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Opinion: Let’s focus on the system, not on “them”

Posted by on October 5th, 2018 at 2:54 pm

Blatant attempt to inject something beautiful into the news cycle.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

After what transpired in Washington DC this week I’m feeling a horrible mix of emotions: Sadness, disgust, frustration, paralysis, hatred, and anger.

My inclination watching Susan Collins’ speech today was to shout and curse at her image on my screen. I wanted to go online and say bad things about her and people I vehemently disagree with.

The state of our body politic has made it hard for me to focus on local bike news. But since this website has been my main outlet of communication with so many of you for the past 14 years, my inclination is to come here to write something instead of on my social media accounts.

I don’t wade into politics here because my goal is to create an inclusive and productive space here and I’m loathe to introduce such a divisive topic. I also don’t like to take up space on important issues that aren’t on my beat. At the same time, I feel dishonest if I don’t share something here that I’m feeling so sharply and I assume is being felt just as strongly by many of you.

Beyond creating a space to air our feelings and acknowledge the moment we’re all in together, there’s just one thing I want to do with this post: I want to say something about how we treat each other.

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Those of you who follow my work know that I care deeply about treating people — even people I disagree with — with respect. That’s why I still read your comments (all 436,038 of them as of 1:30 pm today!) and take time to respond and moderate them as needed. That’s why I’m very careful to choose nonjudgmental words when I describe people and their actions.

(This isn’t to say I’m always an angel. I’ll criticize someone if I feel it’s warranted; but only if I respect them enough to spend the energy to do it. Without that respect, I’ll usually just ignore them.)

My inclination watching Susan Collins’ speech today was to shout and curse at her image on my screen. I wanted to go online and say bad things about her and people I vehemently disagree with. But what then? Would it fix anything? Or would it make things worse? I believe part of the reason we’re at this point as a society is because there’s so much of that hate flying around — especially online. I don’t want to be a part of that.

The systems we’re fighting against have been made stronger because so many of us use our time and energy to fight with each other, instead of against the system that made us angry in the first place. And those who benefit from the current system want to keep it that way.

For my small part in this swirling mess of polarization and tribalism, I plan to resist the temptation to tear other people down. Like I’ve said for years in our comment policy here on BikePortland: Let’s vigorously disagree, but do it with tact and respect for the person on the other side of the screen — or the aisle, or the windshield.

Instead, let’s use that energy to make the system work better.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and

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NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

  • bikeninja October 5, 2018 at 3:30 pm

    It is my sincerest hope that Ruth turns out to be immortal.

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  • B. Carfree October 5, 2018 at 3:36 pm

    While “The System” has many flaws and poor applications, we can’t ignore the fact that the primary flaw that brings forth all other flaws and that has brought us low is the anti-democratic nature of the Senate and electoral college. From our beautiful, yet imperfect, Oregon we can’t do much to change that. Sure, we could all move into the south end of the state and vote our token Republican out of Congress, but that’s small potatoes. As long as each state gets two Senators, whether it has 13% of the nation within its borders or 0.2%, we’re not going to have a federal government that represents the people.

    I wonder if at some point tens of millions of us will have had enough and will move en masse to Wyoming, Alaska, N. Dakota, S. Dakota, Montana, Idaho, W. Virginia, Nebraska, Kansas and Arkansas. All we need do is buy a mobile home on a small parcel of land and live there enough of the year to qualify as a resident for voting purposes. 2021, after the census, is a great time to do this since it will avoid giving them any additional members of the House.

    Yes, this is a sneaky, diabolical plot. But is it any more diabolical than what the Kochs and Mercers have done for years with their open bribes and election interference?

    I’m told there’s some awesome mountain biking right out the door from my sister-in-law’s place in Idaho. I may just have to step up and take one for the team. 🙂 Someone else will have to go to Nebraska.

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    • Dan A October 5, 2018 at 4:17 pm

      It seems to me that the Republicans haven’t done much with the platform to bring in new voters (outside of legitimizing racism). Rather than try to be more inclusive, they rely on gerrymandering to reduce the value of the votes of certain people, arcane voting systems that require people to drive hours and hours to stand in line to reach a voting booth, voter ID laws to make it difficult or impossible for certain people to vote, and then submit discredited claims of voter fraud to try & restrict voting even further. If you can’t increase the numbers on your side, reduce the numbers on the other side. I’m not sure there IS much of a “system” anymore.

