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Day: November 6, 2015

Holland looking for help for concert

Clint Holland and Chris Eppley
Clint Holland and Chris Eppley

Of the Keizertimes

Despite a setback Monday evening, Clint Holland is still moving forward with plans for a Dec. 13 Christmas concert at Keizer Civic Center.

His request to the Keizer City Council for a waiver in use fees for city hall was denied by a 6-1 vote on Monday, so his request now is for businesses to help him offset the costs.

“I’m still going to try and do it,” Holland said following Monday’s vote. “I’m trying to make it an annual event and want it to stay in Keizer.”
Holland had brought up the idea during the Oct. 19 council meeting. While there was support expressed for the idea, there were concerns at the time about the city being asked to waive some fees.

Those concerns were expressed again this week, starting when city manager Chris Eppley introduced the topic. Holland submitted a report with estimated income and expenses, with expenses estimated at $12,970 and income estimated at $9,350 including 300 tickets at $30 each. The expenses included city fees of $2,575; Eppley said the city fees would be $3,325 including a $1,500 refundable deposit.

Eppley said councilors had four options: deny Holland’s request for discounts altogether, waive the deposit, further discount the rental rate of $1,600 or waive the rental rate altogether. However, he expressed concern over precedent being set with a discount.

“Though I truly appreciate Mr. Holland’s spirit of volunteerism – he’s just an incredible volunteer – and desire to provide new and interesting events for the community to participate in, this particular event does not appear to have a community purpose beyond simply being an entertaining ticketed event,” Eppley said. “So as to not set the precedent of waiving fees for other ticketed or unticketed events held at the community center without a clear community or charitable nature, staff recommends not waiving any fees for the event other than, perhaps, the refundable deposit, and only if Mr. Holland agrees to reimburse the city should any damage be done to the facility attributable to the event.”

Mayor Cathy Clark agreed with Eppley.

“I agree that Clint Holland helps make the summer wonderful with the Summer Concert Series,” Clark said. “But when we have ticketed events, there is a difference between free and ticketed events.”

Councilor Roland Herrera wanted Holland to explain how the event could be interpreted as a community event and thus eligible for a discount.

“When you say ticketed event, that is where you charge extra money, like for the band,” Holland said. “We’re been talking needing $15 to $18 to cover the food. We need to know how many will show up, or else we waste time and money on the food. The $15 to $18 would cover the meal, but the rest would be free for people to come into the event.”

Holland also gave more description of the event.

“Patrick Lamb does a fabulous Christmas program,” he said. “It will be the day after the parade. Things like this are good for the community. I’d rather have it on a Saturday, but that wasn’t possible because it was already booked.”

Council president Dennis Koho made a motion to waive all costs except a sunk cost of $360 and a $225 security deposit, with the rest of the fees waived unless damage was done to the facility at the event.

Councilor Kim Freeman asked if other events have costs waived.

“As a council we’ve discussed being fair and equitable,” Freeman said. “A lot of other people in the community do fabulous things as well. I want to make sure we’re not setting a precedent for one event. When it comes back to the budget, sometimes there’s heartburn about how much we subsidize the community center.”

Eppley noted the general fund subsidizes the community center to the tune of about $80,000 a year.

“It’s a misnomer to say those fees (from Holland’s event) would be profit,” Eppley said. “The kinds of events with waived fees in the past have been typically charitable events, like proceeds to Marion Polk Food Share.”

Herrera shared Freeman’s concern.

“I appreciate Clint’s idea trying to get something going,” Herrera said. “But the precedent thing I have a problem with. Clint has done so much for Keizer, I get that. But if we set a precedent, does that mean we’d have to do that for everybody?”

Eppley said that would be the case.

“Council in the future will be asked you did (the fee waiver) for this person, why not do it for us?” Eppley said. “I supposed you could say, ‘We like Clint and we don’t like you,’ but that’s not a good reason.”

When it came time to vote on Koho’s motion, he was outvoted 6-1. As such, Holland will have to pay the $3,325 in city fees.

Holland was disappointed afterwards but also understanding.

“The Keizer City Council has always been supportive of me,” he said. “I understand totally where they come from on this. I am actively trying to find sponsors for this event.”

Celts draw defending state champs

The Celtic defensive line makes a goal-line stand preventing a touchdown in the game Friday, Oct. 30. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)
The Celtic defensive line makes a goal-line stand preventing a touchdown in the game Friday, Oct. 30. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

Of the Keizertimes

To advance to the second round of the Oregon football playoffs, the McNary High School varsity football team will have to unseat the OSAA 6A champs of the past two seasons.

