Do What You Can Do 6/24/19: Special Edition Afterword

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Senator Jeff Golden

 *  “I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; And because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.”                    —Helen Keller

What's (Still) Up

An Afterword

Since sending out the Special Waiting-Out-the-Walk-Out Edition of this newsletter on Friday, the atmosphere in and on the front steps of the Capitol has become more tense and the walk-out has broadened into a national story. Some Oregonians--there's no way to know the number, but it's not small--see this as a long-overdue moment to push back against a succession of policies they truly believe are hurting them. It's hard not to see the similarity to the national landscape.

I laid out my thoughts about all this at length in Friday's email. There's just one thing, after a weekend of reflection, I would have left out of that email: the mock-up of a vintage-style "Wanted" poster with pictures of the missing 11 Senators on it, which some satirical pundit sent to the Capitol the day before. It was meant lightly, but right now, with senses of humor bottoming out, it could easily be taken differently. I don't think inflaming this already burning debate does anything good.

To be clear: this walk-out is not a criminal act in any literal sense. I see it more as an act of civil disobedience. Non-violent civil disobedience is part of an honorable American tradition; I take pride in having taken a small part myself during the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights Movement. If you sincerely believe you're violating a deep moral principle by obeying the law and prevailing legal procedure, it may be time to disobey.

But I have to ask my Republican colleagues, in the tiny chance that this newsletter reaches any of them: does HB 2020 honestly rise to that level for you? Because of the care that was taken as the bill evolved to deal with the particular challenges of rural Oregon and other economically vulnerable communities and people, I have some trouble believing that. I also admit that it's not easy to let go of the anger, laid out in the last newsletter, at the way some individuals keep talking about the "crushing" of rural Oregon and its residents when in private they show understanding that this program brings challenges, not destruction. It's hard to watch what looks like a strategic fanning of the flames of the understandable and widespread fear and anxiety. "That's just politics," my more seasoned colleagues tell me... another clear indicator that we have to change politics. 

In the meantime, you won't see any wanted posters from me.

Our best to you for now. Please remember to do what you can do.


Senator Jeff Golden
Chair, Campaign Finance Committee 
Senate District 3 (Rogue Valley)

Capitol Phone: 503-986-1703
Capitol Address: 900 Court St NE, S-421, Salem, OR, 97301
Podcast: Capitolizing