Introducing myself.

Jeff Golden

Picture 3 Glad you're here.

The columns you will find here began as a blog called "REALLY Taking America Back," which I began in 2007 after deciding not to seek the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination to take on Gordon Smith. Early on I decided on a slogan I thought was cool: "Let's Take Our Country Back." It didn't take long to realize that candidates for every race in sight, from Soil Conservation District Board to President, was using a variation on the same theme. Even Gordon freaking Smith was. Evidently the words are easier to say than to make real. Actually, we've known that at least since the 1970s, when we delighted in the scene from Network where Howard Beale gets thousands of New Yorkers to throw open their windows and yell "I'm made as hell and I'm not gonna take it anymore!" Great. Wonderful. Except that it turns out that "not taking it" calls on more from us than yelling that we're not gonna take it. We've taken it, and worse, for the three decades since.

So what, I wondered aloud ever since in my Immense Possibilities blog, will it take to REALLY take our country back? The short simple answer (and I'm better at long convoluted answers) is to do our citizen job the way that folks like Jefferson envisioned it, instead of pitching a fit and dropping out when one letter and one phone call to our Congress-member doesn't end the occupation of Iraq by next Monday morning. Adlai Stevenson had it right when he described a "patriotism which is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime." I liked that enough to steal it for the title of my 4th of July column this year. And I'm pretty sure that doing citizenship right, to give you a little more context for what you'll read here, takes getting less hooked by the provocative red meat issues thrown out there to polarize us (Gay marriage, choice, flag-burning) and staying focused on economic justice issues with potential to connect us to 80% or more of American voters, some of whom voted for W twice largely because they were distracted by bullshit red-meat issues. As a consequence you're likely to read some common-ground seeking "Can't we just get along?" pieces here, which I'll strive not to make too maudlin.

It feels good to land at Blue Oregon, if a little ironic. Nobody's accused me of being the state's most loyal Democrat. I came away from exploring the U.S. Senate race more convinced than before that entrenched elements of our party are part of the problem. Whether it's Congressional leadership declaring at the git-go that single-payer health care is off the table, caving to expansion of extra-legal wiretapping and domestic surveillance, approving at breakneck speed trillions for Wall Street bailouts that demand nothing from Wall Street, or revving up the war in Afghanistan for unexplained (and seemingly incoherent) reasons, I find myself longing way too often for a party I can believe in. Party loyalty's a fine and sometimes vital thing, but in these times I doubt that think it's the key ingredient for taking our country back. That will take more supple thinking. If these postings encourage that...terrific.

Comments

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    I'm always glad to discover a new (to me) voice on Oregon and national politics. Given the list of issue you present, I think we share many general concerns and points of view (see my blog here). So post away on your blog, and comment often here on Blue Oregon.

    I also like the shift you made in the title of your blog. We need to move our country forward not backwards - so, for me, changing from "REALLY Taking America Back" to "Immense Possibilities: Vision and Tools for Creating the World We Want" reflects the fact that we won most elections and now have the responsibility to govern for the future.

  • Bill R. (unverified)
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    Jeff, I remember you when we lived in Ashland in the 80s and your stint on public radio.

    I also believe you were a friend of my father, Bill Moore, who spoke of you from time to time when he was active in Medford politics.

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    Welcome aboard Mr. Golden. I too, have a couple of historical contact points with you. You interviewed me for your radio show back in '04 on the occassion of the '04 convention in Boston. (Dark Days)

    Of course I have a copy of your book "As if we were Grownups", which I found to be hopelessly optimistic at the time of my first reading, but now see as perhaps not totally out of the realm of the possible going forward.

    As for Dem Party loyalty, one of the main reasons that I've hung in here at Blue Oregon is that this site is always more hungry for the well reasoned idea or the killer bon mot than they are about party loyalty.

    Welcome aboard....

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    What a prompt, hearty welcome. It appears that things happen on this site. Thank you. Dave, as to "We won most elections..." Did anyone actually notify the Obama, Reid and Pelosi people that that happened? Maybe they didn't get the memo.

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    Welcome aboard, Jeff.

    I agree about party loyalty. Although I would take it further. I see it as one of the main obstacles to meaningful progress.

    I had my tablesaw listed on Craig's List and yesterday Joel Haugen bought it. You may remember him. He was the GOP and Independent Party candidate for the 1st Congressional District against Rep. Wu last cycle.