The 28th-ranked Celtics travel to meet fifth-ranked Central Catholic High School Friday, Nov. 6. Kickoff is 7 p.m. at Hillsboro Stadium.

“We want to compete and play our best game. Nobody’s seen our best game yet this season and that is our best weapon,” said Celt Hayden Sader.

To make an impact in the game, the Celtics will have to put together 48 minutes of offense, defense and special teams, said Jeff Auvinen, McNary head coach.

“If we do that it helps our chances tremendously,” he said.

The Rams have won seven straight games, but haven’t been the crushing offensive force of seasons past. The last time the two teams faced each other, in 2013, Central Catholic routed McNary 62-7.

The Rams have thrived this season on defense. In its last seven wins, the team has held its opponents to 99 total points. The defensive line has had huge help from punter Owen White.

Two weeks ago, White kicked a 47-yard field goal and five punts of more than 45 yards.

“They’re a better defense than they are an offense so that means I’m going to have to get the ball off quick and get the right reads. After that, it’s just making holes,” said McNary’s Trent Van Cleave.

On Ram offense, quarterback Deandre Smith has completed 67 of 100 for 930 yards with one interception and seven touchdowns. Running backs Ronnie Rust (686 yards for the season with nine touchdowns) and Brady Breeze (449 yards) lead the ground attack.

“We have to keep working on defense and I want to have no leakage on the run game,” said Celt LaCroix Hill. “We have to regroup after the loss last week and make sure everyone is on the same page, and there is no intimidation.”

McNary’s offense will have to find its center this week if the Celtics stand a chance of coming out on top. The Keizer team will also have to halt a three-game losing skid. The team has shown signs of greatness at times when it makes use of its many weapons on the receiving end of the ball, but frequently relies on the rushing skills of quarterback Trent Van Cleave and running back Brady Sparks.

Its best performances so far this season have been in a 51-28 rout of Forest Grove High School and an admirable start in a 56-12 loss to South Salem High School two weeks ago.

In a 21-14 loss to Sprague High School last week, the Celtic defense proved it was capable of coming up with red zone stops. However, breakdowns on ball returns and long passing plays have plagued McNary since the start of the season.

“To win, we have to have great practices all week and everybody has to buy in. That’s what its going to take,” said Sader.

‘They won’t change on their own’

Chasing Dark is an ongoing series looking at heroin and other types of drug abuse in Keizer.
Chasing Dark is an ongoing series looking at heroin and other types of drug abuse in Keizer.

Of the Keizertimes

Sometimes it starts with the prescription painkiller.

Sometimes it is youth wanting to experiment.

Sometimes it is curiosity about the old bottle sitting in the medical cabinet.

Sgt. Bob Trump and Officer James Young with the Keizer Police Department’s Community Response Unit (CRU) know there are various ways people can get addicted to heroin.

They also know it often doesn’t end well.

According to stats provided by Cara Steele at the KPD, the most common drug-related charge in Keizer, by a wide margin, continues to be unlawful possession of methamphetamine. Last year, there were 69 charges in that category. A distant second was possession of less than one ounce of marijuana, with 35 charges. Unlawful possession of heroin was in third, with 15 charges last year.

Numbers for meth have risen this year, as have the numbers for heroin.

But Trump and Young both emphasize the stats don’t show the true number of heroin offenses or the true impact of damage caused by the highly addictive drug in this area. Chasing Dark is a continuing Keizertimes series looking at such an impact.

“It’s hard to see the increase with stats,” Young said. “You can see a person clearly on meth or heroin, but there are no stats to back it up.”

For example, consider how many people get addicted to opiates like heroin after coming off prescribed painkillers.

“We see it quite a bit,” Trump said. “Probably way more than it shows up in a specific statistic. Heroin is readily available.”

Young said that is a common start to the addiction, though not the only one.

“A lot of times it is an injury,” he said. “When people can’t get more (painkillers) from the doctor but they are hooked on the opiate, they turn to street level heroin. A lot of times it will be after an injury or just experimenting. Sometimes it is a familial connection. Sometimes you’ll see the drug use going on in your house growing up, so you wind up using it yourself.”

Trump said the addiction to opiates at first seems harmless.

