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Newspaper Article

    Can't we agree to disagree?

    BY Don Vowell
    09/30/2005
    by Don Vowell on 9/30/05.

    I have always been conscious of the phrase “one man, one vote.” It is America’s great leveling device.

    I am not sure if all voters in Keizer have the same influence. FreedomWorks, the artist formerly known as Citizens for a Sound Economy, has decided to put three initiatives on the ballot – a state spending cap, a measure to have judges elected by geographical area, and a measure to crimp unions' ability to use collected dues for political purposes.

    Freedom Works’ local agent is Russ Walker. The Oregon state representatives who co-sponsored the initiative to restrict unions’ political fund-raising are Jeff Kropf, R-Sublimity, and Kim Thatcher, R-Keizer. In Russ Walker’s words, “They filed that under our request … As lawmakers, they make good primary spokespeople for the issue.”

    I know that Rep. Thatcher is honest and independent, but the superficial appearance is that Russ Walker, who gets a lot of money from FreedomWorks, has “requested” our representative, who in turn got campaign financing from Walker’s organization, to introduce legislation. On the surface it looks like a Washington, D.C. organization is pulling strings in Keizer.

    I hope that all constituents are afforded that same privilege. I would introduce legislation to stop wasting money on an issue already twice defeated. I suspect it would finally disappear if unions voted Republican.

    It will be interesting to hear the justification. Unions are just collections of working people. It would take some creativity to make the case that working-class Americans have too much influence over legislation these days.

    The usual lead argument is that union members are sometimes forced to finance promotion of political causes with which they disagree.

    I pay taxes, and do it willingly, even though my own state representative seems to be working against my interests. That is the way both unions and government work.

    If every project or action undertaken by a union or a government required the unanimous consent of its constituency, nothing could ever get done. I pay both union dues and taxes. Both entities do things I strongly disagree with, but I have not withdrawn support in either case. Roads still need fixing, people need food and shelter, and a lot of work for the common good is accomplished, in spite of this Legislature.

    The buffoonery has been a source of amusement. Now it is a serious obstacle to the business of Oregon.

    Laws are made behind the closed doors of caucuses. Karen Minnis rules as a queen in spite of a Democratic majority in the Senate and governor’s office. Wayne Scott is so inebriated by power that he blocked the bipartisan measure of a Coos Bay representative not even in his own party as a punitive measure for an incorrect vote. A tax cap is not government, but the abdication of governance.

    One man, one vote. The blame for this pettifoggery is with the voters. If you disregard the view of all others to elect a my-way-or-the-highway ideologue, you have contributed to gridlock rather than advancing your own cause. If you believe that only a person sharing your views should be elected, you are doomed to disappointment.

    No two people agree on everything. It is risky to believe that you are right about everything and others are mistaken. I may feel that I am the one who is right about everything, but I must still work with you in forming a functional government. Worse the luck.