Category Archives: Politics

And now for something you’ll probs just all mock me for

Sister Simone Campbell being an awesome badass lady at the at the DNC. Lady Pope 2013!

Sister Simone Campbell being an awesome badass lady at the at the DNC. Lady Pope 2013!

There’s a lot for a moderate, mostly lapsed Catholic woman like me to comment on this week.

Pope resigning. (Hooray! I never saw him as the kind of spiritual leader who could help me answer the persistent questions and concerns I have about faith in general, and the church in particular. As far as I’m concerned, Sister Simone Campbell is my Pope.) Ash Wednesday. Lent.

While I don’t attend Mass regularly, I have developed kind of a weird habit of praying the Rosary while running. The repetition of both exercise hypnotizes me in a comforting way.

I live in “sin” with my boyfriend and I don’t think that’s wrong. I use birth control, and think more people should – and should get it for free. I believe, without judgement, that love is love and the heart wants what it wants – no matter what or who that leads a person to. (And no God that I know “hates” anyone.)

Yet, I still believe in the promise of the church and the teachings of acceptance and charity taught in the new testament. Because I believe in those things, this is one of my favorite times of year. It helps me understand what I find to be the most beautiful line of scripture:

A light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

John, 1:5 

Truth be told, I attend Mass every Christmas Eve just to hear Father Harry (possibly the world’s most wonderful priest) say it. There are so many dark days in life, and whether you believe in God, or Goddess, or science, or nothing at all, it’s nice to understand that darkness – in whatever form you confront it – may be defeated.

So, I like Lent because it’s an opportunity to build on that thought, to contemplate our mortality — our internal darkness — and to make a small sacrifice to try to be better, to not be overcome by it.

This year I’m giving up my biggest vice – dairy. So, back to the “vegan kickstart” only this time it’s 43 days, not 21. Wish me luck, and whether you believe in some of the same things as me, or now think I’m just a zombie-Jesus believing nut job – I wish YOU luck with whatever struggles you’re up against.

Enjoy them, fight through them, learn from them.

The struggle, just before finding a light, is the best part of being human.

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Filed under Growing Pains, Life, overshare, Politics

Eye roll, Portland

I’m not disagreeing with the premise of this article (The Portlandification of Brooklyn)  — which as far as I can tell is  Portland and Brooklyn have the same kind of annoying yuppies — but I am giving it a huge eye roll.

I think I’ve said it before, but Portland is the most latently racist city I’ve ever been in. It’s not overt, it’s more an unchecked, completely unexamined white privilege thing.

It’s statements from college kids calling North Portland “the ghetto” because it’s the historically Black part of town. (A hilarious statement by the way if you’ve ever actually been in a real ghetto… North Portland ain’t it.) It’s years of systematic neglect and outright redlining in the African American parts of town. It’s the city council constantly pretending that North Portland and far-East Portland don’t really exist. It’s the disgustingly sparse news coverage of what happened to Yashanee Vaughn compared to the  extreme 24/7 coverage of what might have happened to Kyron Horman.

Or quotes like this one from the article — “Portland is Brooklyn without Black people” — that completely discount, ignore and fail to see 7.8 percent of the population of our city. Not to mention the 9.4 percent that’s Hispanic.

Sometimes I feel like Portlanders intentionally focus on the city’s “whiteness” because they actually don’t want to see it any other way.

I’ve never lived in Brooklyn, so can’t speak to what the dynamic is really like there (and I don’t trust this article to paint me that picture clearly) but I’m betting that long-time Brooklyn-ites take issue with this statement from the piece: “Brooklyn is producing and consuming more of its own culture than ever before.”

What does that even mean? Judging by the story, culture means coffee shops off formerly “scary” train stops, bikes and farmers markets where you can buy organic chocolate. Or maybe culture is this, another quote from the article, “Yeah, I ride my bike every day, I make pickles in my basement, and I sell those myself.”

Um…Pickles?  Spike Lee, Walt Whitman,  Basquiat, Arthur Miller, stern looking German man who designed the Brooklyn Bridge, Mos Def, Al Capone, thousands of other people who have been actually creating and consuming culture in BK for generations — please join me in a collective eye roll. Thank you.

It would be easy to let this girl off the hook saying “she’s just so young,” but we’re the same age, so no.

Ok, time to stop complaining and go for a run to celebrate the parts of this town that I love. Note — those parts have nothing to do with clowns on unicycles or making homemade pickles.

Why Portland is worth it to me.

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Filed under Media, Politics, Portland

A rare (I hope) rant

It’s a goal of mine not to turn this into a whiny, rant filled blog because God knows there are enough angry people screaming at the Internet in this world.

That said, there’s something going on in my community that really bothers me. I figure it’s worth writing about because I think I can be angry without sounding rant-y and it also highlights one of my biggest complaints about Portland which is that people here are “progressive” only in the white, middle class sense of the word rather than the social justice frame I formerly understood progressive politics through.

So, last summer a little boy was kidnapped from his school. Terrible right? And so unexpected. He came from a white, middle class family. Dad worked at Intel, mom stayed at home. The Portland community was understandably horrified and this story stayed in the news for months — as it should have. We still don’t know what happened, and it still makes the community really sad.

More recently, another child, this time a 14-year-old African American girl went missing. Two weeks later, her mother learned she was murdered. Did the Portland community have the same response? Nope. In fact, when the girl’s mother reporter her missing, she was told by the police that because of her daughter’s “background” they would consider her a run away. Nothing happened until two weeks later when the cops got a tip she’d been killed.

So, surely, now there’s a ton of coverage of the case right? No again. The most I’ve seen of it is 200 or so words buried in the community section of the Oregonian.

The plastic bag ban has gotten more newspaper ink. Gross, right?

There is so much that upsets me about this and I can’t help but think the lack of response to this girl’s disappearance is racial. In a city where the police have a history of shooting unarmed Black people, and only last year shot a mentally handicapped Black man in the back, I’m not too willing to give the benefit of the doubt.

I posted about this on Facebook and basically got a bunch of, “well it’s not as bad there as it is in Arizona” type responses. Which is true — racism in Portland is not at outwardly obvious as it is in Arizona. Doesn’t mean it’s not here. Maybe it’s better characterized as unchecked, unrealized, progressive white privilege. This isn’t a topic I’m really qualified to talk about other than to say I know that if my (hypothetical) 14-year-old daughter were to suddenly disappear, I’m guessing the color of my skin affords me the privilege of not being told “whatever, she’s just a runaway.”

Do I think that all, or even most, Portland Police officers are explicitly racist? No. Do I assume the Portland Police Department has outwardly bad intentions like, say, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department? No.

Do I think that despite having good intentions, they have a race relations problem? Yes. And, I also think they have a problem with the number of officer related shootings of unarmed assailents.I’m not the only one — many, many people in Portland, particularly in North Portland where I live, agree.

But, unfortunately, not enough people with actual influence care. My state senator Chip Shields has introduced a package of police report that are dying at the statehouse and getting minimal attention from either party or the press.

I think there are a lot of good people in this town. And, I like the bike lanes that the activist community puts so much effort into securing. I just wish that we put as much emphasis in this city on people as we do on bikes, bags and sketch comedy shows.

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Filed under Media, Politics, Portland