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      • David Hampsten October 5, 2018 at 7:27 pm

        While what you point out is true of the Republican party in the last couple of decades, but historically and today the Democrats are just as guilty – they invented Gerry-Mandering and still practice it heavily in the states they control, especially Maryland. They promoted most of the Jim Crow laws of the 1800s and early 1900s (hard to believe, I know, but the Democrats used to be the right-wing conservative party and the Republicans were relatively liberal, up until the 1960s.) They also invented voter-registration to restrict blacks and other undesirables from voting.

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        • Dan A October 5, 2018 at 10:46 pm

          Talking about what happened 100 years ago is a very sophisticated way of saying, “But Hillary!”

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          • David Hampsten October 6, 2018 at 9:19 am

            Personally, I’m a Republican who supports Bernie; I even voted for him as a “write-in” at the general election, though Trump still carried my state with 52% of the vote. Had the Democratic Party actually had a fair primary system without super-delegates and a biased party apparatus, I believe Bernie would have won both the nomination and the presidency.

            That said, I would hope that all states, both those controlled by the GOP and by the Democrats, would adopt California-style independent commissions to create fair districts for both national and state legislators. I’d also hope that all states do away with voter registration (North Dakota is the only state to have never implemented it.) I also support open primaries and low-thresholds for third party candidates.

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty October 6, 2018 at 10:49 am

              There can be no doubt that had the Democrats nominated anyone else, we’d have a different president now. And a radically different supreme court. Thank you, Democratic party.

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              • Gary B October 8, 2018 at 10:24 am

                I have doubts.

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              • Middle of The Road Guy October 9, 2018 at 8:47 am

                Completely agree.

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            • GlowBoy October 8, 2018 at 1:08 pm

              – Superdelegates.
              – Late-primary states overwhelmingly voting for the candidate who had “clinched” the nomination, but only because of superdelegates, not because that candidate had gotten the majority of votes so far.
              – Widespread shortages of ballots, and long lines, in Democratic precincts in California, Arizona and other states known to be favorable to the non-party-preferred candidate. I’m not talking about Republican dirty tricks in Ohio; this is the Dems’ dirty work. This has not been widely reported in the MSM, but the info is easy to find out there.
              – Primary debates massively slanted to the party’s preferred candidate, including that candidate getting to preview the questions.

              All in all, I think it’s very hard to argue that HRC would have won the nomination without the party’s finger on the scale. Who would have won the general election if she hadn’t? Harder to say, but Bernie’s policy positions were actually more in line with the working class voters who voted for Trump.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty October 8, 2018 at 3:24 pm

                HC was the only candidate that DT could have beaten. The Democratic Party has a lot to answer for when it comes to its contribution to DT’s election.

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          • rick October 6, 2018 at 9:29 am

            …who voted to bailout the car industry.

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            • Dan A October 6, 2018 at 6:44 pm

              And that’s the equivalent of the Trump presidency? Being one vote (out of many) to bailout the car industry?

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            • Pete October 7, 2018 at 10:04 am

              You keep regurgitating that on here but you still ignore the facts. Both the auto industry and insurance industry bailouts (like the S&L bailouts and the previous car and airline industry bailouts in the 80’s) were done with low-interest loans that have been fully repaid, and saved thousands of short-notice layoffs (keeping the middle class employed).

              I know you want to pin all that on the Dems and demonize Hilary and Barak, but history has had a way of repeating itself, and the government has stood to gain in the process. Some of the interest repayments were even found by the Supreme Court to be overpaid. You can’t tell me the Republicans were dead-set against these bailouts; I lived through them with my eyes open too.

              You can let your fingers do the walking for your own links, but you keep saying “bailout” like it’s been a bad thing. What would the alternative have looked like?

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    • Charley October 5, 2018 at 7:11 pm

      As California and the PNW become more and more expensive, we’ve all read stories about techies flocking to lower-rent Reno, Boise, etc. On the one hand, that could potentially shift those states away from the party in favor of sexual abusers. On the other hand, from what I’ve read, a lot of the people leaving the West Coast for those Intermountain locales are politically right leaning themselves. (A republican techie might get tired of living in the Bay Area, and set out for Reno.) If that’s the case, then it might just have the effect of further dividing up our country into red and blue zones, which is already obviously not working. Thinking more locally, if we can get more people who value racial and gender equality, the environment, and democratic norms to move to Bend and Hood River, it will become harder and harder for the GOP to hold that seat.

