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A disgraceful spectacle in Oregon's state Capitol

There are reasons why government does not work well, and why it sometimes seems not to work at all. Not the only one by far but prominent among them is the propensity of some voters to elect representatives who believe their mission is to gum up the gears of government. They call themselves Republicans.

You see it in Washington where Mitch McConnell refuses to allow bipartisan legislation to come to a vote on the floor of the Senate. And you see in our fair state where Republican state senators walked out of the Capitol to block passage of climate legislation by preventing the quorum needed for a vote. It is believed that many have fled to Idaho.

Democrats hold supermajorities in both houses of the state legislature. Governor Kate Brown is a Democrat. Unable to prevail at the ballot box, Republicans have no compunction about working their will through subversion of the democratic process.

The governor has authorized the Oregon State Police to round up the scoundrels. Rightwing, "patriot movement" militia groups have "vowed to provide security, transportation and refuge for those senators in need." Senator Brian Boquist, a US army veteran, warned the state police chief, "Send bachelors and come heavily armed. I am not going to be held a political prisoner in the state of Oregon." This is an open threat to take up arms against the state government. Think about it.

Lord knows there is plenty out on the left that makes me crazy. Democrats get stuff wrong, they are imperfect, government is imperfect, we are imperfect. But at bottom Democrats believe that government has a role to play in the well-being of the nation and its citizens and that this role is best played in accordance with democratic principles and values. By their actions the Republican state senators of Oregon demonstrate that they do not share this commitment to democratic principles.


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