Sunday, September 23, 2007


I just haven’t the time or the energy to indulge in a lot of political debate these days. I don’t suffer as much from those self-righteous hairballs that I used to hack up a couple of times a week, in the form of political rants in this space. However, my sojourn into intense entrepreneurialism has not completely re-directed my focus away from things of more universal import. From time to time, I encounter stories from the outside world that penetrate the fog and insist that I climb, however wearily, atop my soapbox and rail…

The latest story emanates from my own adopted home state of Oregon, where I have resided since 1984— nearly half my life—in a blissful state of magnanimous liberalism, alongside others of my kind. Unfortunately, we liberals are also acutely aware that Oregon is certifiably schizophrenic when it comes to things political. The "Old Guard"—gun-toting, bible-thumping farmers and ranchers—have dug in their heels and heaved as far to the right as humanly possible since the first "dirty hippie" set foot on Oregon soil back in the sixties. The Left has responded with a successful passive-aggressive strategy: we have simply taken over the more densely populated urban areas. Our sheer numbers have been enough to plant Oregon firmly in the column of "Blue States."

Still, we do hemorrhage from time to time. In glorious, unadulterated bright red. The same initiative system that produced our ground-breaking "right-to-die" legislation has puked abominations like the Springfield and Canby anti-gay decrees, and threatens, on the next ballot, to allow Columbia County to declare itself an official "Illegal Immigrant Free Zone." We who bleed blue have learned that we must remain vigilant, and never assume that our conservative neighbors’ most inconceivable perversions of the Constitution to conform to their small-minded prejudices won’t become law (at least temporarily) if we "forget" to vote.

So, what is happening in Oregon today that causes my blue blood to boil? The story comes out of Medford. With a population of over 65,000, it is the largest city in southern Oregon, separated by more than merely hundreds of miles and the Siskiyou Mountains from the liberal bastions of Eugene, Salem, and Portland to the north. Over the years, southern Oregon has remained staunchly agrarian, vigorously resisting economic pressures from perilously nearby northern California and the population centers of Central and Northern Oregon that swing the state to the left. Medford is conservative, Republican, and NRA through and through, and to hell with all them California commies and Bush-bashing Portlanders…

This week, the news broke that a high school teacher in Medford is suing the school district for the right to carry a 9mm Glock semi-automatic pistol to school. It seems she is a victim of domestic violence, and she fears her ex-husband, against whom she has taken out a restraining order, will confront her and carry out his threats to kill her on school grounds. All together now: W…..T…..F??!?!? This story is absurd, unbelievable and disturbing on SO many levels. Where should I start?

Let’s start with "It’s All About Me." I’m a teacher. I went to school, got a degree, and got a certificate. It’s what I do five days a week, nine months a year. I belong to the union. I’m a state employee, I have state benefits, PERS, and tenure, so it’s damned difficult, if not impossible, to fire me. Why should I care if my very presence in the school could put children in danger, by virtue of the fact that I might be stalked by a violent ex-husband. I have the Constitutional right to defend myself, and if it means plugging a couple of unfortunate kids who get caught in the crossfire while my ex and I are taking potshots at each other in the hallway, we'll just call that "collateral damage."

And then there’s the"Do as I Say, Not as I Do" aspect. "Now, children, you must never think that the key to life is wielding the most powerful weapon. Always control your temper. Always understand that there are alternatives to violence. Talk to each other. Work things out. Empathize with your peers. Violence never solves anything. Oh, this? I just carry it for protection….heh heh…"

This woman is a teacher. A TEACHER. And so, by the by, is the violent ex-husband of whom she lives in fear. Teachers. Of children.

And the religious right screams about gays being allowed to teach.

Truly. I have to wonder if this babe has all her marbles. And I have to seriously question the ethics (and cognitive abilities) of the law firm that took on this case. The first thing that came to my over-worked, semi-delerious mind was, "You have GOT to be kidding."

But they’re not. And that is what causes me to greatly fear for the future of the species. Especially the American breed…


  1. Incredible. At the very least these two should never be in the same school. Union or no union. Two, maybe I'm a chicken but frankly, I think I'd be checking out job opportunities in Maine, Vermont or New Hampshire. Yippee, they let her bring the gun to school, he'll look for her some where else. I guess not all the nuts roll down hill to Florida, some of them roll over the mountains and come to Oregon.


  2. I worry about the American species as well.  I wonder ... where has all the common sense and the good sense to ask, 'WTF?!' gone?  Really.  There has to be a better way ... and let's face it, when it comes to law suits, any suit fits that turns to green.