Friday, February 18, 2011

Sometimes, I don't love Portland.

You know, people from Oregon are just odd. I can't really place it on any great historical, memetic cause that created us but it's there. I once heard that Oregon conservatives are still more liberal than the rest of the country and that Oregon democrats are fiercely more liberal than their counterparts across America. I'd wholeheartedly agree. Growing up in Portland (which is so unique that a new show is on TV that highlights it's qualities) I had a lot of internal conflict politically that was partially enhanced by the election times. Measure 36 was the ballot that was relevant to me the most that year. Bush was up for election and it was just a hard time to be impartial. I supported a lot of views of the Democratic Party at that time and so I figured I was a Democrat. It was also the popular thing to do and I wanted to fit in, just like everyone else. I can remember political arguments being on the forefront of the entire education slide throughout my childhood. I remember when I was at Nancy Ryles before transferring to Hazeldale, they announced over the intercom the verdict in the OJ trial. My teachers apparently were on opposite sides of the spectrum here and taught us how the verdict had been turned political and how certain people wanted him to be free and others didn't. Some students complained and others praised the announcement as if we had any real clue as to what we were talking about.
YEARS later, one of my best friends Elise Jacks would say at lunch, "Whatever guys, you just support whatever your parents support." In a moment of clarity and realizing our shit had just been called we all got defensive and assured her we were wrong. Colin Self (now this will shock you) was talking about how Bush was the right guy over Gore. I said the same but in all actuality, I said it because my Dad said it. I wouldn't realize Elise's profundity until later in life.
I wanted to be liberal, cool and hip with the other kids but in reality I was more moderate than anything. Both conservative kids and liberal kids would say their view points in passing and I'd think both sides have points. I was in choir and thought Bush was an idiot, but I was so excited to join the Marines. I wanted to go and fight in the war, but I was surrounded by anti-war rhetoric that didn't sound like it was coming from idiots It was in this haze that Measure 36 caught my attention. The reason I'll talk about it is because it was THE event of that year and nothing was as important to my school.
I had a friend named John that went by the name Jane when he was outside of school. He went to Tigard High School and was so super gay. He was a good friend of mine and we knew each other from the years I spent at Kindercare preschool. He wasn't an evil, sinner. He wasn't a liar or a cheat or a bad person at all. He was my friend. How could all of these anti-gay slurs be correct when here was one of the most gay-gays ever.  He would eventually be bullied a lot and then killed himself by wearing all black and jumping into traffic near the Sellwood Bridge. I was instantly polarized in the argument of gay civil liberties. Yeah, I thought that some of the super gay men were hilarious and easy to make fun of because it's also easy to make fun of women. And I'd look at some of them speaking with self acquired lisps and feminine accents and wonder why they were acting this way when I knew them growing up and they weren't like this. But I didn't hate them and I had just slept with my girlfriend at the time and knew that the fact that John liked boys didn't really affect our decision to have sex. Measure 36 was the gay marriage ballot that was annoyingly prevalent in my school. students had Yes/No on 36 stickers on their binders to show their support, never mind they wouldn't even be able to vote. You can imagine which side I was on, and when it passed, it was like my school had been set to rage. Fights broke out, arguments were being screamed and teachers were holding students back. It wasn't very fun to be at Aloha that year.
I have (very few) friends that are Mormon, or are cowboy like and just don't like anything that isn't god and country. I also have friends that grow weed legally in their downstairs and just party a ton. Both are great people that don't hurt anyone and are nice. They all tell me that they genuinely like cops but not the ones that are douchebags about it. While I completely agree, I always think twice about the kind of friend it is. Are they just telling me this because my Dad is a cop? Are they telling me this because the last kid to say "fuck the police" to me got throated into section 108 at PGE Park? I may be a former Marine and be very pro police, but I have a brain and can see every side.
Portland is violently liberal and it's a good thing at times but I hear a lot of negativity from back home. So I have an easy time believing that a shop in downtown would actually kick out uniformed policemen trying to get some coffee because it would be unnerving to the customers. I don't see any logic in it and it makes me mad, but I can see it's their right. It's like protesting military funerals. I don't like it at all but they're allowed.
I lose it. We all know about the problems Portland has with their police. I don't know about any injustices happening and I don't really know too much about the anti-cop side of the argument but that shouldn't really be news. That seems to be Koin 6 (the least popular of the 3 news stations at home) trying tabloid journalism that isn't cool. They're exacerbating an already huge problem. The news should be trying to mend fences and build trust again between Portlanders and their police.
For a place deemed a haven for tolerance and understanding, there are some real closed-minded hippies there.

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