Living our values.

By Meredith Wood Smith of Portland, Oregon. Meredith is the chair of the Democratic Party of Oregon.

What makes you a Democrat?

For me, it’s our values, starting with caring about our neighbors and our community.

We live them everyday, as do our leaders.

Whether it’s Governor Ted Kulongoski’s week on food stamps, Earl Blumenauer’s two wheeled transportation, or U.S. Senator Ron Wyden’s devotion to accessibility - holding town halls in each of Oregon’s 36 counties – Oregon Democrats live their values.

Our activists have testified before House and Senate committees on issues ranging from reigning in outrageous interest rates on pay day loans to revamping the bottle bill and reducing electronic waste.

Just over the weekend, Democrats at our State Central Committee Meeting voted to support and work for the passage of the Healthy Kids Plan and Measure 49, the fix for Measure 37.

This upcoming weekend, Democrats will have another opportunity to demonstrate our values.

If you care about your neighbors and want to demonstrate your progressive values, please join the Democratic Party of Oregon on Saturday, July 28 for our Get Out The Food Drive.

Hundreds of activists from more than 15 Democratic county parties will collect more than a ton of food throughout Oregon and deliver the goods to local food banks.

Counties holding events include Baker, Benton, Clackamas, Columbia, Coos, Curry, Deschutes, Douglas, Jefferson, Lane, Lincoln, Marion, Multnomah, Polk, Washington and Yamhill.

We are dedicated to living our values. This food drive is an opportunity to show it. Please join us.

Comments

  • Uber-Dem (unverified)
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    Republicans always talk about personal responsibility but i never hear them talk about community responsibility. There does seem to a fundamental difference between of values between democrats and republicans. Dems see the truth of the matter - that we are all in this together. I just wish more democrats volunteered for thier issues and values. I think it is greart the Democrats are doing this and hope tons of people turnout for it.

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    I plan to be there!

    This is the stuff I really like. I spend a lot of time in meetings, but to me, being a Democrat is all about helping people to have better lives. Actions speak louder than words.

  • county (unverified)
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    Values = http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyUX6wV1lBQ Our values you say Our values you say? Hmmm, lets see, Oregon voters and that includes lots of Democrats voted to approve M37 61% of the vote I might add. The values of the democratic legislature and the Gov. did not think Oregon voters knew what they were voting for so they decided to put it back on the ballot. Oregon voters voted one man one woman, and again, the values of the legislature was to overturn the will of the peoples vote. Values you say, explain to me why so many people with children in school are leaving the city of Portland? Portland has lost 11,000 students in the last decade at a cost of $60 million a year in state money. The City Council on Wednesday got its first look at a $1.6 million plan aimed at balancing school enrollment by helping families continue to live in neighborhoods that are gentrifying around them, while at the same time helping local schools attract and retain wealthier newcomers. I bet one of the reasons the city has lost so many kids is that the city has lost its values, and the state is on the same path.
    Values, you bet I have values, I value less government, I value more money being spent on crime fighting and incarceration, I value family and the ability of family taking care of family not the government, I value lower taxes so the working class people can have more money in their pocket, I value green spaces and open spaces, I value personal property rights, I value my freedom and the men and women that allowed us to have it. I value a good fly fishing river and time spent in the outdoors. I value good leadership, unlike what we see out of Ted K, probably the worst Oregon leader we have ever had. I value respect, and this Oregon legislative body did not respect Oregon voters. And most of all I value my family, because when times get rough and you need help, its family not the Government that will help you. Yes I have values but I’m sure mine differ from yours and others.

  • Ray J (unverified)
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    County, you say that values have led Oregon leaders astray but apparently that is not shared by all, including The Oregonian, which by no stretch of the imagination could be called the liberal press, if I am following your views correctly. Check out its Op-Ed piece of July 3 at www.oregonlive.com/commentary/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/editorial/1183420521139470.xml&coll=7

    Reacting to a couple of your comments, that is really excellent for you that your family can take care of you but what about families that are abusive or abandon their children or when several get wiped out in a catastrophe. You say you value your freedom but obviously you do not believe that sexual minorities should enjoy those same freedoms.

  • Katy (unverified)
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    Couldn't agree more Meredith, great post!

  • jeff (unverified)
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    County,

    If you really valued fighting crime then you would support the gains made by the State Legislature which added 100 state patrol troopers, 7 state detectives and 15 forensic scientists to our criminal justice system. Also, if you really valued families then you would applaud the Democrats' effort to crack down on internet predators.