“It often comes from the doctor, so it’s seen as being safe,” Trump said. “Then (the prescription) dries up, but by now you are addicted.”

Young said even leaving old bottles in plain sight can inadvertently start the addiction.

“Even something like a parent or a brother blowing a knee out, they got a prescription for a narcotic,” Young said. “That bottle sits in the medical cabinet or cupboard. In the cabinet you have various drug bottles. The 14-year-old in the home hears friends talking about a drug and realizes those are the things in the cabinet, so all the pill bottles start disappearing.”

The Keizer Police Department has a drug turn-in receptacle in the police department’s lobby that Young suggested people utilize for old prescriptions.

Young said the heroin seen locally is mostly black tar heroin being imported in from Mexico. He holds up a standard size water bottle to describe quantities.

“It can be transported undetected,” he said. “Heroin in a package the size of a water bottle can be worth tens of thousands in value. Once it gets into the community, the heroin is broken up and dispersed.”

For years, it’s been said areas like Keizer are susceptible to drugs due to easy Interstate 5 access. Yes and no, according to Young.

“It is a nationwide thing,” Young said. “We’re on the I-5 corridor, one of the main drug trafficking areas for the whole West Coast. But with major interstates everywhere, no state can say they are not on a major pipeline.”

CRU members spend plenty of time building relationships and trust with people doing and dealing drugs.

“More people are admitting to us they are on heroin,” Trump said. “None have been arrested and there are no stats. It shows us heroin is the dominant thing.”

Young acknowledged the “delicate balance” between getting information and enforcing laws.

“Drugs are something that need to be enforced, but there is also a treatment issue,” Young said. “We have to have people trust us enough to tell us they are an addict and to say it is pervasive. We have to be open to talk to people and let them know they’re not being arrested just for telling us they are on drugs.”

Trump said the balance includes working closely with the Marion County District Attorney’s office.

“Our job is to enforce the law, but we see the people and we are sympathetic,” Trump said. “As much as possible, we involve the DA. We try to get the users treatment, to get them out of the cycle of drug use. The system is overburdened. There’s not enough room to lock up all of the drug users. If there is the demand for drugs, there will be the supply. If we take someone down (for delivery of drugs), someone else will pop up.”

That line of thinking echoes what KPD Detective Chris Nelson, who was on a Drug Enforcement Agency task force for seven years, told the Keizertimes last week.

“When I was first in law enforcement, I thought the solution was enforcement,” Nelson said. “Over the years on the task force, I quickly realized we’re taking out one (drug) trafficking organization and another new one takes its place. I learned quickly that if you have the demand for drugs, it will find its way into our community.

“If we want to reduce crime, we need to reduce the demand for illicit drugs,” he added. “Enforcement and incarceration alone will not solve the problem. Continuing drug court programs, expanding treatment facilities and education by everyone in society certainly seems like the logical approach.”

Young said there is indeed drug court for those who are arrested, with options and resources also explained such as treatment and rehab facilities. But he points to a caveat.

“If you’re an adult, are you ready to stop? You can tell me ‘I’m a drug user,’ but if you don’t say ‘I’m done with this,’ you are not ready for treatment,” Young said. “Until they’re ready, they’re not going to go.”

Trump said that’s where the legal system can come in sometimes, in effect trying to scare people into recognizing the need for a change.

“They won’t change on their own,” Trump said. “It’s atypical that someone says, ‘I’m ready to change.’ They’ll finally admit to using, but will deny they have a problem. It has happened all too often.”

In that case, Young said options become limited.

“When they tell you flat out they’re not ready to quit, there’s not a lot you can do about it except go through the criminal charges,” Young said. “It’s like anything, you can’t force someone to want something. As long as you have people who are content using drugs, you can’t force them to want to do rehab. They can be clean for a while, but until they want (to change), it won’t work.”

Young said sometimes those who’ve been to court multiple times on drug charges simply don’t want to go through the process again.

“Sometimes it’s a fear thing,” Young said. “If we can help them with that motivation, that’s something we’re willing to do to get people out of the cycle.”

Trump said the need to get away from reality is a common factor.

“A lot of times we chat with people and ask what got them addicted,” he said. “They will say they want to escape.”

Young said stressors like bad relationships and traumatic events often play a key role.

“Until we figure what causes people to distance themselves from reality, we will never solve the drug problem,” Young said. “As long as people are into altering their reality, there will be drug use. Something happened like they broke up with their girlfriend or they had a kid. Things got so stressful, they had to use the drugs again.”

