Folks ask me what I believe in... I believe in the people choosing to be educated and to participate in the governance of this country. I believe in voting. I believe in the right to bear arms. I also believe in limiting access to arms meant for slaughter. Nobody hunts with an automatic weapon, your chance of hitting your prey are miniscule unless you have a huge round capacity and even then it's difficult. I believe in education, and spending tax money to educate our children. Competing in the global economy depends on educating our children and encouraging creativity. It's cheaper to educate our children than to go to war over a fuel supply that we could do without if we just developed our alternative sources. I believe that no man is an island, and that we need to be neighbors globally, helping each other with things we can't do for ourselves. I believe in the right to choose ones religion and the right to govern ones own body. I believe in paying wages that cover the cost of living. I believe that nobody NEEDS a million dollars and that someone with several million dollars has responsibilities to the people, and the country, without whom they couldn't have earned that money. I also believe that I am my brothers keeper and that I have an obligation to participate in an appropriate community response to behavior that impinges on the rights and well being of others.
It's 12:27 AM and I'm watching the fire on the OPB channel, grateful for the music and the peace in my small corner of the world. I can only imagine that others are doing more or less the same. At least, I hope they are. I'm hoping that everyone is somewhere warm, safe and not far away from the time when they'll sit down to a hot meal with people who care about them.
On this day, of all days, a large part of our country will be thinking about a man, born of woman, many centuries ago in a far away land. We'll be thinking about how that man promoted kindness, caring and generosity. We'll ignore the fact that our country has huge issues with racism, sexism and multiple other 'isms. We'll conveniently forget how, that man, from that far away country, would be considered a foreigner here. He'd be subject to racism, racial profiling, discrimination, and possible violence because of his ethnicity.
Many of us will conveniently forget to include our non Caucasian neighbors and co-workers in our dinner prayers. We'll sit down to our meals smug in the knowledge that we are among the chosen people of our god and brush aside the fact that all people are of the same species. So please, take a moment to remember that we are all subject to the same weaknesses and inherent frailties. We are all children of mothers and fathers; We are all born and all die. We may have different ideas, different desires, different needs, and we may have different shades to our skin, but when we chop off the tip of our finger slicing vegetables, we all bleed red.
Here in Portland, we appreciate a friend, a true friend, the kind that gets out of bed at 3am to pick you up by the side of the road because your rig broke down. We appreciate a mentor, the kind that doesn't say, "I told you so." when the thing you were warned against comes about, but rather, helps you figure out how to deal with the consequences. We appreciate an honest viewpoint, one that isn't complimentary but let's you make your own decision based on reality instead of desire. We also appreciate someone who wants to "Git 'er done." in the old fashioned, hard working, no-nonsense, ethical kind of way.
That kind of person is Charlie Hales. I'm proud to be a Portlander, an Oregonian, and a supporter of soon-to-be-mayor of Portland, Charlie Hales.