    I find your claim that children are leaving our schools because of a conflict in values dubious and unsubstantiated. A better answer might be because of our economy, which with Governor K, is becoming more competitive thanks to investments in transportation infrastructure, renewable energy and other emerging markets and education.

    Perhaps you are looking at the situation from a biased perspective, because progressive values are in line with those of the people of Oregon.

    Jeff

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    County Oregon voters voted one man one woman, and again, the values of the legislature was to overturn the will of the peoples vote.

    What utter crap. The overwhelming majority of Oregonians in poll after poll favor civil unions with equal rights for same-gender couples (and not just Oregon either, but nationally as well). That ignorant folks like yourself buy into scare tactic B.S. about the word "marriage" is why bigoted measures like 36 passed. And while CUs are still separate and unequal (because they do nothing on the Federal level) the overwhelming majority of voters support them. So your conflation of measure 36 and the passage of CU legislation is sophistry writ large.

    All that aside, majority rules is not an expression of values. If we used that as the basis alone for what constitutes "values" then we would still "value" and have Jim Crow and anti-miscegenation laws on the books and being enforced. Just because YOUR values are predicated on discrimination and bigotry does not make it values that Democrats nor the majority of Oregonians as a whole ascribe too.

    Furthermore, within 10 years the majority of Oregonians (and Americans as a whole) will support full marriage rights under the law. Don't believe me? Look at any of the polling and the demographic shift which occurs as older bigoted voters shuffle off their mortal coil and are replaced by younger, less bigoted voters.

    The culture war about discriminating against non-heterosexuals is over. Your side LOST. We are just waiting for the corpse to stop twitching as we push forward to make it so that ALL people (regardless of their sexual orientation) are treated equally under the law. Sorry that THAT value and concept tweaks you off so much.

    BTW, didn't you get the memo... immigrants are your approved boogeyman du jour for this election cycle. "Brown" is the new "pink" ...try to keep up.

  • MCT (unverified)
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    Are all those caring & sharing Dems some of the sheep who fell for the opposition's big-budget propaganda, and voted last November against Measure 42....allowing the insurance companies to continue using consumers' credit scores to jack up their auto insurance rates? Are these the same altruists who were shaking in their shoes in the erroneous belief that THEIR insurance rates would be raised if insurance companies were forced to do the right thing....base rates soley on the policy holders' driving records?

    How is that "helping people have better lives", "caring about our neighbors and community"? Yes actions DO speak louder and words....I'm still waiting to be impressed. So far I've seen only a lot of self-agrandizing hypocrisy, and nit-picking, name-calling rhetoric...instead of progressive free-thinking discussion. Almost every post here on blueoregon disintegrates into a dog fight, off track, bogged in dogma and denigration. A microcosm of modern politics.

    Meredith, with all due respect, I'm sure you do have the best interests of your neighbors and community at heart. But I'll bet you live in an upscale neighborhood, and I simply do not believe the Dems "at the top" really give a hoot about those at the bottom financially. Measure 42 being voted down proved that, and if the Dems really gave a sh-t, then a Dem in the legislature should have been busy drawing up a bill to right the wrong done to low and fixed income citizens (and those whose credit has been ruined by any number of finaincial catastophies...like medical bills and divorce) when Measure 42 was voted down.

    There are lots of ways to help the "needy" beyond giving them free canned food. Y'all missed an opportunity do be charitable and "give" them justice last November.

    Yeah, I'm a cynic...the difference in voting yes for fairness in insurance premiums, and a food drive, is that no one can see your vote, but you might get some PR and your photo taken for the 5 o'clock news at a food drive. Will one be able to register to vote as a Dem there?

    A food drive is a good thing....but give me a break on all this "living our values" stuff....obviously not all Dems do. Too busy counting contributions from the insurance lobbies.

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    Hey, "county" that's the fourth time you've posted that video link. Move along - and keep it on topic, please.

  • Bert Lowry (unverified)
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    If you personally value feeding the hungry, you should join the food drive. On the other hand, if you value turning a request to help feed the poor into a chance to rant at people you don't understand and don't like, you should do that.

    By their works shall you know them.

    It's a good cause. Everyone should help out.