      A side note: a lot of these rural communities are great! I know and work with people living in these less crowded, economically challenged areas, and they’re some great people, with great goals for their community. There’s something to be said for lifting these areas up, economically. They have fallen on the wayside as extractive and/or agriculturally productive industries shift income away from the workers to the capitalists. Many of the citizens in these communities might blame the spotted owl or gay marriage for their community’s ills. They aren’t correct about the reasons or solutions, but they are correct that they’ve been screwed. I think these communities are worth saving. I guess that makes me an old-school liberal.

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      • Pete October 7, 2018 at 10:15 am

        I disagree with any theory that people will move en masses to avoid being surrounded by those with different ideologies, shifting political centers of mass. Whether a community is ‘liberal’ or ‘conservative’ tends to correlate with education and income (which tends to correlate to the types of jobs nearby). Yes, and job types morph over time (logging waned as work-from-home techies found outdoor recreation, for example).

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      • Chris I October 8, 2018 at 10:40 am

        They’ve said the best thing you can do to change the system is to move to a swing state so your vote counts more. I’m not going to punish myself or my family members by moving them to Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, etc…

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        • GlowBoy October 8, 2018 at 1:45 pm

          FWIW we’ve moved to a state that is still blue-ish but is trending more indigo, so I do believe our vote counts more than if we’d stated in Oregon.

          Unfortunately, as everywhere, the shift towards purple is taking place in the context of increasing rural-urban polarization: the main reason for the rightward shift is that our mining region used to be solidly blue, and is now marginally red. Meanwhile, my neighborhood in far south Minneapolis is at least as blue as my former precincts in southeast Portland.

          I don’t think the polarization is quite as bad here as it is in Oregon, and there’s a bit more urban-rural dialogue, but the trend isn’t promising. Make no mistake: Oregon is starkly divided: rural Oregon is easily as red as rural Idaho. There’s no real difference when you cross that border. It’s just that Oregon’s population is proportionately more urban than Idaho’s. Boise is very progressive, but simply not big enough to turn Idaho blue.

          And to the arguments about America having been just as divided in the past as it is today: that may be true, but we are fortunate that usually our deep divisions haven’t aligned with geography, except in the 1860s. But once again our political chasm is becoming geographical, and that’s dangerous.

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          • GlowBoy October 8, 2018 at 1:49 pm

            Oh, and BTW we haven’t found the move to be punishing at all, though Florida or Ohio probably would have been.

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    • highrider October 8, 2018 at 12:23 pm

      It will happen naturally as a result of climate change. The coasts are overpopulated and feeling the worst effects and will continue to feel them. How many times will people want to rebuild their lives back up from the devastation’s of a hurricane, fire, flood, etc? When the Atlantic Ocean Meridian Current collapses there are going to millions of climate refugees from the East and from Europe who will seek higher safer ground. Iowa and Nebraska will be looking a lot more attractive. And Texas will be blue by then as well.

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    • paikiala October 8, 2018 at 1:12 pm

      Some states are moving to assign electoral college votes based on popular vote returns.

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      • David Hampsten October 8, 2018 at 8:56 pm

        Maine and Nebraska in the last election, though the “winner” takes the two senate votes. Other states are considering it. I’m guessing the new Supreme Court will outlaw it before 2020, as they’ll outlaw any states that require electors to vote in favor of a winner in the national tabulations.

        On the Constitution, it’s Article 2 Section 2, then the 12th Amendment, then a whole bunch more amendments. Are we undecided as a people or what?

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    • GlowBoy October 8, 2018 at 1:32 pm

      I agree that the Electoral College as currently structured is anti-democratic, with the slavery-era concession in the Constitution that smaller states get up to 3x the weighting of larger states.

      But if you were to remove that bias by removing the electors based on each state’s two senators, and simply give each state electors equal to their congressional system, you would now have a proportional system, correcting the main problem with the EC. (I’m not saying this is at all politically possible – it’s probably easier to throw out the EC than to tweak the formula, given the outrage you’d hear from the smaller states – but that would be the ideal system.)

      Remember those old metal ice-cube trays with the removable divider? If you take the divider out, it’s impossible to walk across the kitchen without water sloshing out the ends, but easy to do with the divider in place: it keeps small waves from disrupting everything. The Electoral College (ideally, a proportionately representative one) accomplishes the same thing, by containing disputes, irregularities and disruptions to individual states.

