Statistically, rural counties lean towards the Republican in most elections. Isn't the Rural Congress nothing but a smoke screen for the interests of Republicans? If not, how are the interests of the Rural Congress different from the Republican agenda?
I was at the Rural Congress, and I didn't ask people party affiliation, but based on comments and concerns I would guess a large majority were Republican. But, as was (I think) the goal of organizers, hot-button political topics addressed by a "Republican agenda", like gay marriage or abortion or gun rights didn't come up.
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I attended a rural congress gathering prior to this Congress and found it was a close knit republican group who joked openly about everything from the endangered species act to environmentalists and had one sided views on the decline of timber taxes. I had to introduce myself and declare my progressive, environmentalist leanings and say that I'd had enough of the 'joking' and would appreciate a more professional tone. They did a good job of that and I then felt included. But for most folks of my leaning it would have been most uncomfortable. mary
Thanks for those comments.
I am sure there are some issues which directly and specifically effect rural residents, but I think those are minor and out of proportion. I can't imagine that the urban residents are out to get and under-represent rural areas. I would assume that most of this is a way for a minority of the population to have a greater voice then it deserves in all issues. And, is also indicative of a social divide that is mainly on the side or rural residents. I don't think it is the case that urban residents go around disliking rural residents, but more a case of rural residents disliking the lifestyles and worldview of urban residents.
It's unfortunate that all over the country, the inherent beauty of living in semi-isolation, in a beautiful landscape, is repeatedly sabotaged and segregated by cultural xenophobes of freedom and social diversity.
Rural areas have grown increasingly Republican in recent decades as the population drain of Rural areas has been mostly rural Democrats moving to Urban and Suburban areas. However, to suggest that we shouldn't listen to their concerns because most of them are Republicans is the worst sort of attitude. This is no different than the Rural folks saying "Isn't Portland mostly liberal, and anything they do is just a smoke screen to push the interests of Liberal Democrats?". This kind of thinking is what is driving the polarization of America. Rural America has legitimate concerns. I come from a rural place in Minnesota. Without the productivity of the land in the Midwest and other areas in the world like it, and those who farm it, the world would literally starve...for example. Not everyone can be an urban intellectual working for a liberal non-profit and leave room for a functional world. The fact that a small number of rural folks produce the food for the rest of us makes modern life possible, else we would all spend our entire lives as hunter gatherers and we wouldn't be sitting around gabbing on blogs like this. Your comments suggest you aren't willing to invest any effort into understanding rural issues, and cling to the idea, as you usually do, that you are the only one who is right or enlightened. You don't feel you NEED to invest any energy into understanding it. You just think "it's overblown" and leave it at that. You make gross, convenient generalizations that rural folks "disliking the lifestyles and worldview of urban residents". But isn't this exactly what you are saying about them? Your posts never fail to amaze me.
Did I suggest we shouldn't listen to rural residents?
If the majority of residents in rural areas are indeed Republicans, which by inherent meaning, definition and any other way of viewing it---this makes them "conservative," which means they are "disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditional ones, and to limit change" and it also inherently means they are exclusive in nature as opposed to the inclusive liberal. Liberals and conservatives are not apples and apples, they are apples and oranges. The implications of your suggestions are: they are simply just red heads versus blonds. This view is absurd and is a perfect example of 'dumb objectivity'. There are philosophical and functional meanings attached to the terms, which you simply don't address in your response.
If you think my suggestion that many rural residents are "cultural xenophobes of freedom and social diversity" implies that I am also, then your logic and skills of processing that logic are so flawed, I do indeed, not wish to have a conversation with you!
P.S. One thing you had partially correct, I don't care more about the plight of farmers then I do about anyone else. Farmers are not heroes doing a public service that I need to be grateful for. They are in business just like everyone else.
Did you suggest not listening to rural residents? Yes you did. I quote "Isn't the Rural Congress nothing but a smoke screen for the interests of Republicans?" This sounds to me like you are trying to minimize their voices by labeling them as party tools.