  • county (unverified)
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    First of all lestatdelc you need to cool your jets and look at what I said instead of interpreting how you think I feel. And you Ray J, and I quote you “You say you value your freedom but obviously you do not believe that sexual minorities should enjoy those same freedoms.” Everyone in this country is free, what you do in your bedroom is between you and your bedroom. I’m only 5’8” tall, can I claim that because I’m not 6’ tall that I am a minority and that I deserve special treatment? How people partake in sexual activity is there own business, but when you claim it as minority status, that’s BS, you are basically saying anyone with any issue can claim some type of minority status. I value people and people’s right to vote, and people did vote, the legislature then came back and did an end around on the voters. I would have more respect for people if they would have put it on the ballot and let the voters vote for it, that way you can say the people of Oregon are behind you on this issue, but you can’t say that right now. lestatdelc your quote “All that aside, majority rules is not an expression of values.” Then what is it? My mom and dad are Dems and they voted NO, why, because of their values, that argument does not hold water. Without Multnomah county M36 yes votes = 61% of the state. Again, I don’t care what people do in there bedrooms, not my concern, what I do get concerned about is when the people vote and the politicians in Salem overturn it. In this case it sounds like it was in your favor, but next time it might night be. Lestatdelc and I quote “The culture war about discriminating against non-heterosexuals is over. Your side LOST. “I don’t see this as a loss for me; I see it as a loss for the Oregon voter. This should have gone back to the voters and the people of Oregon should decide the fate of this issue, then, then when it passed and who knows how many times it would have taken, then you would have some credit in your argument. Values are important regardless of your sexual orientation, color, race or whatever. Without value, our votes mean nothing.

  • (Show?)

    Cross-posted a re-worked version of my reply to "county" above to the wiseass.org website which I am reposting here as I have added links to back up my posts.

    Posted by: county | July 26, 2007 at 12:19 PM ... Oregon voters voted one man one woman, and again, the values of the legislature was to overturn the will of the peoples vote. ...

    Which is utter crap. The overwhelming majority of Oregonians in poll after poll (even conservative skewed polls like Riley Reasearch's one from two years) favor civil unions (CUs) which extend equal rights for same-gender couples (and not just Oregon either, but nationally as well I might add). That ignorant folks like "county" buy into scare tactic B.S. about the word "marriage" is why bigoted measures like 36 passed. And while CUs are still separate and unequal (because they do nothing on the Federal level) the overwhelming majority of voters support them. So his/hers conflation of measure 36 and the passage of CU legislation is sophistry writ large.

    All that aside, majority rules is not an expression of values. If we used that as the basis alone for what constitutes "values" then we would still "value" and have Jim Crow and anti-miscegenation laws on the books and being enforced. Just because people like "county" hold values which are predicated on discrimination and bigotry does not make it values that Democrats, nor the majority of Oregonians as a whole ascribe too.

    Furthermore, within 10 years the majority of Oregonians (and Americans as a whole) will support full marriage rights under the law. Don't believe me? Look at any of the polling and the demographic shift which occurs as older bigoted voters shuffle off their mortal coil and are replaced by younger, less bigoted voters.

    The culture war about discriminating against non-heterosexuals is over. The reactionary-right's side lost. The rest of us are just waiting for the corpse to stop twitching as we push forward to make it so that ALL people (regardless of their sexual orientation) are treated equally under the law. Why that value and concept tweaks off people like "county" so much is truly confounding.

    BTW, it seems that "county" didn't get the memo... immigrants are the approved boogeyman du jour for this election cycle. "Brown" is the new "pink" ...though I guess it is too hard a task for people like "county" to keep straight (pun noted) who they are supposed to fear and hate from election cycle to election cycle.

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    More bullshit from county.

    I’m only 5’8” tall, can I claim that because I’m not 6’ tall that I am a minority and that I deserve special treatment?

    If the law denies you the same rights because you are 5' 8" then yes, those laws are discriminatory and must be changed. But since they don't, it is a strawman argument.

    That you can't grasp that marriage laws discriminates on the basis of gender of the couple seeking to codify their relationship with legal standing seems to be the problem.

    How people partake in sexual activity is there own business, but when you claim it as minority status, that’s BS, you are basically saying anyone with any issue can claim some type of minority status.

    This isn't about sexual activity, it is about gender discrimination in marriage law. Someone is either homosexual, bisexual or heterosexual whether they are having sex or not (bedroom or otherwise). So again you are putting up BS and pushing it as a valid argument.

    I value people and people’s right to vote, and people did vote, the legislature then came back and did an end around on the voters.

    If we left it to simple majority rules on such matters, we would still have laws banning mixed-race marriages. That said, even the Oregon Family Council (the ones pushing Measure 36) said they weren’t opposed to “Civil Unions” during the Measure 36 campaign. So spare me the bullshit that Measure 36 was some mandate given by Oregonain's that is was about stopping CUs.

    Taken together with the polling I linked to in my amended post above which points to the actual views held by Oregonians (which by a clear majority support CUs, unequal as they are).