Once the user is on heroin, it’s tough to get off.

“Heroin is a physically addicting drug,” Young said. “They need it every single day. Their body will be sick if they don’t have heroin. It’s agonizing. They describe it as the feeling that they almost died and now they have to get more of it.”

Trump said the physical withdrawals from heroin can be devastating and are like a severe case of the flu.

As such, Young said the user has to find ways to support the habit, using whatever means.

“It causes the issue of the body needing it every day, so they need to support that,” Young said. “Usually they’re not keeping a job, so they have to find a way to acquire money. Often at home that means stealing from family members, whether taking a bill out of mom’s purse or pawning a DVD player. Then you notice more and more things missing around the house. Then parents start to distrust their kids and you have a volatile family situation.”

Once that cycle starts, it’s hard to reverse.

“It leads to a breakdown of family at that point, which perpetuates more drug use,” Trump said. “It’s a downward spiral effect.”

Young said youth in particular get trapped by heroin.

“People are telling us this 17 to 25 age group is riddled with heroin users,” Young said. “From what we’ve been seeing, that is the main group doing this.”

Lt. Andrew Copeland with the KPD said heroin overdose deaths are piling up.

“Heroin kills people, at an alarming rate,” Copeland said. “Especially the young people, who have the potential and their whole life in front of them.”

So what can families do, both those with current addicts and ones wanting to know what signs to watch out for in the future?

“The biggest thing is be involved,” Young said. “Users are distancing themselves with the drug. When you see them spending time alone, bring them into the family unit again, especially with juveniles. They are using that as a replacement for something lacking, which is often family. You have to make sure you’re all together mentally.

“If there are parents out there with middle school or high school kids, if those children have social media accounts and they’re not actively monitoring them, the parents are lacking,” he added. “That’s where they are meeting their friends and being totally honest. You need to make sure your kids know they can tell you anything, even if it is ‘I’m doing drugs.’ Parents sometimes don’t want to see it, don’t want to think it’s possible. So they inadvertently set up walls about what is appropriate or not. It’s very crucial for kids to know they can talk about anything.”

Pay attention to the common man and woman

In his classic play, Death of a Salesman, one of Arthur Miller’s characters said of protagonist Willie Loman: “Attention must be paid to this man.”

Years before that was written American composer Aaron Copeland wrote a piece called Fanfare for the Common Man.

Our government and big business leaders would do well to heed thost messages in today’s topsy turvy world. Mulitple survey results from across the spectrum of sources show that the American household is generally unsettled about the nation, the world and their specific situaiton.

There are people in the world who accomplish great things in science, business, politics and the arts. They are heralded for their achievements—prizes, acclaim, money. We hear about these men and women. Successful people have worked hard. They have experimented. They have practiced. They have failed many times.  It is important too for all of us to remember that they put their pants on one leg at a time just like the rest of us.

The single parent juggling full time work and raising children, often with modicum of assistance, should also be applauded. Or, the middle class couple striving to put aside money for their kid’s education while assuring their children have educational and extra curricular opportunities. Or, the small business owner who must navigate the local and federal rules that regulate their operation, while trying to make a profit.

Millions of American families are doing the best they can at creating and living their life. It is safe to say that most people want to do good—if not big—things. Most will never compose a symphony, but they can help their children compose a school paper.

Six years after the Great Recession (statiscially) ended, many household budgets are still stretched. Though inflation is very low, there is still underemployment, leaving many to wonder what happened to the American Dream they were promised if they followed the rules and worked hard. And yet they continue on with their lives, dutifully paying taxes, obeying laws and raising our nation’s next generation.

Frustrated by both the overreach and the gridlock of Washington, Americans will lash out—thus the staying power of presidential candidates like Donald Trump and Dr. Ben Carson. If you politically corner Americans, they will swipe back at the status quo every time.

Our leaders should understand the fears of the people. That starts with celebrating the lives and the accomplishments of the common man and woman. —LAZ

CNBC does the impossible, unites crowded GOP field


Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, had a standout moment early in last week’s Republican debate when he went after, not other Republicans, but the CNBC moderators, none of whom appeared to have “any intention of voting in a Republican primary.” CNBC’s Jim Cramer and Rick Santelli later asked questions a conservative would ask, but the event began with questions from moderators John Harwood, Becky Quick and Carl Quintanilla that reinforced Republicans’ belief that the network is in the Democrats’ pocket.

