SLEEP FOR SURVIVAL
Refusing to lift the camping ban is not only unconstitutional, but inhumane. Contrary to popular beliefs, unhoused does not mean unemployed. An unhoused citizen who works at night would not be eligible for rest at one of the “dusk to dawn” camps. Working the night shift is difficult as it is, but the increased struggle for obtaining sleep can actually cause safety issues in the workplace.
I have struggled with insomnia my whole life. My health is affected in many ways. With prolonged episodes, I have decreased alertness, blurry vision and dizziness. What if I didn’t have a comfortable bed in a warm house? If I were homeless in Eugene, I would be assumed to be a drug addict, when what people would actually be seeing are the symptoms of sleep deprivation.
The survival instinct of every creature on Earth is to shelter itself from the elements. Oxygen, water, food, sleep and shelter are essential to all of us. The city of Eugene is denying vulnerable citizens at least two out of five of these survival needs.
The city of Eugene is setting itself up to lose money through lawsuits and paying the police overtime to provide social work services. Throughout history, change has occurred through righteous defiance. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote, “One has not only a legal, but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.” I believe the natural next step should be disobedience.
Crystal Webb, Eugene
LOVE THE DIVERSITY
In the Renaissance and for the Romantics, imagination or images derive and speak to the heart. Broadway Plaza, better known as Kesey Square, is the cultural center of downtown Eugene and needs to be imagined from the heart as a place for the heart. Think of heart as a place of emotions, especially loving kindness, heart as longings, heart as the place of hidden truth, deepest soul and inner conscience, a place of courage and generosity. If we want to restore the heart of downtown Eugene it requires re-finding the heart in ourselves, our values and longings, and taking the city to heart so that what grows is rooted in the heart. We need to draw upon our greatest efforts of creative imagination.
Let’s begin by respecting our potential for creating something beautiful in the heart of our beloved city. Put aside the two existing proposals. We don’t need another apartment building or another outdoor restaurant and brewery. Let the storyteller Ken Kesey be our spirit guide and allow what is already there to spontaneously develop qualitatively toward more definition.
First, love the diversity. Imagine and value the variety of people, including the hobos and street people, the theater and restaurant patrons, the jazz and rock clubbers, the tourists from the suburbs and the LGBTQ come-out-of-the closet and be proud folk. Love the different fashions, enjoy the manners, styles in speech, different rhythms; respect the heart of the city’s charm and grace.
Kesey Square offers us the potential for creating something beautiful, something with soul, an intimacy, personal relations, a knowing each other. When we abnegate the task of imagining, we lose heart and lose our connection with one another. We get the bland uniformity of the suburbs. Let us take heart: The creative challenge we face will intensify the feeling, thinking, imagining that encourages us to become good citizens more conscious of the invisible spirit guiding us to that heart where the future of our weird and wonderful city resides.
The Rev. Gary James (retired) Unitarian Universalist Church, Eugene
THE NEED TO LISTEN
Eugene had the good fortune to have professor James Braxton Peterson talk recently on the topic of race at the UO. There are two things that I have taken away from his talk. As white people, we need to listen deeply, not defensively. Second, if we are unable to do this, then read. Towards this end, I recommend On the Run by Alice Goffman, a white sociologist who lived among a group of young black men in a neighborhood in inner city Philadelphia. She documents their daily, degrading interactions with police and the criminal justice system. In addition, she unravels the profound impact systemic racism has on the institutions of community — family, friendship and work. It is a reality that I have had the privilege of blocking out of my consciousness.
Not everyone has this choice.
Barbara Sklar, Eugene
How many of our policymakers feel the urgency to really change course for a healthier and more just world? Forum discussions from the Center on Global Energy Policy present a bizarre other-world where some of the brightest and most educated and privileged people on the planet do not present the same concern about global warming that we do here in our communities.
How can high-level discussions about energy policy in the 21st century and beyond not include all costs from the effects of climate change?
As part of the movement committed to a healthy planet for future generations, I was happy to learn about the Keep It In the Ground Act, co-sponsored by Sen. Jeff Merkley. What confused me were his recent comments (on Jefferson Public Radio) about the Pacific Pipeline and Jordan Cove LNG export terminal. He suggested that a Pacific Coast LNG export terminal is inevitable so why stand in opposition?
But this reasoning is inconsistent with the “urgency to act” publicly declared by the senator. Any support for new and exorbitant fossil-fuel infrastructure in Oregon — and the U.S. will likely neutralize this boldly introduced climate legislation and threaten to turn it into political theater.
So a message to Merkley: I enthusiastically support your efforts to prohibit all new fossil fuel drilling on our public lands, in the Arctic and along our U.S. coastlines. And when our statewide climate groups rally this November and December for Global Climate Solutions, we will be marching to prevent all new fossil-fuel infrastructure in Oregon. We hope you’ll join us.