    Then what is it? My mom and dad are Dems and they voted NO, why, because of their values, that argument does not hold water.

    They voted their bigoted "values" on that issue issue, but majority rules is not a "value" in this context, it is a simplistic definition of process. Your claptrap is analogous to claiming that optical scan machine count ballots (as opposed to punch-card ballots) is a "value" or that requiring a 60 vote majority in the U.S. Senate to end debate on a bill or amendment is a "value". It isn't. It is process.

    I do not wish to further derail this thread off the topic of Meredith's piece about helping the hungry with a can-food drive, but you are not just factually incorrect, but intellectually dishonest in your sophist arguments. I point this out to disuade others from giving your BS any creadence (since it has none). You can have the last word on this for now as I am stepping away for the better part of the evening.

  • (Show?)

    Edit to my above post, I forgot to blockquote part of the exchange, and so this portion:

    I value people and people’s right to vote, and people did vote, the legislature then came back and did an end around on the voters. If we left it to simple majority rules on such matters, we would still have laws banning mixed-race marriages. That said, even the Oregon Family Council (the ones pushing Measure 36) said they weren’t opposed to “Civil Unions” during the Measure 36 campaign. So spare me the bullshit that Measure 36 was some mandate given by Oregonain's that is was about stopping CUs.

    ...should read:

    I value people and people’s right to vote, and people did vote, the legislature then came back and did an end around on the voters.

    If we left it to simple majority rules on such matters, we would still have laws banning mixed-race marriages. That said, even the Oregon Family Council (the ones pushing Measure 36) said they weren’t opposed to “Civil Unions” during the Measure 36 campaign. So spare me the bullshit that Measure 36 was some mandate given by Oregonain's that is was about stopping CUs.

    Mea culpa.

  • Himself (unverified)
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    I care about neighbors and believe in collective social responsibility.

    That's why I ask that the Democratic Party of Oregon to please work to reform our tax code so that we can have stable and adequate revenue to fund things like schools, social services and public safety.

    Food drives are nice and all, but it would a more meaningful in the long-term if Democrats, now in control of the legislature and executive, would do something about the mess created by the "taxpayer's revolt" of the '90s. Sure, things seem pretty rosy now, but what happens when the next economic downturn hits? (I can predict what will happen to Portland Public Schools, and it ain't pretty.)

    For all the self-congratulating I've heard, I'm pretty disappointed in the achievements of this legislature.

    Thanks.

  • East Bank Thom (unverified)
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    I value less government, I value more money being spent on crime fighting and incarceration

    So which is it? more or less gub'ment? If you're unhappy with criminal walking the streets, why not blame the free market?

    unlike what we see out of Ted K, probably the worst Oregon leader we have ever had. I value respect

    Oh the irony. Oh the hypocrisy. It's typical of these (tattered) flag wavers to say they support the troops (unless you're a Democrat). Kulongoski served this country honorably in the Marine Corps and continues to serve this State well, showing more respect to its fallen soldiers that Bush, Cheney & Co.

    I value a good fly fishing

    And you do like to troll as well.

  • TheRealAnon (unverified)
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    Here's a fun little thought experiment. Suppose one of the sexes was superior to the other. Namely, suppose women are far superior to men, and therefore are more desirable mates. Women, under "Protection of Marriage" legislation, would be denied the right of access to this superior state of marriage. Thus, they would be denied, based solely upon their gender, the right to marry the superior group.

    Likewise the argument could be turned upside down.

    Just a little thought on values.

  • Democrat (unverified)
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    Meredith, I'm a Democrat of many, many years and found what you say here to be an embarrassment.

    Whether it’s Governor Ted Kulongoski’s week on food stamps

    It is offensive when a privileged white guy, in between originally advocating for the Iraq war and refusing to lead on health care reform because he is so desperate for political and personal affirmation (see my comments below on SJR4 - which is not "Healthy Kids"), decides to do a made-for-TV spectacle of slumming it. Many of us who have been active all our lives fighing for economic and social justice for all simply as a matter-of-course as Democrats , had to look away when Ted was pulling this stunt on TV because it was just so obnoxious, condescending, and embarrasing.

    Earl Blumenauer’s two wheeled transportation

    Look, we all smile at how Earl is a living charicarture of an entire district of people who have little clue what good and true progressive Democrats actually stand for. This is the guy, after all, who has refused to even join the Progressive Caucus, but has time to be a member in many dozen other self-serving caucuses. And we get a good laugh as we have watched the reality show of his quest to travel from that backwater to "urban sophisticate", symbolized by his transition from goofy bowties to modeling the Steve Jobs Collection. But if this is what you claim to be a core Democratic Party values, we have a bigger problem in our party than some of us even dared think.

