Friday, February 09, 2007

Basic Rights Oregon Called

Basic Rights Oregon called on the phone today, a person I know from political activity told them I might be a contact person. Andrew Hogan, of Communications Dept, wanted to know if I could think of anyone who might be willing to be a "Voice" in Eastern Oregon. As he explained to me what they were looking for I ran through the list of people in my head that might do. This person would be a heterosexual with some community reputation and recognition who could speak on their behalf in Op Ed or related instances. I won't say I was coming up dry, but as I ran through the names I realized that I was ignoring something.

That something was kind of like a dinosaur in the living room.

The people I know who would do this are Democrats, I'm County Vice-Chair, SCC Delegate, and a former candidate for higher office, and an opinionated Blogger - opinions that have a lot to do with fair play, economic and social justice - and I'm standing next to my work truck trying to think who'd be good? I'm thinking (sorta) this isn't my fight, (maybe a little) this has potential to cause me embarrassment. That's about the time I probably persuaded Andrew that I'm crack brained because I started laughing, and told him (paraphrased), 'well, why not me.'

Yes, some of my friends and associates are going to poke at me over this, well, geeze, I live in Baker County and ran as a Democrat against (other Democrats) Greg Walden. What do I have to lose, everybody that knows me knows I'm a gun totin', drag racing left wing nail banger with a wild beard and a huge white dog. Is there anybody that doesn't think I'm goofy? My wife tells everybody I'm goofy. Damn, I'll lose my reputation?

Yes, absolutely. If I don't do this I lose my reputation. I lose it where it counts, with me. I've never cared about odds, I care about doing right, I care that I see me doing what I believe. I'll tell you straight up, I'm heterosexual, I have no understanding of a homosexual relationship and I find the idea of me engaging in such an act utterly unappealing. SO WHAT? I don't care what color or gender or religion people are, I care about who they are. Any fellow citizen of Oregon who is law abiding should have exactly the same rights AND responsibilities as any other law abiding citizen. I care about people. I don't get to rant about money grubbing sonsabitches with their foot on the workers' necks and shrug off somebody else's neck under a foot.

So I'm going to be a Voice for Basic Rights Oregon, it's a thing worth doing. I sincerely hope it does some good. They're looking for people, maybe you can help out.


Pete said...

Chuck, I grew up in New England, and phrases like "e pluribus unum" and "don't tread on me" figured big in my civic education. It's decisions like the one you describe that keep America strong. Tolerance of injustice against any of us weakens all of us.

Anonymous said...

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. -MLK

Garlynn said...

Chuck, congratulations on your decision. You've done the right thing. Reading about it makes me proud to be an Oregonian.

Chuck Butcher said...

Thanks for the nice words.

My hope with this article was to encourage other "straights" to step up also.

Thanks to Blue Oregon for the link.

Jenny said...

You go, Chuck!

You might confuse 'em, but if you can argue for civil rights as well as you do for the right to bear arms, you'll do fine.

Chuck Butcher said...

I'll admit I confuse a lot of people, even though I think it's pretty straight forward.

carla said...

I'm not confused at all. Perhaps having met you and talked with you--it makes perfect sense to me.

As Jenny said, if you can be as passionate about this as you are about the 2nd Amendment, you'll be brilliant.



Anonymous said...

I meant "confuse" in the best sense of "confuse your enemies."

Obviously, I wasn't clear about that.

t.a. said...

way to go, Chuck. this is the kind of grassroots progressive democracy we need across the country: local people taking on the issues, local and wider, on local terms. it's going to take a few generations to get this issue off the radar, but this is how it starts.

Chuck Butcher said...

I understood.

I think that it is important to realize that whenever we tout our pet right or concern that it goes much wider than the narrow personal view. I cannot in good conscience talk about the Bill of Rights and the 2nd Amendment and stand idly in the face of disenfranchisement. We frequently take a narrow concern and wind up kicking our neighbors when that's not what we mean to do at all.

I appreciate the nice things you've all said about me, but I really don't see it as special, somebody asked me and it was something I knew was right. There are people who risk a lot to be right, I risk very little. If my speaking up helps people to stop and think a little, that'll be something, anyhow.

Laura Calvo said...

I was just getting to that point of feeling like I'm swimming hard against the current, then I stumbled onto your blue oregon post.
I can certainly see where you might have had a moment of it's not your fight and the concern of some potential embarassment.
The bottom line is that is that you will do more good than you know by becoming a voice for BRO.
From the tone and spirit of your words, I doubt you'll suffer any embarassment. You're doing what is right and that can only bring you respect. Keep up the good work and accept my sincere thanks.

Chuck Butcher said...

Hey Laura,
I think there's some similarity in the swimming upstream with Salmon, it improves us. Any time a person accepts basic differences with their fellows (hey, gun totin' drag racin' lefty??) and realizes that it's upstream from there we understand life. It is upstream, if it weren't we'd atrophy, constant challenges and small victories define us. The gravy is nice, but we'd not appreciate it if that's all we had.

Thanks for stumbing in.

yeah, I'm pretty hard to embarass...