Well, I guess they finally caught on to our dirty little secret.  For years, we've had them fooled, what with them watching Grimm or Portlandia. Until this year. First there was the Umpqua Community College shooting, and now there's this Malheur Wildlife Refuge fubar.

When I was a young pup, I used to hang around with Congressman Jim Weaver who represented Eugene and Southwest Oregon. And let me tell you something!  There were places in the district where no one wanted to go.  The worst place was Josephine County near Medford.

Talk about your Oathkeepers or whatever they're calling themselves at the refuge! Josephine County was a literal wild ecology of political wackobirds, 90% of whom you would definitely not want to sit with at your Thanksgiving dinner. Perhaps the best way to look at Oregon from some parts of the woods is: Heart of Darkness.  Oregon is capable of producing some of the foulest, most evil smelling political ideologies you have ever encountered, and yet here we are.

The other side of the coin is, that Oregon is a bastion of left progressive liberalism. Lane County is a prime example.  In the 2014 election, Lane County was the Mount Everest of Democratic politics.  We had 78.5% of all registered voters actually voting.  And in Eugene, we had precincts that routinely deliver 90% Democratic turnout.

Lane County has a radical liberal Democratic political machine, not based on patronage or contracts, but on ideas. You could say there is almost a Vulcan mind meld between Lane County D activists and the Bernie campaign. And did I tell you that our little political kindergarten delivers 8% more voters to the polls than the state as a whole, but 100% of those votes are Democratic?

And yet, this is a little known fact. Did you know that Oregon is almost a demographic twin of West Virginia?  Yes boys and girls, deep hillbilly! And you compare Oregon's politics to West Virginia's you will see the difference between night and day.

Truth is, progressives in Oregon really got their shit together, and this is the only thing barring the gate from the Bundy boys running the state legislature.  

Ultimately, what Oregon is -- is a portal to both great good and great evil.  That is our dualistic nature as a region. It is part of our ecology.  And perhaps 60 years ago, Los Angeles was seen as the city of the future.  And now it appears as if Oregon is in something of the same way.

And I assume, that is both for great good and great evil.

Views: 690

Comment by DaisyJane on January 31, 2016 at 5:02am

90% is incredible.  what i would give for that.

Comment by Ron Powell on January 31, 2016 at 6:24am

There's something about white folks and the wilderness that remains a mystery to urban oriented black folks.

Comment by JMac1949 Today on January 31, 2016 at 8:07am

Perhaps the answer is that Eastern Oregon is adjacent to Idaho, which is the prime territory for "political wackobirds." ;-)

Comment by tr ig on January 31, 2016 at 8:41am

Thanks for the big font ONL, and for some explanation. All us non-Oregoners been wonderin'.

Funny, a childhood friends' dad relocated to Medford in my youth. I heard a lot about it being a beautiful place. In retrospect, the old man fit the demographic you describe. Watching in fascination. Glad to hear about the bail hearing. Kind of wish Lavoy was sitting there with his boys rather than dead---he got his wish, I guess.

Comment by Ron Powell on January 31, 2016 at 8:47am
The closest most black people will ever get to Idaho is in a Cab Calloway song:

https://youtu.be/u7ogK_unbqM
Comment by tr ig on January 31, 2016 at 8:53am

Ron, in 2013 we visited JT in southern Oregon not far off I-5 in a gorgeous mountain-ish hippie tourist town near The Smith. Trying to recall now if I saw anyone even remotely hybrid. I don't think we did. But I wonder, since ONL mentions nary a word about racism, or lack of racism, or black culture ... wonder why you just have to take it there? Is every single perception and opinion you have run through some sort of race filter? Love Cab, for what it's worth.

Comment by tr ig on January 31, 2016 at 9:03am

Oh .. just remembered that Lefty reached out to us then and offered free lodging at a property of his in Oregon. Really wanted to take him up on it but time was a factor. Still, would like to say again THANKS Lefty for the very kind offer.

Comment by Ron Powell on January 31, 2016 at 9:43am
@tr ig; Re your visit to the region: Precisely the point of my observations...

There are huge swaths of the country where the presence of black people is a rarity. Meaning that the only exposure the white populations in these areas have to black people is what they see on TV.