Harwood launched the debate with a gotcha question for billionaire Donald Trump. Personally, I like gotcha questions—as long as they are good gotcha questions that home in on a candidate’s core contradictions. Many of the CNBC gotcha questions, however, were picked-over bones. Is Trump for real? What about his corporate bankruptcies? A good interviewer addresses old questions with an angle that invites a unique response.

There was a clear bias in the language used by the CNBC Three. When Quick asked a question about the gender wage gap, she called it “our cause.” When Harwood asked Trump about deporting 11 million undocumented immigrants, Harwood did not refer to the fact that they are here illegally. Indeed, Harwood did not even refer to their immigration status. He simply noted Trump wanted to “send 11 million people out of the country.” This was a Republican primary debate, and maybe the folks at CNBC haven’t noticed, but Republican voters care about distinctions as to whether someone is in the country legally or not.

Panelists asked the kind of guilt-by-association questions they rarely, if ever, ask Democrats. Quick asked former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina about former HP board member Tom Perkins—who backed the HP board’s firing of Fiorina, but now supports her candidacy. Perkins, quoth Quick, “said a lot of very questionable things … I think his quote was that ‘If you pay zero dollars in taxes, you should get zero votes. If you pay a million dollars, you should get a million votes.’ Is this the type of person you want defending you?”

If the above questions are fair game because there is guilt by association, I have a request for the MSNBC moderators of the next Democratic debate on Nov. 6: Please ask Hillary Rodham Clinton what she thinks about her new best friend on Twitter Kim Kardashian baring her behind all over the Internet.

In that vein, Quintanilla asked retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson how he could serve on the board of Costco, when “a marketing study called the warehouse retailer the No. 1 gay-friendly brand in America, partly because of its domestic partner benefits.” Carson countered that it is wrong to assume that someone who opposes same-sex marriage is a homophobe.

CNBC had signaled the third Republican primary debate would be about “job growth, taxes, technology, retirement and the health of our national economy.” I expected questions on the sharing economy. Uber did come up once, when CNBC’s Sharon Epperson asked Fiorina if she thought Washington should mandate employer-sponsored retirement plans for small businesses—even Uber drivers: “Should the federal government play a larger role in helping to set up retirement plans for these workers?” It would appear Epperson never heard of individual retirement accounts.

Quick fell down in the preparation department. Thus Trump was able to deny that he ever called Florida Sen. Marco Rubio the “personal senator” of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg because of his support for H-1B visas. Quick apologized when Trump denied the statement—even though it came from his own website. If Quick had been prepared, she would have had a marvelous opportunity to question Trump on how familiar he is, or is not, with his position papers. There was no such follow-up.

Having spent time in pressrooms at national conventions and political debates, I know how my profession unapologetically lists to the left. Everyone in the business knows this is a liberal bastion. But when Rubio asserts the media are the Democrats’ “ultimate superPAC” and Cruz sends out fundraising appeals as he declares “war on the liberal media,” then my colleagues point at CNBC as a standout malefactor. If only …

(Creators Syndicate)

Oregon’s veterans continue to serve


Veterans’ Day is one day to honor the service and sacrifice of all who have raised their right hand, worn the uniform, defended our freedom, and stood guard over our peace.

Across our 70 year history, the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs has witnessed generations of service members returning home and then using their hard-earned leadership skills and experience to significantly contribute to our communities.

What many citizens may not know is that one out of every 12 Oregonians is a veteran. While our veterans gain great strength from their service, it is not surprising that many can face challenges as they reintegrate home. For those impacted by their service, we must understand their tenacious spirit and resiliency. They deserve nothing less than the best in care, resources and support.

There is never a doubt, though, that our learned resilience, ideali110 stic pride, and unwavering dedication to our families, community and each other is stronger because we served in uniform.

Take the recent examples of young returning veterans from Oregon like Alek Skarlatos and Chris Mintz. Alek captured international headlines for thwarting a terrorist attack while travelling in France after his deployment in Afghanistan with the Oregon Army National Guard.

Similarly, Chris Mintz, an Army veteran, also chose to run toward chaos on the Umpqua Community College campus to help protect fellow students. He was shot multiple times and thankfully continues to recover for his young family and community.

