URGE TO SURGE
I've been overwhelmed by a fantasy of late. In a nutshell, here it is: At 10 am on a sunny Saturday in early May 2007, people begin peacefully marching from at least 100 meeting points about this great city. At the same time, all the buses are re-routed, headed in the same direction. Where? To Autzen Stadium, of course, for "The Surge Against the War."
By noon, at least 50,000 people have gathered in peaceful, orderly fashion. The parking lot includes tents and tables from all the schools, all the social and political action organizations and all the churches, each with its own agenda, all under the big blue banner declaring "Surge Against the War."
Those present will be in blue T-shirts, the purchase of which will pay for the event. We will be treated to a four-hour presentation, including examples of the best speech-making and music that this sometimes-great land has to offer. Think about it, people: What presidential candidates, what musicians, what healers or spokespeople or leaders would care to donate their time to such an event? Of course, all who are worth a notice will want to come.
This event will be a prototype for every community in the land. Throughout the summer and into the fall, The Surge Against the War will build in momentum. The agendas will become clear. Eugene will acquire another important little footnote in history. Of infinite more import, though, once again We the People, in seeing our numbers face to face, will grow empowered. And when we declare, the world will have to listen.
Stay tuned, people. Volunteers are stepping up. At least 50,000 are needed in this little town alone. A lot of real work remains to be done before that one day, a Saturday in May. After that, the dream will continue.
Scott Landfield, Eugene
Last night (1/23) two friends and I "celebrated" the State of the Union address by playing a drinking game based on what our illustrious leader said. I found this highly amusing and finished off a third of a bottle of tequila myself (I groaned every time my friend called out "Reference to something that doesn't exist!"Apparently, Iraq is a drinking word as well). I realized in my drunken stupor that politics is probably the best comedy we have at the moment, and even Carlos Mencia can't compete with the talking heads on C-SPAN.
I can't help but laugh every time I see some article or letter lamenting the failures of the U.S. government or its myriad adventures around the globe. When will you people learn that the only thing government does well is propagate itself? Your representatives do not represent you; they simply fill their wallets from your coffers and pass the savings on to their friends. Social programs are nothing but a sham to launder money into personal pet projects. The war in Iraq will continue no matter who is in office. Babies will continue to be enslaved from the moment they exit the birth canal. The countless means of theft from the American people will never stop.
There is a solution, though, no matter how much we may enjoy this "monarchic" comedy. Ignore them. Stop giving them money. Stop wasting your life griping about the failures of your "representatives" or writing letters to them to that effect (as if that will actually accomplish something ... ). The people in government will always act in their own best interest; you should too. Let's get rid of this system and get back to our lives.
Bonus question: Who can tell me why corporations have so much power? Here's a hint: It has to do with the "laws" that make a corporation possible in the first place.
Justin Bengtson, Eugene
SMITH'S PROUD VOTES
It seems to be back to business as usual for Gordon Smith. I thought that after his evening speech before a bunch of empty chairs expressing his displeasure with the conduct of the debacle in Iraq, maybe he was beginning to realize why he was elected to Congress. I was wrong again, and last week, just to prove the point, Smith proudly voted against the bill before the Senate to raise the federal minimum wage to something just below what it takes to slowly starve to death. Even though Smith's personal fortune was built on the backs of immigrant laborers, the proposed federal minimum wage is less than our state minimum here in Oregon, so he and his cronies in the agricultural industries have nothing to lose by raising the federal minimum.
It is totally unconscionable that anyone could vote no on this issue, and the only reason for such a vote is that his puppetmasters at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue so ordered it. For the past six years Smith has been nothing more than a stooge for the administration and has amassed a voting record to prove it. As the slime, corruption and sleaze continue to ooze out of the Bush White House on a daily basis, Smith is undaunted, a loyal foot soldier to the end. Is this why we sent him to Washington? I think not.
Some people run for the Senate to serve their nation and represent the people of their state, and some people run just to be a senator. Unfortunately Mr. Smith went to Washington just to be a senator. It is time to show Smith the door. We as Oregonians can do better. It's time to put the partisan politics to bed and do what is right for our country and for the people of our state — all of us. There will always be extremists on both ends of the spectrum, and they will never be happy, but I would hope that we could examine the choices that we have of reasonable, thinking people and field some candidates that we all could be proud of no matter who wins.
Joel Breeze, Eugene
WHAT DID VOTERS WANT?
After reading Alan Pittman's article "Looming Sprawl" (1/25), I need to put the statements attributed to me in perspective because it is clear that Pittman exercised his "journalistic license" in recounting our discussion.
Pittman asked me whether there was a possibility that the Joint Committee on Land Use Fairness would consider a moratorium and a referral of a measure to the voters. I answered yes, but added that those are just two of several options we are considering. I also told him that a number of voters who supported Measure 37 are now saying that they supported it to allow for single-family dwellings, not subdivisions.
The joint committee co-chairs (Rep. Greg Macpherson and I) are looking at a number of possibilities to address the 180-day deadline that counties and the state face in processing Measure 37 claims. In the last five weeks of the first deadline to file Measure 37 claims, the total number of claims filed doubled to more than 7,000. We realize that many counties and the state will need additional time to properly process these claims.
We also are considering asking the voters to clarify their intent in passing Measure 37. Unfortunately, the drafters of Measure 37 included numerous ambiguities, and these ambiguities have resulted in more than 130 lawsuits around the state so far.
I also want to point out that even though I represent part of south Eugene (as mentioned in the article), my district also includes rural areas spanning three counties: Lane, Douglas and Coos. Many of my rural constituents have said that they are concerned that their livelihood and quality of life as ranchers, farmers and foresters are in jeopardy if urban development is allowed in rural areas.