      Imagine how the 2000 election fiasco would have gone without the Electoral College: in a close election like that, we might have faced a nationwide recount, with all the “voter intent” and hanging-chad issues played out in all 50 states, instead of being confined to Florida. If you think the varying methods and practices of Florida’s 67 county elections offices resulted in a mess, just imagine that amplified across 51 states and territories – each of which runs its own election system!

      I can quite easily envision a scenario where a close election, combined with widespread irregularities in a single state (let’s say, Ohio) results in an irreconcilably disputed result and a major constitutional crisis. For example, I can imagine a sitting President who may or may not have won reelection, but believes that he/she did, instituting an emergency declaration to retain power indefinitely, or at least until the next election cycle. Don’t forget that about a year ago, when polled over 50% of Republican members of Congress said they’d agree to postponement of the 2020 elections if Commander Orange declared a state of emergency. I wonder why such a question was even asked? That situation might happen with or without abolition of the EC, but is far more likely if we do get rid of it.

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      • David Hampsten October 8, 2018 at 9:07 pm

        With 50 states, it takes 34 states to pass any amendment. Or to put it another way, it only takes the 17 smallest states to block any constitutional amendment from leaving the Senate, let alone getting the rest of the country to agree to it. Even Senate Democrats from small states usually vote against any legislation that curtails what little power the small states have – it would be political suicide to do otherwise. Only the 15 largest states would benefit from such an amendment, even Oregon would lose out. I would expect any such proposal to easily pass in the House but be defeated in the Senate by a 60-40 margin, even when it only needs a 34-66 margin to kill it.

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  • Mike Quigley October 5, 2018 at 3:42 pm

    All empires crumble. All democracies self destruct.

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    • David Hampsten October 5, 2018 at 7:15 pm

      Think globally, act locally.

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    • soren October 7, 2018 at 2:52 pm

      What does “democracy” have to do with the USA?

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  • Kittens October 5, 2018 at 3:51 pm

    So many thought about all of this…
    Johnathan, you have succeeded against all odds in growing a online community built on civility and thoughtful commentary while exhaustively covering a “splinter issue” like transportation. Bravo! It is one of the few places I feel like my participation is not simply shouting into the void or drowned out by a horde of mouth-breathing trolls.

    As to the broader issue of politics, we absolutely must fight the inclination to succumb to nihilism and isolationism for in this front on the culture wars, it is only Republicans who stand to win. Not all battles will be won. Change at this scale takes time and though the world seems to be speeding up, democracy is a glacier. But what is the alternative?

    Speak out. Turn out. Now is time we must participate in real world democracy and not social media platforms.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) October 8, 2018 at 11:10 am

      Thank you Kittens! I appreciate the kind words and encouragement.

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    • GlowBoy October 8, 2018 at 12:10 pm

      “As to the broader issue of politics, we absolutely must fight the inclination to succumb to nihilism and isolationism for in this front on the culture wars, it is only the Russians who stand to win. Not all battles will be won”


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  • 9watts October 5, 2018 at 3:54 pm

    Thank you, Jonathan. Duly noted.
    I readily admit I can work on being more conciliatory in the comments here sometimes. Your forum is one of my all time favorites, in no small part due to your excellent behind-the-scenes moderation. Thanks for giving us this forum!

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    • mh October 5, 2018 at 11:31 pm

      Not TOO conciliatory, please. We need your voice, and its clarity.

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    • Toby Keith October 6, 2018 at 10:12 am

      Of course you love the moderation. You are one of the posters who is seemingly not moderated.

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      • 9watts October 6, 2018 at 10:28 am

        And you know this… how?

        I wager I’ve had more of my posts moderated than you.

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        • Chris I October 8, 2018 at 10:41 am

          We probably should look at percentages, given the difference in quantity we’re talking here…

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          • Toby Keith October 8, 2018 at 6:34 pm

            It does appear friends or subscribers might get more slack on posting. Please correct me if I’m wrong Jonathan and no offense intended. Some users say some pretty outlandish things without a hint of moderation.

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            • Dan A October 9, 2018 at 7:38 am

              Please provide an example. I read through the comments log ( and I’m not surprised at what gets moderated out.