You define conservatives as exclusive in nature, but your comments are about as exclusive as I've ever seen. You aren't open minded or introspective enough to see it. You seem like the one who is the cultural xenophobe. If you really want to impress me, make an effort to understand another point of view and post it here. You seem so sheltered, and so prone to spouting conventional liberal wisdom, that I'm beginning to suspect that you're probably very young with little life experience. In which case I feel sort of bad for debating with you.
I didn't suggest Farmers are doing a public service, but they do provide a service, just like the barista that makes my espresso in the morning. But that's really not the point. Your notion that the concerns of rural folks are "overblown", but without any evidence of having done any research to understand those concerns, but just start posting is further evidence of your lack of maturity.
NO. NO. NO. I did not suggest "not listening to rural residents."
The end of my first post says:
"Statistically, rural counties lean towards the Republican in most elections. Isn't the Rural Congress nothing but a smoke screen for the interests of Republicans? If not, how are the interests of the Rural Congress different from the Republican agenda?"
Notice the "If not"? Which is where someone could propose how I was wrong in my proposition. Yet, even if I am correct in my proposition, you cannot come to the conclusion that I suggest "not listening to rural residents." Do you have something to refute this?
I also said: "I can't imagine that the urban residents are out to get and under-represent rural areas."---Indicating that rural residents should indeed be represented.
You asked about evidence---do you have evidence to say otherwise? Or are you just saying I am wrong without evidence? Or are you not saying I am wrong? Just saying you don't like what I am saying? I never stated any of this is fact, it was presented as a question. It is after-all my speculation---and speculation is very useful for surviving in life and, well, thinking.
Thanks for that sophisticated argument of: I must be young---really substantive!
Congress ought to find a way to subsidize the railroad tracks, to balance out the
over-building of highways. The highways are financed by a fuel tax, and are owned by the government. The railways are privately owned, which is OK, except that the
nation needs more infrastructure of rail, especially for small rural rail lines. Perhaps some of the highway tax should be used to support railways.
I think this is a great way for smaller communities to develop their role in the governmental process. It seems with the variety of locales for these communities a unifying voice may be difficult as the interest of the costal communities may be different from those of the John Day area (as an example).
Though, I could be wrong. As a lifetime city-dweller I have not had the opportunity to really learn the details of how rural communities work or, more on the point, how their political process and needs may differ from my own. Looking forward to hearing thoughts on this one!
As someone who has lived in both rural and urban Oregon, I appreciate comments such as Amy's...someone who is interested in listening, in learning. This congress seems a vehicle to provide some of that, as well as this show. Thank you for your coverage of rural Oregon and rural Oregon issues in this and other shows. Think Out Loud seems to be one of the few places where Oregonians can listen and learn about issues of concern to Eastern Oregonians, as well as to those of Willamette Valley residents.
I too look forward to Monday's show.
Totally agree. What a refreshing concept. A liberal, open minded person who is actually willing to learn about something outside of his/her circle of like minded friends, and willing to listen to another point of view.
I think that Rural Oregon is a very beautiful place that needs our help if this state is to survive. I am a creative photographer who knows some of the beauty of that majority of our state. The people there need us to help them with their modest living in a fair way.
It seems that Rural Oregon is to some extent in a boat of it's own building- for years Rural Oregon has used the timber money to fund basic services, instead using it to keep taxes low. It would have been better to develop ways to replace the old economy with a new one. That being said what sort of development are rural Oregonians looking for beyond a return to old (unsustainable) logging and building homes for rich Californians?
Rural Oregon was handed a great 'boat'. We sank it. We were surrounded by forests which were cut down for short term profits: Forest Service got funding by board feet cut, local communities collected taxes, local workers earned wages, stock holders received dividends, but most importantly top timber industry executives becoming extremely rich. They are now part of the corporate ruling class in our country.