    U.S. Senator Ron Wyden’s devotion to accessibility - holding town halls in each of Oregon’s 36 counties

    This is the kindest spin I've heard yet on Ron's efforts to make sure first and foremost that he keeps Ron in front of people so he keeps getting elected, and those in the Party who are trying to defend real Democrat values keep distracted from replacing him.

    The people to whom Ron and his staff have been most obnoxious are those of us in the Democratic base who have dared to challenge him on his betrayal of fundamental Democrat Party values: From him leading in the effort to pass a bankruptcy "reform" bill that seriously limits hard working people who have been ruined by health care crises from declaring bankruptcy, to refusing to fight in any way against the Roberts nomination and defending his vote for Roberts because Roberts (a guy who had a grand total of 2 years judging) was well qualified, to now pushing a health care plan that would force us to buy insurance from private insurance companies, Ron has hardly been a stalwart for core Democratic Party values.

    Just over the weekend, Democrats at our State Central Committee Meeting voted to support and work for the passage of the Healthy Kids Plan

    SJR is not Healthy Kids, that is SB3, (look it up) and that statute passed this fall. In another stupendous repudiation of core Democrat values, a faction of our party hijacked our party and have put before the voters a plan that at bottom line in practice says the economically less advantage should pay for their own kids health insurance.

    Furthermore that faction actually cared so little about actually providing health care for kids that they put a blackmailing nuclear option clause in Healthy Kids (SB3 Section 51): They threatened us by saying SB3 does not go into effect, and they would not work to actually provide insurance for kids, unless and until we pass SJR4 and tell lower income people they had better start pulling their own load and paying for their own kids. This is a shameful political stunt first and foremost, it is an embarrassment to good and true Democrats, and the cynicism of this that has set back the effort to build a concensus for health care reform effort that many of as a true Democrats have been working on for so long.

    The biggest fraud of all is that only a fraction of the SJR4 revenue actually would go to kids: Over half, 55.4%, would actually go to enforcement and prevention, actually undermining efforts to provide health care. Less than half, 44.6%, would actually be split between the three groups of people provided for under the Oregon Health Plan, only one of which is kids. Those facts are what makes that portion of our party with which you evidently self-affiliate so dishonest and such politically destructive betrayers of true Democratic Party values.

    Democrats should be lead in the effort to vote this down because it is so completely contradictory to the principles of equity, justice, and inclusiveness those of us who are real Democrats stand for. We should be railing at our representatives for their venality in this and demanding that they give us a health care plan that actually represents true Democratic Party values in the special session next year that makes us all responsible for funding it. And we should demand that they stay in session until they do.

    Oregon Democrats live their values.

    You should have just announced the event and left it at that, instead of turning the announcement into shameless political spin hyping the self-serving views of a group of people who have not exactly been shining leadership examples for core Democratic Party values. And people should be reminded that they can always contact any church or public service organization in their local area to find out where they can contribute cash and food, any time they feel they want to, irrespective of this particular effort.

  • East Bank Thom (unverified)
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    Ted was pulling this stunt on TV because it was just so obnoxious, condescending, and embarrasing.

    I heard a few people who used to buy the line that people "on food stamps" were gaming the system to buy steaks when "working people" have to do with out... Now they realize how hard it can be to make ends meet. If you really are such a hot advocate on poverty issues, why do you knock the Governor's successful attempt to enlighten more Oregonians? Why make the perfect the enemy of the good? I'm neither better informed nor highly motivated by your bitching.

  • j_luthergoober (unverified)
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    county: So many "values" but no virtues. The "I" word sez it all; check yer well fellow citizen, there's something in it. Isn't it reassuring to know that our democracy is designed to tolerate folks that display your brand of misanthropic behavior?

  • Rose Wilde (unverified)
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    I will be doing the food drive and canvass. I see this as a good way to link direct charity to policies that promote equality, security, and shared responsibility for community well being. Hunger is a political issue and I salute the DPO for making the connection. Bus Project founder Jefferson Smith makes the point that we will volunteer to clean up the beach, but won't volunteer for a candidate who will make policies to keep the beaches clean."

    To me, policy, regulation, etc. is much more efficient and effective than relying on individual volunteering or philanthropy (though this can go too far!). Not that volunteering isn't valuable -- BOTH are critical. However, it is a lot simpler to give money or time to a charity than it is to get involved in the complicated political world, where often the right or moral choice is hard to identify.

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