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  • Nathan October 5, 2018 at 4:19 pm

    One of the great things about riding a bike, is that it puts you out in the world, interacting and possibly empathizing a bit more about others in this world. You can actually hear the voices of others, you can feel the heat or the cold of the air, the same air that the person walking down the sidewalk next to you is feeling. I think cycling can inherently push us all to be a bit more tolerant and a bit more empathetic of others, because we are literally vulnerable. The more time we spend in an environment tailored to our comfort (be it an air conditioned car or the echo-chamber of social media), the harder it is for us to see the humanity in others. The world needs more people interacting, the world needs more people hearing each other’s voices when they are not raised, the world needs us out there … hopefully on a bike.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) October 5, 2018 at 4:35 pm

      could not agree more Nathan! Beautifully written. Thanks for saying it.

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    • El Biciclero October 6, 2018 at 8:37 am

      Excellent comment. I agree completely that using a bike—especially for transportation—can increase one’s empathy factor enormously. Going from garage to car to parking garage to office every day removes folks from a large part of the rest of the world. Experiencing the weather, hearing other people, feeling the pleasure (or pain) of cranking away under you own human power, thinking about how politics and power dynamics play out in traffic and street design—contemplating these things can provide glimpses of insight into what other people/groups must face all day long.

      Living in a fantasy world away from “others” allows us to believe we are always right, and believing we are always right allows us to further separate ourselves from others and create a fantasy world to live in. Riding a bicycle on the streets (among many other things, of course), is one way to become engaged with actual reality and start chipping away at the fantasy.

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      • Pete October 7, 2018 at 10:28 am

        I have an office 45 miles away that I almost never go to (ironically for productivity reasons – long story). A few weeks ago I drove to a meeting there, which is usually an hour and a half endeavor. I’ve spoiled myself with bike commutes and working from home for decades, and I believe my health and quality of life have thrived as a result.

        Anyway, this day traffic was particularly dense, and stop-and-go in spurts ‘for no reason’. Like other drivers I got frustrated and tense, angry even. Nothing happened that I’m not used to brushing off on a typical bike ride (cut off with no blinker, distracted drivers veering over the line, etc.), but the pressure just built. When I arrived at work I felt frazzled above the norm; “Traffic was Horrendous!”.

        I looked at my watch. That drive only took 6 minutes longer than usual…

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        • El Biciclero October 8, 2018 at 10:40 am

          “Nothing happened that I’m not used to brushing off on a typical bike ride (cut off with no blinker, distracted drivers veering over the line, etc.), but the pressure just built.”

          This is what I find so fascinating. Why would you “brush off” these kinds of things while riding a bike, but feel “pressure building” due to them while driving your car? Do you unconsciously accept your inferior status while on a bike and “take it all in stride”, because “drivers will be drivers”, after all—but somehow (even without wanting to) when driving, feel entitled to the point where the same “minor” offenses are perceived as more of an affront given your superior roadway status? Or is it that society promises that when you ride your bike, you can expect a slow, uncomfortable trip that will probably result in your death (so any only moderately-impeded trip where nobody actually ran over you is a good trip), vs. the unfulfilled promise of a speedy and convenient trip by car, that when it doesn’t work out that way, makes us feel cheated and wanting to lay the blame on all those other yahoos that keep getting in the way?

          I’m not trying to be accusatory, since I find myself wondering the same kinds of things when I feel a particular way about one roadway situation or another; I just find the sociological/philosophical thought experiments interesting.

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        • Middle of The Road Guy October 9, 2018 at 8:53 am

          There is an interesting psychology behind movement. As long as we are moving without interruption we seem to feel less agitated than when it is stop and go…even if the travel times are the same.

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    • B. Carfree October 6, 2018 at 5:45 pm

      Your beautiful comment took me back in time four decades. I witnessed an old man (hah, he was probably the age I am now) get knocked down by a young woman on a bicycle as he crossed the street diagonally mid-block. The woman didn’t see him because she was chatting with two fellow riders. They all picked themselves up, inspected the damage (scraped elbows), exchanged kind words of concern and bid each other well as they went on their way.

      There were no stern looks or words of recrimination, just concern for each other’s well being. It was the sort of mishap that happens all the time, but this one was at a human scale instead of involving tons of steel at speeds that can kill, which made all the difference.

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  • yarp October 5, 2018 at 4:22 pm

    best post you’ve ever written

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  • Glenn October 5, 2018 at 5:32 pm

    My total and almost complete ignorance (read: IGNORE-ance) of the news and social media leaves me with all the empathy, thoughtfulness and humanity I have under normal conditions when free of those pernicious and dehumanizing influences. I had to Google Susan Collins.

