local family businesses. The problem is clear-cutting and Wall Street greed: just some food for thought.

The A3 Environmentalist Dream Team, Springfield

 

 

Web Letters

 

RETAIL CONFESSION

I recently committed a premeditated crime here in Eugene and I feel the need to confess.

This is the first crime I’ve knowingly committed as an adult and I wanted to be prepared, so I did some research.

Has anyone else pulled off such a dastardly heist? Sure enough, online I found resources on how to beat security and made a clean getaway.

I did my homework, studied what works and doesn’t work, made a fool proof plan. 

I prepared a counterfeit that, from all my research, I knew would be a dead ringer and no one would be the wiser.

I dressed really preppy, kinda-almost nerdy, so no one would suspect me of any wrongdoing or underhanded, shady dealings. Sitting in the car, I really wished I hadn't quit drinking a few months prior because I was shaking and sweating nervously.

I took a few deep breaths and with sweaty palms, I made my entrance.

I kept a warm smile, signed in at the front desk and made painful small talk just waiting to get this over with.

It was time. I stepped into the room to make the switch. Fuck! The ringer wasn't a perfect match; there were two sizes, and I should have got the larger one. It was close, so I had to go for it. Security didn't even look twice. Yes!  

I made it back to the car and got home, still shaking and nervous about my lawless transgressions. I grabbed my pipe and took a toke from the bowl in relaxing celebration. In a few days, I'd find out for sure if it worked.

Sure enough, my heist went flawlessly. I made out like a bandit.

What, pray tell, was the big payout, worthy of all this stress and planning.

I was able to get hired for a $10 an hour retail job.

D.T. Dragon, criminal, Eugene

 

CIVILITY KEEPS US SAFE

Politics is spiraling out of control these days — please use this rule of thumb for steady measure:

Would you want some of today’s “headline makers” living right next door to your family?

Times have been tense before. After WWII the Marshall Plan helped pave a path of hope in a shattered Europe.

At its weakest moment, civilization recovered some dignity because George Marshall knew winning the battlefield didn’t mean lasting peace was at hand.

Republican Newt Gingrich says this of Steve Bannon: “He wants to be the intellectual, strategist bomb thrower; he does not want to be the guy who makes the trains run on time.”

In 1945 George Marshall was an authority chosen because he knew having nothing on track meant anarchy and starvation. Who would you want delivering food or emergency relief for America after an earthquake?

Far right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos understands this irony — “no matter what you’re extremist views — it’s all unidentifiable wreckage burning on the far side of common sense.” Clever little Milo is another “bomb thrower” not a gardener, not a PTO sort of guy, not a neighbor I want around.

Let’s not take our own personal tranquility or a good variety of neighbors for granted. On a day-to-day basis most of us see eye-to-eye right? Civility keeps our families safe — not cedar fences and locked doors.

My “taxes paid” prove I prefer those trains to run on time. Leading by example: It’s just the presidential thing to do.

Glenn Jones, Eugene

 

EXECUTIVE DISORDER

Now that the Executive Order Magic Wand has fallen into the hands of our newest president can we reasonably expect a steady stream of directives such as these, based on recent ones?

1. “As of midnight tonight, the voting age of all federal elections will be 12 years of age to offset the lack of immigrants who would eventually vote. A likely companion Tweet: ‘Kids love Big Hair. I do, too.’”

2. “All federal officials and employees will now only speak and write American English to prevent untranslatable information leaks. Russian is exempted. ‘Putin likes me. I like him.’”

3. “Green is hereby banished from all federal uses including signs, gates and fencing, uniforms including Smokey the Bear and Green Berets and all printed matter, including money, as being an inflammatory Islamic color instigating violence to our Homeland. All grassed areas in the District of Columbia will be graveled. The only good I see from climate change, if it exists, is that all plant life will be wiped out.”

The answer to the initial question is yes! And I suggest these directives and similar ones to follow all fit comfortably into the Virtual Reality headset currently clamped onto the head of our first executive.

George McGuinness, Eugene

 

WEB LETTERS POETRY EXTRA

President Donald Trump has inspired EW’s readers to lyricism.

 

BERLIN TO BREITBART

Have you seen the well-to-do on Pennsylvania Avenue

Opening their mouths before engaging their brains, hawking merchandise in their names

Great big egos with hair to match, the height of fashion at a White House klatch

While refugees and immigrants run for their lives, the ego with the hair calmly decides 

To put them on his trumped-up list because he can't see from where he sits

Putin is the risk!

Dressed up like a billionaire hoodwinker, 

Proving every day that he's a stinker (tweetin' fingers!)

Go and march and show your starch and yell your slogans and raise your fists

Putin is the risk!

If you are a woman or a girl, I'm sure you were sad to hear the words of this churl

So full of himself with all his wealth, trying to take away our health

He hopes refugees and immigrants will take our minds away from home-grown radicals like Tim McVeigh

Because of small-mindedness he doesn't get the gist (Hey, small d)

Putin is the risk!

(Apologies to Irving Berlin and Fred Astaire)

Chuck West, Eugene

 

ALT-LYRICISM

Leak, or Hack?

It’s “Post-Truth” anymore.

“Fake news”; like, Iraq,

In the lead-up to war?

“Putin a war in Ukraine did cause,”

Now there’s a Whopper on a scale to give pause.

How about this: “Our vote system’s sound.”

Yeah, there’s plenty of it going around.

Dan Athearn, Eugene

 

 

POETIC JUSTICE

A man was elected, some say selected,

By a Russian whose motives are clear.

But much of the nation, with great indignation,

Would like him to just disappear.

Spud Smith, Oakridge