Short term greed precluded acting sustainably. Now Forest Capital owns Boise Land nation wide. They blatantly acknowledge managing for short term profits. After all, that's what corporations do. Wonder why we are at war? Short term profits!
If you want to keep getting milk from a cow you can't slaughter and eat her. But since rural Oregon has slaughtered its resource cow, it's crass to expect to be baled out or to blame 'environmentalists' for locking them out of the woods before they'd cleaned the last bones of what was a vibrant ecosystem.
I suggest that rural oregon concentrate on sustainable economics that would include getting locally produced agricultural products directly to consumers rather than putting it into the corporate food chain. Also manage for recreation and rural contact to attract urban visitors year around. Invest in alternative energy! Take the lead in creating the future.
I just returned from visiting my folks in MN. I was absolutely astounded to see the windmills. They stretched from horizon to horizon, as far as I could see. It was an amazing and impressive site! Just sayin....
The problems will continue until the basic structure of the state legislature changes. Currently both the House and Senate are population-based. What we need is a senate with one senator per county. (Keep the House basically as is.)
With a legislature that favors population, legislative decisions will tend to favor population.
Thanks ? ChrisB
I am not a fan of rural oregon residents vote being worth more than mine.
"We are all equal, but some are more equal than others"
I do not agree that the 1565 residents of Wheeler County and the 701,545 residents of Multnomah County should each have one senator in the Oregon legislature. That would mean that one vote in Wheeler County would be worth almost 500 votes in Multnomah County! (Note: I am not a resident of either of these counties). Ditto for
It's worth keeping in mind that the inten of having both a house and a senate at the federal level was to balance the interests of population centers with rural areas so everyone would have a voice.
Re: "Keep Portland Weird" bumpersticker as example of Portlanders laughing at themselves. No! "Keep Portland Weird" is a cultural and political statement.
From a 57 year-old born-in-Portland resident. I appreciate rural Oregon as a
14 time Cycle Oregon rider.
There is a lot more to Portland than "going to a night club"- Art Museum, Japanese Gardens, Last Thursday, the Central Library, Saturday Market.
Way to show how you really feel about Portland with that comment.
Onno Husing here. I'm the guy on the show who made the comment about Keep Portland Weird and the comment about going to a night club. I'm also one of the folks who organized the Rural Oregon Congress.
First, when I brought up the Keep Portland Weird bumperskicker I meant it as a compliment. After all, if you can't poke fun at yourself from time to time then you are probably taking yourself too seriously. I believe I do understand that it is a cultural and political statement. But, am I totally clueless about Portland when I think that there is no attempt at humor in that statement (you know, multiple meanings)? That's why I find it so clever.
Second, of course there is a lot more to Portland than just going to a nightclub. Just like there's a lot more to the Oregon Coast than just walking on the beach. Contrary to what you've concluded from my remark about nightclubs, I think Portland is a great place. I enjoy going there for work and play. I just make a choice not to live in Portland and instead live on the Oregon Coast even though I had the education (I'm a graduate of U of O Law School and have two other graduate degrees) to live and work anywhere.
About my comment about the nightclubs; that stems from my own experience when I was in my 20s. Back then I lived in urban environments and loved it. The priorities of people, some people at least, tend to change as they get older. So, at one stage of your life living in the city is important, at other times, it may be less so. And, for those of us who live in rural communities, the city is always still there and you can take in those great cultural assets as you pointed out.
So, Starkmojo, my friend, please relax. It's all good!
As a participant at the Oregon Rural Congress and as a rural Oregonian, I think there is a perception that there is a sharp political divide between urban and rural and that rural Oregon people lean toward conservatism and away from progressive politics. This winter, Oregon Rural Action surveyed a representative sample of registered voters in Baker, Grant, Malheur, Union, Umatilla, and Wheeler counties. 69% of the people surveyed support Oregon Rural Action?s work related to renewable energy and the protection of family farms and ranches from development.