These stories have made the national news, but our local veterans’ community is filled with everyday examples of inspiring continued service. Bill Griffith is a former Navy Corpsman who served in Vietnam and is continuing to serve his fellow veterans as an award-winning volunteer Long Term Care Ombudsman. He was recently recognized for his advocacy for our aging veterans at the Oregon Veterans’ Home in The Dalles and other skilled nursing facilities, receiving the Governor’s Volunteer Award in October.

A recent appointment to ODVA’s Advisory Committee, Kim Douthit, is a Coast Guard veteran and continues to serve student veterans in her role as a veterans’ coordinator at Portland Community College. She is a leader for both our fastest growing demographic, women veterans, and for all veterans across Oregon.

While our focus is on our veterans, we also must remember the service and sacrifice of our military and veteran families. Judi Van Cleave of Portland was elected as the National President of Gold Star Wives of America. Her late husband was a disabled Korean War veteran. Judi’s significant service for two decades with Gold Star Wives of America continues to honor our fallen and their families.

Across our team at the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs, many of us are veterans and family members, and we continue to be inspired by our current service members, veterans and their families. We are honored and privileged to serve them – not just on Veterans’ Day, but throughout the year. It is their individual stories that make up the incredible fabric of our community.

No matter the branch of service, no matter the era, no matter who we are, or where we live; we stand proudly together. We are Oregon veterans.

(Cameron Smith served three tours in Iraq as a U.S. Marine captain and is the director of the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs.)

The real GOP divide


Maybe our definition of the Republican presidential contest is a little off.

It’s often cast, accurately enough, as a choice between “outsiders” and “insiders.” But another party division may be more profound — between Republicans who still view the country’s future hopefully, and those deeply gloomy about its prospects.

The pessimism within significant sectors of the GOP is more than the unhappiness partisans typically feel when the other side is in power. It’s rooted in a belief that things have fundamentally changed in America, and there is an ominous possibility they just can’t be put right again.

This is one of the big contrasts between the two parties: Democrats are more bullish on the future.

Hillary Clinton has a big lead in the national polls because Democrats broadly favor continuity, with some tweaks. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders offers a tough critique of inequality and the outsized power of the rich. But he and his supporters are comfortable with the country’s cultural direction and have enough faith in government to believe it can engineer the reforms that economic fairness requires.

These thoughts are provoked by an evening spent watching last week’s GOP presidential debate with a group of Republicans pulled together here for me by Sarah Stewart, a New Hampshire political consultant.

They were anything but pitchfork-bearing rebels, and many of them are involved with local government. There was not a Donald Trump or Ben Carson supporter in the lot, although Jon DiPietro, a libertarian-leaning businessman, said he gets Trump’s appeal and could imagine voting for him.

The consensus was that the strongest performance came from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, not Marco Rubio, the man lifted high by the very media he and the others enjoyed attacking during the event. Rubio gained ground with some in the group, but Newton Kershaw III, a successful developer, said the young Florida senator still hadn’t persuaded him that he had the experience to be president. Rubio, Kershaw said, looked “rehearsed and studied.”

Gary Lambert, a former state senator who chairs Sen. Lindsey Graham’s campaign here, spoke for the group in praising Christie for having some of the evening’s best moments. Lambert also offered his take on Carson’s appeal: “He remains so calm. I could never do that.” Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz also got some nods of approval.

But the most instructive part of the evening came toward the end when Ross Terrio, a Manchester school board member, took the conversation to a different place, describing his response to President Obama’s time in office. “I have gotten so pessimistic,” he said. “I used to be such an optimistic person. Maybe Obama just sucked the life out of me.” Terrio, who works as a pharmacist, has no complaints about his personal situation but wonders how his neighbors with much more constrained incomes can make it.

DiPietro shared Terrio’s worries that the country’s problems might be beyond our ability to solve, especially if Democrats win the White House again.

Others in the group pronounced themselves more hopeful, Pappas, perhaps, most of all. She highlighted her faith that the inventiveness and entrepreneurial spirit of the next generation would pull the country through.

But that this argument about the country’s long-term viability could break out among these thoughtful citizens — they in no way fit the stereotypes we liberals sometimes hang on conservatives — speaks to a central reality of our politics: Many Republicans see government itself as almost irreparably broken.

This is why there’s cheering on the right for the obstructionism of groups such as the House Freedom Caucus. Throwing sand in the gears of the machine is an honorable pursuit if you believe the machine is headed entirely in the wrong direction. It’s also why Trump and Carson will not be easily pushed aside.

(Washington Post Writers Group)