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Your humble correspondent writes to you today from a motor home parked at Heceta Beach RV park in Florence, Oregon. We’re here on the first leg of a trans-Oregon epic that will take us from here to Lincoln City, then Wallowa Lake before returning to Bend.
There’s a travel trailer in the spot next to ours with “Just Married” written with blue painter’s tape on the back. The people who run the park and associated mini-mart are exceedingly nice. One of them, after the mart was closed and seeing me struggle to contain a combined nine years of unadulterated S’more-fueled boy, offered to give us a Nerf football: “You want to run ’em?” We already had a football with us so I declined the free one but did indeed run ’em.
This is our first RV experience with the boys and our first time staying in an RV park, ever. Being in an RV involves a lot of utility management: electricity, water and sewer. I now know the difference between black water and gray water, and how to dispose of them from an RV. “Water” is a criminally misleading euphemism.
There are people from all over the country here in this little RV park. Judging by the license plates, there are lots of Californians, Washingtonians and Idahoans, but also Missourians and Minnesotans and Floridians. I know what summer is like in the Midwest and the South. The Oregon coast, with daily highs in the mid-60s, sun and low humidity, must feel like heaven in comparison.
Last night, we unhooked and drove down into Old Town Florence, on the way passing the newly-christened Exploding Whale Memorial Park, which memorializes, well, the time and place when and where Oregon state officials decided to blow up a dead, beached whale to gruesome if not entirely unforeseeable effect. There’s something very Oregon about blowing up a whale corpse to keep it from bursting and then naming a park to memorialize the whole mess.
Looking for a fight
Do you remember last month, when the presence of federal law enforcement agents in the federal courthouse in downtown Portland was causing riots and violence? On July 29, the feds handed over command of courthouse protection to the Oregon State Police, so Portland’s gone back to being that endearingly weird place instead of that angry and contentious place, right?
Nah. Now the protesters have simply focused their attention elsewhere. For two nights in a row, Portland police declared a riot and had to use crowd control munitions to stop the rioters from damaging property. The other night, there was gunfire near a north Portland protest. Wednesday night the rioters tried to set fire to a police station in East Portland. The Wall of Moms, or as this story puts it, “protesters who identify as mothers,” putatively organized to protect other protesters from the brutality of the occupying army of federal agents, are now protecting rioters damaging city police buildings in residential neighborhoods.
Mayor Ted Wheeler, recently having demanded that federal agents leave Portland after rioters attempted to set fire to the federal courthouse with said agents inside, now calls, correctly, attempts to burn down buildings that have people in them attempted murder.
Protesters are pretty clearly seeking out conflict, because conflict is what gets them headlines and presumably, status in the social structure surrounding the protests. The goal is to coax police, federal state or local, into exercising some degree of force, which the protesters think proves their point that police are, by their nature, violent and dangerous. In reality, the more aggressive protests, more than 70 days in, look increasingly like play-acting but with real bullets and fire and tear gas.
A debate for the age(s/d)
In this divisive time, all Americans can and should unite behind one cause: there should be lots and lots of debates between Donald Trump and Joe Biden between now and election day. We’ve been deprived of so much live television entertainment during the pandemic, we deserve the spectacle.
Trump’s well-known for saying weird stuff like suggesting we should somehow ingest disinfectant to stave off COVID-19. Biden, not to be outdone, has recently mused about the lack of diversity in African American thought and opinion and compared a suggestion that he should take a cognitive test to his black interviewer being tested for cocaine before he goes on the air.
Given the participants’ history, we should get some good stuff in response to normal, boring debate questions, but I think we can do better. Imagine if the, “debate moderator just asked them metaphysical questions like, “Do humans have agency?” Or practical things like, “Describe how a pencil sharpener works.” Or societal things like, “What does it mean to be an American.” Or, “What is your favorite color and why?” This approach would give us some real insight into their thinking and would surely generate some truly bizarre responses, thereby simultaneously increasing both the entertainment value and the depressive effect of the debates for the body politic.
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What I do:
EagerLaw PC – A business and real property law firm in Bend, Oregon.
Insite LGA Corp. – A campaign consulting, strategic communications and local government monitoring firm.
Waste Alert – Local government monitoring for the solid waste and recycling industry.
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