    When I pressed Haugen about his affiliation (he's still a Republican) his explanation was that he'd always been a Republican and probably always would. We talked Gubernatorial politics and he readily agreed with my assertion that Vic Atiyah was the last "sane" GOP candidate we've seen in Oregon. His ideology seemed clearly to be moderate to liberal. Yet his reasoning for his party loyalty came down to that song from Fiddler on the Roof - Tradition!

    On the flip side of the coin... a couple jobs back I had the pleasure of working with by far the smartest and most capable shop foreman I've ever worked for.

    Towards the end of the run-up to Bush beginning his little adventure in Iraq, This guy and I and his assistant (another incredibly bright & gifted guy) got to talking politics. We all strongly disagreed with Bush. But the shop foreman explained that he was then a Republican only because he hadn't switched his registration back from having changed from Dem to GOP so that he could vote for his sister-in-law in a GOP primary race the previous cycle.

    Blood is thicker than water, as they say, and I had no beef with his reasoning. What struck me though was his insistance that he'd been raised a Democrat and, except for that one election cycle, had always been a Democrat. Why? Same as Haugen: Tradition!

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    Pat, you know the two guys I was just talking about - both from PPI. Chris was S.F. and I'm drawing a blank on his assistant's name... but you know him too.

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    Welcome to the fray, Jeff. :)

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    Did anyone actually notify the Obama, Reid and Pelosi people that that happened? Maybe they didn't get the memo.

    The memo was written last week when the virtually moribund progressive caucus in the US House got 50+ members to sign on to "No public option-no vote on the bill".

    Obama Reid and Pelosi have taken us for granted because the could. A fractious and undirected group that will never, as is the case with Blue Dogs, vote with the Republicans has been easy to ignore. Now that they are united on this one point, they've been rewarded for their behavior with a big cash infusion from Move On.

    No matter how allegedly liberal or progressive, every one of them is running for re election all of the time, and only teeth and cash will hold their attention for long.

    Earl and DeFazio are both members BTW.........

  • mp97303 (unverified)
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    Party loyalty above all else is IMO the leading cause of what is wrong with the country. No where in the Constitution have I found this great land ever referred to as the United States of Democrats(Republicans). Our leaders and the people who elect them need to vote for what is best for our country, not just what has the right letter after it.

    My short voting record shows that I try to vote for the best candidate regardless of party:

    Perot (I) Clinton (D) Bush (R) Kerry (D) although I would have voted for a 3 toed sloth from Mars to get Bush out of office Obama (D)

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    Mp, could you tell me how the 3-toed Martian sloth would have come down on single-payer? Jeff

  • Joe White (unverified)
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    Pat Ryan wrote:

    "progressive caucus in the US House got 50+ members to sign on to "No public option-no vote on the bill""

    They will abandon this position. Wait and see.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Right on Jeff! Glad to see you here!

  • Kurt Chapman (unverified)
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    Jeff Golden; the man who never met a sentance that he couldn't turn into a paragraph.

    Especially if it could turn into marketing self.

  • Terry Parker (unverified)
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    I definitely agree with the concept “Let's Take Our Country Back." We the people” need to take our country back from the special interests, activists and politicians that want to dictate our lifestyles including how, where and what type of housing we live in; how we travel, move about and what the mode should be; and even what we eat. This country was built on premise of freedom of choice - not that of a social engineering government be it through developing socialistic and manipulative type tax codes, or by using other methods and ways to control the choices the public can make. The power should be of the people, not power over the people.

  • mp97303 (unverified)
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    Mp, could you tell me how the 3-toed Martian sloth would have come down on single-payer? Jeff

    He(it) would love it. Health care on Mars isn't cheap.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    For once in a very long time, if ever there was one, I have encountered a thread in which I can find a theme of reality as opposed to touting the usual delusion that the Democratic party is the bastion of progressive politics.

    Unfortunately, if progressives are to be a force we need greater numbers AND a leader - and maybe whatever is in the water or the air in Vermont that puts its citizens on a higher level of political philosophy.

    Progressives did have a chance to follow a good leader a few years ago, but I won't mention his name as that will just bring the rabid yellow dogs out of the pits to ruin what is a relatively good thread so far.

    <h2>Welcome aboard, Jeff.</h2>

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