Delaney Pearson, 350 Eugene
DRIVING SOCIAL CHANGE
At times it would seem that we are a species bent on our own destruction. The science of climate change unequivocally indicates that if we do not stop using fossil fuels soon, we will leave our grandchildren a planet far different from the one the human species has flourished on.
Without decisive action, which needs to be taken soon, we will leave future generations a planet battered by weather extremes, rising sea levels, oceans that no longer produce food and the loss of countless numbers of species. Through our greed and ignorance our only home will have been turned into a planet unable to support the nine billion people estimated to inhabit the planet by 2050.
Imagine instead a system that promotes clean fuels and sustainable living. An organization called Citizens Climate Lobby has proposed a model that would help drive just such a social change. The model, called a “Revenue Neutral Fee and Dividend,” would place an increasing fee on pollution introduced into the system by the supplying industries. And 100 percent of the revenue collected would be returned to American households in equal shares.
Please review their work at citizensclimatelobby.org.
Peter Kugler, Springfield
BREAKING RAPE CULTURE
I am heartened to read letters about ending rape culture, especially when written by men. In response to the two writers who think women are responsible: Yes, we are. But not in the way you think.
As a 35-year-old woman who has survived multiple incidents of rape and sexual assault, I learned to avoid “dangerous” behaviors. I stopped wearing sexy clothes, preferring to hide my body. I no longer allowed myself to be alone with any male, no matter how long I had known him. I never had been much of a drinker, but I became a complete teetotaler. This list sounds to me like the control behaviors of a trauma victim who wishes fervently to believe that she can stop violence against her — and it is.
I do not believe that those things protect me. We need to end rape culture. As a mother and a woman, here’s how I am doing it:
I raise my children in an alternative community without screen media or cell phones. I teach them to avoid alcohol and drugs, and tell them it is OK to be rude to people if they are not respecting their boundaries. My kids wrestle a lot and take self-defense classes. We talk openly together about sex, including details about safety, risk, reproduction and consent. My children know where my condoms are (and how to use them), and they are welcome to take them without any comment from me.
I encourage my kids to step in if they see someone in danger of being victimized, or if someone is being teased or harassed. My kids have seen me take action when I witness abuse or violence. When a drunk man on the bus threatened the female bus driver, I stood up and walked towards him (while everyone else on the bus stayed in their seats). He saw me coming and got off the bus. I went home and told my kids about it.
It isn’t enough to raise boys who won’t rape, or girls who won’t become victims. We must raise our kids (boys and girls) to be willing to step in and protect those who are at risk. Rape culture includes a few rapists and a lot of bystanders who do nothing. Instead of blaming the victim, lets practice being good neighbors. Educate yourself about rape and how our culture condones it. Think about how you would recognize a potential sexual assault situation and how you might step in to stop it. Then act.
Kara Huntermoon, Eugene
OUT OF CONTROL
During the Vietnam War I supported our soldiers, military and the federal government. Now the draft is over, poor people are funneled into “permanent Army” service and the federal government is no longer owned or controlled by the American people. I don’t recommend joining the military to anyone, and definitely not women.
D.H. Bucher, Eugene
Is it too much to ask that people take responsibility for themselves? If a child throws books, it must be EW’s fault for having that villainous cover [8/13]? If someone shoots up a school, then it’s our “consumer-driven myopic” culture.
Whatever happened to the good ole days where if you screwed up, you owned up to it? If your kid screwed up, it was because you dropped the ball. If a kid throws a book in a classroom, it’s because you failed as a person to let them know that isn’t a good idea. It is not Call of Duty’s fault if your friend shoots up a school. Hell. It’s not even the gun’s fault. We over-analyze, over-diagnose and shelter ourselves from the simple reality that we are the makers of our own destinies, which by default means that we are at fault if we make mistakes as well.
Kid starts tossing a book around? How about instead of blaming and analyzing the motivation, you get up, take the book away and establish actions and consequences of said actions. Feel free to apply that to any situation in life.
James Ready, Springfield
BETTER FOOD CHOICES
The Village School’s new vegetarian menu is the vanguard of institutionalized food. The animal and human rights group Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) analyzed research on the human health benefits of plant-based, vegan diets. They say: “Food is the first place we should look for the causes of modern illnesses. Sixty-eight percent of our diseases come from what we eat.”
The PCRM funds free medical training simulators for medical students that resemble humans. The models bleed, have all the human organs and include vital physiological functions that student doctors need in their training.
Animal experiments and drug tests don’t extrapolate, nor are they useful, when applied to humans. More than 100 million animals are killed every year in laboratories in probably the worst way possible: by vivisection.
PCRM supports farmers who care for their land and protect its ecosystems. The “revolving door” we should be concerned with is the one between the meat and dairy lobbyists and our public officials.
The Village School made a decision for the children enrolled there, based on the health merits of a diet lower on the food chain.
As a side benefit, its food choices avoid exploiting farm animals and fish in ways too horrible to even think about. How we treat our fellow creatures indicates the extreme conditions of our world.
David Ivan Piccioni, Eugene