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Day: February 15, 2018

Trump should forgo military parade

By Gene H. McIntyre

On July 14, 2017, President Donald Trump was in Paris on Bastille Day to join French President Emmanuel Macron on his reviewing podium to observe representations of that country’s military might.  We Americans learned that Trump was deeply impressed and wants a similar military parade here on July 4 of this year.

Bastille Day honors the thousands of Parisians who struck back against a monumentally corrupt Louis XVI, his family and friends after years of having their fellow Parisians thrown into a cesspool of a place whose name was the Bastille where they typically were beaten and tortured for transgressions such as stealing a loaf of bread. French men and women were fed up with their treatment and turned to revolution, including the beheading of their king and members of his court.

We’ve now got tens of thousands of Americans whose financial and general economic circumstances are so bad their living conditions have come to homelessness while thousands of others have mainly lost everything, including health care for themselves and their children, about whom a threat continues that every final safety net will be taken away and the last hope of avoiding destitution will be lost.

Although discontent represents a common view among these and other Americans, a full-blown revolution here appears unlikely now, but not unthinkable. Regardless of numbers of Americans living wherever, President Trump wants a big military parade estimated to cost in the seven figures, delivered by U.S. armed forces in Washington,. This writer likes the idea of a parade but not one that glorifies U.S. killing machines.

A military parade would pay tribute to Trump while in fact he’s advised to get a grip on where this nation’s people live and breath and cancel such an outlandish extravagance to advertise the U.S. military, a military that’s already so large and bloated in manpower and materials that every other country in the world knows full well it has no chance against it. Meanwhile, our military is rife with waste and corrupted by fighting unnecessary wars. Further, such a parade will simply enrage and further upset those Americans who direly struggle and those who’ve lost that struggle and now inhabit our sidewalks, our parks and private property.

No, instead, since large numbers of those Americans with excessive control over money, money that fifty to sixty years ago was generally more evenly spread throughout the American population, we should have a parade that recognizes them.  So, the American version of a Bastille Day parade would simply show how disproportionately rich our wealthy have become. In a word, America’s “one percent” could display their collections of material goods.

Their displays could include signs that inform the parade goers as to what amount they will receive every year in future by way of the tax reform bill passed last month by Republicans in Congress and signed into law by President Trump. Also, miniatures or models of their many homes could be set up on traditional floats like those in Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade.  Then, too, their fleets of super expensive domestic and foreign cars could be lined up behind floats driven by their private chauffeurs.

President Trump could still receive accolades by way of high praise and recognition for his wealth accumulations. Should he wish to do so he could wear a generalissimo uniform and stand or sit at the head of the parade displaying floats with replicas of his New York City tower, his hotels, his private homes and his resort golf courses, as well as every achievement of his as a business deal maker.

Oh, sure, of course, there could be a few M1 Abrams military tanks and LGM-30G ICBMs in the mix of floats.  After all, we formerly were proud as a peaceful people intended to resemble ancient Athens, not entirely given over to a Sparta-look-alike!  The result of the rich showing their wares? Perhaps the American people would awaken from their long slumber to vote persons into federal public offices who will keep their jobs because they design and pass legislation into laws that begin to help to address and reverse the democracy-disabling disparities in U.S. pay and salaries, living standards, opportunity, and chance to embrace the American dream.

(Gene H. McIntyre lives in Keizer.)

Their words still resonate

Millions of Americans will have a holiday on Monday, Feb. 19, known as President’s Day—to honor both Abraham Lincoln and George Washington. They and millions of their fellow American residents will use that day to sleep in, enjoy a hobby or go shopping.

As with any holiday that honors a person, we hope that at least a bit of time is spent to think about Lincoln and Washington, specially, what they said. Lincoln was our most quotable president; what he said resonates to this day.

Some of his nuggets:

“Whatever you are, be a good one.”

“Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth.”

“Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?”

Our first president, George Washington, had his own set of quotes that live on through the ages and are as relevant today as in the 18th century:

“To be prepared for war is one of the most effective means of preserving peace.”

“If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.”

“Laws made by common consent must not be trampled on by individuals.”

The world is a different place than it was 200 years ago. People are the same, as they have been through millenia.

The lessons of our forebears ring true in the 21st century.

—LAZ

Yet another conversation

Here we go again. A community conversation, co-sponsored by the Keizer Chamber of Commerce and the city’s Community Development Department, will be Wednesday, Feb. 28 to discuss the future of River Road.

We’ve been here before. The last time was the River Road Renaissance Advisory Committee in 2012, led by a high-priced consulting firm out of Portland. What came out of that endeavor was the creation of five districts along River Road. From that came a short-lived project of beautification, adding meandering sidewalks, bioswales and native plants. Unfortunately, the Renaissance Project was stopped short when the Urban Renewal District funds were used to pay off construction overruns of Keizer Civic Center and making up for shortfalls at Keizer Station.

The 43-page report from the initial River Road Renaissance discussions haven’t been sitting on a shelf for six years. The report gets perused from time to time. It is one of two reports about Keizer that gather more dust than attention. The other is the Keizer Compass report, a community project that set out to design what the city should look like in the 2020s.

Yet, here we are, getting ready for another discussion about River Road. If you are talking about something you can say you’re doing something. Not in our book. Talk is cheap, we’ve talked and talked before. Let’s implement.

We urge the facilitators of the upcoming Community Conversation to keep the discussion on track and not let it turn into a bitch session about what the city is doing wrong. If there must be another conversation about River Road let it be one that answers the primary question: what kind of city/River Road corridor do the residents of Keizer want? It is a basic question, one that needs to be answered before a shovel of dirt is turned or a zone is changed. If the majority of people do not want to expend public money to turn Keizer in general and River Road specifically into a dense, commercial center, then the conversation ends and we should move on.

It is important to remember that iterations of reports about the future of Keizer were the work of a very small number of residents. To make credible policy one should rely on more than the opinions of less than 1 percent of the citizenry.

When having a conversation about River Road specifically, though, it is important to have all those affected. That includes not only the people who own a business along the city’s main thoroughfare but the people who own the properties. A lessor has only so much leeway to make major structural or landscape changes. If we’re going to talk, let’s be sure all the players are at the table.

The community conversation about River Road may very well hinge on a few narrow topics such as sign and landscape codes. We can have that conversation but the city and its people will be best served if a consensus is reached to give the Chamber of Commerce and the city a direction.

After this discussion we want to see action, as do most of the people interested.

  —LAZ