My View: Support alternative to political status quo
You have to give mainstream media credit for turning bullies into victims, and citizen activists into power-hungry politicos. The Portland Tribune's July 24 editorial, "Independent party must prove viability," credits the party's very name as a deceptive tactic deployed by the Independent Party of Oregon (IPO) to trick voters out of selecting "Unaffiliated."
Maybe a season of disappointments with both the Democrats and the Republicans on all levels explains their growth, rather than accusing the IPO of being underhanded or underestimating the literacy of Oregon voters.
The point of the editorial seems to be that it's a mistake that campaign finance law grants the IPO, as a "major" party, a seat at the debates in our governor's race. Openly admitting that journalists largely ignore "minor" parties is a bad look for your profession. It is a journalist's responsibility to uphold the tenets of democracy, not question it.
Why is it an "unexpected bit of leverage" that IPO gubernatorial candidate Patrick Starnes gets to participate in the electoral process by being present for the debates? He has over a decade of public service experience working to serve his community, while also working as a self-employed carpenter his whole career.
Starnes' presence at the debates and in the conversation in this race will add to the quality of political discourse in Oregon.
On the issues, Starnes is very upfront that our kitchen-table issues of education, health care, and the environment are influenced by the sway of big money, Super PACs and corporate interests.
We all receive an education in our lifetimes. We all use health care. We all drink the water and breathe the air. These are bipartisan causes, and our best solutions cannot be made into reality until the influence of big money in politics is out.
Corporations are not being taxed fairly. Knute Buehler and Gov. Kate Brown are both running on millionaire budgets that could provide a lot of homeless shelter beds or go toward a water filtration system in Salem or at Portland Public Schools.
These are the issues Starnes wants to talk about in this race, while regressive voices are questioning a 45-year-old Supreme Court decision governing a woman's right to choose. Much like another Independent with a capital "I," Bernie Sanders, Starnes is a progressive in many ways, yet he also supports a safe, responsible vision of the Second Amendment.
Starnes shares the Progressive Party's idea of a State Bank, which among other things could help distribute the over $60 million in cannabis revenue.
Brown is answerable for her lack of oversight concerning the $100 million in overpayments on the part of the Oregon Health Authority during her time as secretary of state. While her party is manufacturing an ethics crisis over Buehler taking a part-time residence in Tualatin, they won't dare critique that he has acquired a second address while most Oregonians are struggling to maintain just one, let alone our neighbors who have none, for to do so on their part would be an act of bourgeois hypocrisy.
The major parties remain front and center because we allow them to, a testament to the well-oiled machines these moneyed entities have in place.
I ended my campaign in this race and resigned from the Pacific Green Party to support Mr. Starnes' candidacy, and I'm proud to call him a friend.