When one looks at the profiles of those we interviewed, the real opportunities for change are revealed: People who voted less (such as those who did not vote in primaries and did not vote in municipal elections) are more likely to support the work of Oregon Rural Action than those who are regular voters. This is fundamental in that it tells us that if we can get these people out there to vote, or participate in events like the Oregon Rural Congress we are likely to change the outcomes of elections and show that progressive politics actually exists in rural Oregon.
I also am a rural Oregonian and was a participant in the Rural Congress. We all need to remember that as Oregonians, both rural and urban, we are all in this together. However, that does not mean that we always remember that or for that matter are listening. The Rural Congress is an attempt to help the more urban areas remember that the rural parts of the state are out there and that there has been a great deal of Legislation that has occurred over the last few years that forgot to take into account that it did not apply well to rural areas and as a result left rural Oregon bereft of the traditional tools it had used in the past to sustain itself.If we are ever to be "One Oregon" we have to remember that we each live in very different areas that are as diverse as our great Country. We have to remember that we each have specific expertise and knowledge of our respective communities and listen to that expertise and trust that we are all trying to make Oregon a sustainable, healthy place to live.
Like its urban counterparts, rural Oregon has learned new practices and techniques that can make for a better future, but is unable to apply them due to legislation that has taken local control and completely consolidated it at the state level. I, for one, advocate for increased local control with the state acting as our partner and not as our land lord. In order for that to happen, it will take urban citizens to lobby their legislators on rural Oregon's behalf to initiate the changes that can put the tools necessary for rural Oregon's sustainability back in their tool box.
Both Urban and rural Oregon know that diversity is important and we are both experiencing similar, and our own unique changes, that we must respond to. If rural Oregon is to prosper, the minimum wage jobs that tourism creates can not be the only answer. Rural Oregonians, with the help of the land grant universities, have learned new methods of Agriculture and agribusiness, sustainable and healthy forest practices, natural resource utilization and protection and are eager to apply them, as they are the keys that will unlock rural Oregon's future...but that will happen only with urban Oregon's partnership, trust and understanding of the tools that are needed.
The Rural Congress is and will continue to be a voice of rural Oregon. the question is, are our urban brothers and sisters ready to listen and help.
As a rural Oregon who lives in Douglas County I can tell you that she does not represent more than a small minority of people in my county. Rural Oregonians in large measure share the concerns of Urban Oregonians. We are sadly often misrepresented by zealots such as Commissioner Kittelman.
I live in rural Oregon. I have for 36 years. Not even "in town" like some of these supposedly "rural" commissioners. There are a lot of reasons for why the resource extractive rural job opportunities have dried up. Many of them have nothing to do with State or Federal timber policies; policies that were enacted after rapacious over cutting during the Reagan era appalled a huge majority of ALL Oregonians. Many of these jobs were simply "shipped overseas", whether by trade policies, or lost to short term timber land speculation by out of state timber giants. Jobs have been cut back due to automation at mills, or a shrinking housing market, or obsolete plants that extractive industrial giants had refused to update for years. The jobs that remain - once unionized family wage jobs with benefits and rights - have been transformed into grunt labor, poorly paid sweat shop jobs that nobody can afford to take if they have a family or a mortgage or are older than 30. I had one of those unionized jobs.
But it had NOTHING to do with timber harvest restrictions. Take a look as you drive over 26 on your way to the coast and tell me that they're "not allowed to log". It's hogwash.
The caller that mentioned the nature of people who rise to power in the vacuum of rural politics had it spot on. Many of them are in the pockets of land speculators and developers, or in some cases they ARE the well connected would be real estate tycoons. And yes, many of them are far right wing Republicans with grudges and a festering sense of both resentment and entitlement. I've lived out here in far Columbia County and watched this for going on four decades.
There's no REAL rural/urban divide. It's a divide between those who think they "own" the land and are entitled to despoil our state for their own personal gain, and the rest of us Oregonians who understand the beauty of this place we live deserves protections from quick buck sharp operators.
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