Floyd Prozanski, State Senator, District 4
WHAT ABOUT THE KIDS?
What concerns me is not that Mr. Brown (Letters, 1/25) avidly reads Savage Love but rather that countless children in our community may be doing the same, given the easy accessibility of the paper. Doesn't EW shoulder any responsibility to our entire community?
Beside the business that "proudly sponsors" the column, I wonder how many EW advertisers are aware of all of its contents. Let's inform them, readers.
Robert Young, Eugene
IGNORING THE TRUTH
John Zerzan (Letters, 12/28) and some other anarchists who seem to prefer the allowance of societal collapse are ignoring that the hands of empire now wield technology which exponentially magnifies destructiveness. Should we allow weapons of mass destruction to be unleashed? For the ecosystem to collapse due to global warming? Who will pick up the pieces of a radioactive, scorched earth? It is only sane to act preventatively.
Zerzan attacks the notion of pushing the Democratic Party in a positive direction. Yes, in a global emergency where time is running out, it is imperative that the major parties be pushed. Does this make me a Democratic Party operative? If Zerzan were interested in facts before firing public rhetoric, he would discover my political ID is Green (a co-founder of the Green Party in another state).
The exploration of "radical" in my Dec. 21 commentary seeks to understand whether violence or nonviolence better addresses the source of society's malaise and has nothing to do with individual status, including myself. He also continues to label me "pacifist" after I stated Gandhi rejected this term and so do I. No "passivity" here.
The movement to create ecovillages, co-operatives and eco-sustainable economy begs participation. Rather than curse darkness, how about anarchists shining some lights? What is the meaning of nonviolence? Of Gandhi's satyagraha? For an eloquent statement, check out www.salsa.net/peace/conv/hs8weekconv1-5.html
Eugene anarchists once mocked nonviolence by superimposing my face on a video of Jesus being crucified while taunting that nonviolence was futile (side note: what a statement on Christianity in Eugene that not a single minister spoke up). If the vicious cycle of violence tightens its noose and leads humanity into catastrophe, it will only be because we ignored the profound truth offered by Jesus, Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr.
Spruce Houser, Eugene
I was surprised to see that the debate over "eco-sabotage" continues to go on endlessly in your paper. It would seem that no one is listening at all to the other side's position. People condemn the use of violence to support environmental issues, while others defend outrageous acts like arson. And the right of a person to own an SUV is argued against the consequences of having so many in use. Is there no reasonable middle ground?
As a two-time SUV owner opposed to any political violence, I was appalled by the arson attacks on SUVs. So I wrote two letters to your paper two years ago, very critical of the anarchist community for justifying arson. However, as gas prices soared over $3 last summer, I rethought the logic of driving a SUV as my primary car. I knew that all the extra weight and inefficiency of a four-wheel drive system was killing my MPG, especially in town. I was wasting gas, causing more harmful pollution, all for no good reason.
So I have a confession to make: I now drive a Toyota Prius instead of a SUV. I have been converted not by violence, but by logic. Having so many SUVs for mainly city driving makes no sense for many people. My Prius is giving me an 80 percent MPG increase in town, with near zero emissions.
If I can change, then hopefully people on the other side will someday be able to reject violence.
Lance Jacobs, Springfield
I'm responding to Jeffrey Luers' letter (1/25), and his taking offense at being compared to a "right-wing pro-life" arsonist. What Luers seems to not be able to understand is that when the cause, however well intentioned, becomes sacrificed to the means, then you've lost public support for your actions.
Personally I detest SUVs and the mass consuption culture they represent. However, I can't support the actions of "eco-saboteurs" and the like, who would burn down the world to save it. I am extremely doubtful that arson has become justifiable in the eyes of the general public even if the cause is "right." That Luers negelected to give an example of the exception is unsurprising.
Luers' inablilty to see the difference between his actions and those using non-violent methods to further the cause of environmental sanity puts him squarely in the camp of terrorists, no different then those who would firebomb an abortion clinic. In fact, his actions are a stain on the environmental movement and are no doubt welcomed by those who would paint real environmentalists as "wackos."
If he wasn't rotting in jail (his choice), I would say he could have been a paid provocateur of the timber and oil industries. Mr. Luers, forget about saving the world from your jail cell. Save yourself, reconsider your mindset, and repent!
Jeff Innis, Eugene
I know everyone's done trying to nickname the courthouse, but when I was chowing down at IHOP today I thought a good one would be "RoboCourt." Straight out of "New Detroit." Now I'd buy that for a dollar!
Steve Crowe, Eugene
IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST
The critics of Commissioners Dwyer, Sorenson and Fleenor and their decision to not reappoint Mike Schwartz to the Fair Board need to take a closer look. The Fairgrounds belong to everyone in Lane County, and these commissioners have stepped in to remind the Fair Board of the public good.
Shaking up the Fair Board and getting new members with the greater public interest in mind is just what the commissioners should be doing. Thank you Commissioners Dwyer, Sorenson and Fleenor for having the courage to take a stand.
Jim Crain, Eugene
CRIME IN THE FOREST
Clearcuts were once the new beginning of life in the forest. Now the industrial timber industry has changed all that. It is now the end of an ecological system the Earth had known for millions of years. The poisoning of the Earth after clearcutting has changed our ecosystem in a way we will not comprehend for many years to come. It allows for only certain types of vegetation and a monocrop of trees bred for short-term economic gain. I feel that the poisoning of our Earth for any reason is a "crime against humanity" and it terrorizes all human beings who have any compassion for our future generations.
May the New Year bring compassion for our Earth to all human beings who rely on this Earth for their sustenance.
Fred Mentzer, Greenleaf