Confession: I have not clicked on any news regarding whatever the hell is happening in Eastern Oregon. I won’t even hyper-link it. I may watch whatever parody episode South Park, the Simpsons, or ideally, Rick and Morty create. Maybe. (Definitely).
In this case, I don’t wish to feed the beast, although there is major room to discuss grazing policy, federal land use, and how rural America is being left behind. But somehow I don’t think that’s what the “militia”/”occupiers” are really conveying. Mostly, I’m not taking a moral stand on this issue – I just don’t want to feel sad.
But if you look past the doom and gloom of an anti-government militia uprising, there are plenty of good – government-led– things happening in the Beaver State. Oregon has a long tradition of pioneering progressive policies and legislation (e.g. First Container Deposit Bill in 1971, First Assisted Suicide Bill in 1994). This year, Oregon adds to that legacy. In 2016, Oregonians are automatically registered to vote when they interact with the DMV, they enjoy over-the-counter access to birth control; they are guaranteed paid sick leave, and they could be in line for a much higher minimum wage and a cleaner energy grid. As Democratic-voters determine the values and direction of the party, they should look to Oregon as a glimpse of what could be under a progressive Democratic federal government.