The issues Oregon Recovers and I agree on are numerous. One thing is more funding for treatment and services. Another is the necessity of stepping up our game when it comes to communication. We have to be able to debate the issues without getting angry. Active listening is important including reflecting out loud what we heard and affirmation of the other party’s concerns. In order to bridge the gap between our movement and undecided voters we have to make sure building relationships is just as much of a priority as advocating for the cause. A third item is challenging white privilege because the discrimination against people of color and the poor working class is wrong and partnering with these other movements is critical to developing compassion and empathy as a society.
We disagree when it comes to blue laws. If one man is having a conversation with another and one offers to have the other’s sexual needs serviced by his 15 year old daughter for money I’m going to walk over there and I’m going to say “Not happening! If I find out you guys actually went through with this there’s going to be hell to pay!” and I am going to make sure they see the gun hanging underneath my right arm when I say it. This is what we are doing each time we intervene in another’s business and back it up with legislation.
But if those two men are consenting adults and the agreement is to receive a couple of pints of hard alcohol at his home by the other party for an agreed upon fee then a similar intervention is no longer called for. Such an intervention no longer stands for what is right and just but is now an act of tyranny and oppression.
We each have a tool kit at our disposal for addressing social issues. This particular tool represents a hammer in the tool kit. Sometimes it is the right tool. However, before we turn to the use of this tool we need to exhaust all the other possibilities. A meter for testing and a soldering iron for repair represent such tools as peer support, treatment, education, low barrier housing and supported employment. These tools have been neglected in Oregon for decades and in spite of that, leadership makes excuses why it is okay to turn to the hammer for relief instead of other strategies.
Blue laws like this one do not challenge the stigma that creates persecution of suds victims it represents promotion of that same attitude. It represents a callousness that officers use to excuse the use of excessive force and that forces an alcoholic to choose between going to bed and driving to the liquor store at 1 am. This is a callousness that does not prioritize our important relationships with the business owners that will be a funding source for the programs that we promote and if someone as bad as trump can get elected then those relationships have been sorely neglected.
I have spent a fair amount of time talking to the angry, high school educated trump supporters. These blue laws and similar issues like the 2nd amendment and persecution of prostitutes and johns are important items on the list of things that anger them. As a volunteer for Recovery Oregon I would like to stay out of these areas of dispute and concentrate on bipartisan support for the things we agree on.
We need their support. Oregon may be a blue state but if you look at a map the red area covers a much larger number of square miles. My point is there are a lot of republicans here and funding recovery is a bipartisan issue. If it is something the two parties cannot agree on then it is not appropriate for Recovery Oregon to be advocating for it. Don’t misunderstand me. I am voting for Sanders. I just know that we have to build better relationships with people we disagree with in order to create a world that is safer for my children. Safer from drunk drivers and safer from corruption and tyranny.