A plea for civil discourse
Several years ago, a state legislator was assigned an Oregon State patrol officer after physical threats of harm were made by those who opposed the legislator's position on a contentious bill.
In 2019, at a town hall where two hot-button issues were discussed, tension was palpable. Commendably, the legislator and the attendees remained calm. No easy task.
Most recently, I read about conflicts between advocates and two Oregon legislators. As a result, one was removed from the position as chair of a House Committee, and the other was served notice of an ethics complaint.
Legislators must be respectful of constituents at all times and we should hold them to a higher standard. However, I can understand how their patience and tolerance can be tested when we advocates, at times, become overly passionate about an issue. Been there and done that.
I am hopeful that the public discourse for Oregon's short legislative session is civil and remains so for the entire 2020 election cycle. Sometimes we need to agree to disagree, yet always keep in mind we must aim for mutual respect and trust.
David A. Nardone, Hillsboro
There has to be a better way
Every time, during winter, spring, summer, or throughout the year, for that matter, I walk or drive through the city of Portland, the Pearl District, downtown Portland, my heart pounds through, literally, by seeing people — man and woman, old and young — wandering around, trying to shelter themselves in the footpath, the street corners or under a skybridge; the so-called "homeless" people as we, the people who have a "home," call them.
For decades now, this, in actuality, has become a typical scenery for any urban inner city of a dense metropolis in the Unites States. It is especially nerve-juggling to see these distressed people in the coldest time of the winter squeezing their body, wrapping them up with whatever they have available to them in a failed attempt, in most cases, to try to keep them warm, just to be able to breath, to pass another moment, another day from the calendar of this worldly life, and therefore survive; let alone to even dare to think what their meal or sanitation systems would be for the next moment!
Being an immigrant from a country, Bangladesh, which supposedly has been one of the poorest and underdeveloped in the world, having a total population about in half the number of the USA while its size is three times smaller than the state of California, I am more than used to see homeless people on the side of the roads, railways, and mass population living in the slums. But it is beyond one's fathomable imagination to witness that the most developed and wealthiest country in the world — a country which is a heaven in the dream for most people around the world to come, reside and thrive to — has to have this homelessness issue.
There is a lot that the city, the state, the federal government can do to resolve this. After all, the country should be responsible for basic needs — food, clothing, lodging, education and medicine — of all its denizens. Experts can suggest more, but without even going through the political, societal complicacy, one could simply propose ideas to remedy this just by some logical thinking.
We have the fortunate some in the society who have billions in wealth. We have high-tech companies around the cities that enjoy tax and other benefits from the states, with trillions in revenues. And yet, homelessness remains as an urban crisis in front of our doors. It doesn't seem to be hard to create a plan locally to combat the homelessness by rehabilitating the so-called homeless people, by training and educating them, by employing them such that they become confident enough to thrive in lives.
Giving the required opportunities that the citizens in a country deserve, would eventually lead them to come out the cursed shadow of homelessness, and build better lives that the greatest country in the earth, the United States of America, promises.
Bappi Khayer, Bethany
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