And, it's not an accident that this is the case. The Missouri Compromise of 1850 was specifically designed to keep the black population from spreading west of the Mississippi River thus preserving the great Northwestern region and Southwestern plains for an excusively white migration and settlement.

Slavery was prohibited in those regions and free Blacks were barred from participating in western land grants and giveaways.

There were no black Oklahoma Sooners....

So, to answer your question: If I don't do it, who here will?

Racism in America is as ubiquitous as the air we breath. It's everywhere and in everything. I didn’t put it there, but that doesn't mean that I shouldn't see it for what it is.

Until I mentioned it, you wouldn't have noticed, or mentioned the fact that you were able to visit a part of the country where there virtually are no black people to speak of.

These are the areas where the white populations are easily duped by certain politicians re the impact of certain kinds of policies and legislation re the nonwhite citizenry.

People like Trump have their best political advantages in locations such as these.

My guess is that ONL didn't mention any of this because, like you and many other white people, he just hadn't noticed.

I'm the sole black male voice here, just doing my job and exercising my prerogatives, as I see fit to do so.

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to expound and expand my commentary here.
Comment by tr ig on January 31, 2016 at 10:10am
All good besides being off topic. Imagine SBA using this space to rail against Israel. "If I don't do it then who will?" Good point. Nobody, because it has nothing to do with the authors' chosen subject.
Comment by Anna Herrington on January 31, 2016 at 10:36am

Way to take a comment and run with it, Ron -- you may have a basis for your comment above in stereotypical fashion, but your points just don't fly in the *reality* here in my region.

No one is easily duped politically, here in my area, and likely not many, if any, Trump supporters here -- more like Bernie Sanders parties popping up everywhere, while all the Hillary Clinton fans here bitch about it, or bail on her and run for the Bernie parties -- the lead up to Obama's run had entire streets with Obama signs out front - overwhelming support for Obama here, both runs.

Yes tr ig, there are Blacks in my area - ha! tr ig was here all of two nights and one day, Ron - although nothing like Atlanta or Brooklyn, say - lots of Latinos and Asians, too and Whites, certainly - Buddhists, both Tibetan and Zen, too, Pagans too, and Reform Jews, three temples here in town now, and the new guy in town, the Chabad-Lubovitch (sp?) Jews - lots here, as far as the mix of both racial and religious persuasions go.

Not so many Christians here, unlike most small towns, although there are some churches, fairly to wildly liberal - one evangelical church who keeps a very low profile here -- conservative Christians tend to go north to Roseburg where the shooting occurred, or to Josephine county mentioned above - Grants Pass being the major town of Josephine county - where there is no police service so if you're a woman raped, you're on your own... shot at, on your own... there, your blanket assumptions from afar might hold. Most anyone I know avoids the area, whichever race they are.

Your assumptions about all Whites being blind to their racial surroundings is a wildly inaccurate blanket assumption, too -- no doubt just like any stereotype made that would rankle you, too -- of course it's noticed when a town is too White: while some might feel more comfortable, plenty of Whites feel more UNcomfortable when a place is too White. I grew up in the South, I'm less comfortable when the racial mix is too anything, frankly, I like and feel more comfortable in the *mix.*

Here is still too White, for me, even with the above statements, it is more White here than Brooklyn, or the South. But, there now is better opportunity for younger people these days, more reason to move here, now that the college has some money, has better facilities, one reason any race of younger people have been moving here. There's also more business opportunity than there used to be, bringing in more people... and thank goodness for it.

Here it's a bit different in *perception*, though, certainly -- here is the Shakespeare festival that has a racial-free practice of hiring actors, Here is the only place my family has seen MacBeth, the only actor we've ever seen play MacBeth is black, an actor named Peter Macon - wonderful production of that play, I can't imagine a better actor for the part than Macon was.

Blacks here are solidly middle class, many actors, their children go to school here, they're looked up to as part of the best of our community. Others are teachers, businesspeople -- not many poor of any race, here, lack of deep poverty makes a big difference, here....would make a big difference, everywhere, I believe.

So.... ONL has lots of good points in this article, Oregon is vastly different from area to area, racism is alive and well in Oregon as in every other state I've ever been to - but the resulting sweeping assumptions made about race, about racial awareness and savvy aren't nearly so accurate.

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