    Kavanaugh will probably get in, apparently? I could’ve predicted it just by counting how many Republicans & Democrats there are in the Senate. And I cite in support of that methodology, the polarization you mention. Things go along party lines, with few exceptions.

    During the Bush II era, I used to be forever bent out of shape at the latest outrage. Then Obama was elected and I got a breather, but the people on the other side spent 8 years getting all bent out of shape, just like everybody on the left feels now. None of it matters. No matter who is in the White House, or the Court, or the Congress, it has been shown that policy bears virtually no statistical correlation with the majority’s wishes. Policy is based on and correlates strongly with the wishes of a rich minority. I am literally advocating for apathy, also known as calm. It’s the only rational choice, and it improves your life.

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    • Charley October 5, 2018 at 7:17 pm

      I’m sorry, but I have to disagree. Maybe I’ve misread you, but equating the two parties, or suggesting that voting is without purpose, is exactly what got us where we are. I’m not saying the we’d live in paradise if the Democrats get back into power, but the only chance of changing this oligarchical, anti-democratic system is actually to engage with what few levers of power we actually have. It may not matter the way you want, or as quickly you want, but elections do matter.
      I can’t disagree that removing yourself from the daily flow of bad news has some merits (why marinate in this awfulness?). Taking a media breather, or practicing a level-headed calm about our state of affairs is a great idea, but it’s not the same as abdicating all responsibility for the direction of the country.

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      • GlowBoy October 8, 2018 at 12:14 pm

        Nothing wrong with needing to protect your own psyche by limiting your exposure to the abrasions of our public discourse, but:

        “… equating the two parties, or suggesting that voting is without purpose, is exactly what got us where we are”

        is my vote for quote of the week.

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    • Dan A October 5, 2018 at 7:23 pm

      I don’t believe that people should act (or vote) entirely out of self-interest.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty October 5, 2018 at 9:44 pm

        Many Trump voters apparently agree.

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    • David Hampsten October 5, 2018 at 9:04 pm

      Glenn, as an bike advocate who’s been doing this for 27 years now, I’m inclined to agree with you. Voting and representative democracy is vastly over-rated. Our constitution is really designed for a country of 3-10 million people living in relatively isolated communities, but not for a continental federation of 326 million people in the 50 states plus our vast overseas global corporate Coca-Cola/Amazon empire. And given how divisive our politics are, the fact that we’ve somehow collectively managed to feed most of us, educated our children in spite of our best efforts, and avoid global nuclear catastrophe for over 70 years now, makes me conclude that we aren’t really a democracy as much as a technocratic bureaucracy, where fundamental decisions of life, liberty, and the pursuit of property are made by unelected junior-level bureaucrats with the best of intentions and usually an ignorance of their own importance.

      So with 50% of registered voters “opting out” of most elections, we can’t (nor ever could) rely on voting to run our government. Which is why you need to be engaged at a level you can feel comfortable with and sustain, such as participating in community dialog (such as this excellent blog), engaging your neighbors, participating in community activities, secretly engaging in guerrilla activities with PDX Transformation and similar groups, and bugging your local junior-level bureaucrats, among many other possibilities.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty October 5, 2018 at 9:36 pm

        If 50% don’t vote, your vote counts double.

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        • 9watts October 5, 2018 at 9:41 pm

          while sort of true, that doesn’t seem to be a sufficient motivator for those who’ve opted out to opt back in, has it?

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty October 6, 2018 at 6:13 am

            I like having double votes.

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            • David Hampsten October 6, 2018 at 9:22 am

              At our last election for Sheriff, we had a local 4% turnout, so presumably my vote was 25 times more valuable. Unfortunately, my candidate still lost to the incumbent.

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              • 9watts October 6, 2018 at 10:09 am

                But just think if you could have motivated your 24 closest friends to vote for ‘your’ guy.

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        • Pete October 7, 2018 at 10:32 am

          Except if there’s an electoral college.

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        • meh October 8, 2018 at 8:05 am

          So everyone’s vote counts double, a zero sum gain.

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      • B. Carfree October 6, 2018 at 6:07 pm

        There is quite a bit of evidence that a lot of those non-voters aren’t voting because they have been blocked. Closed precincts, ID laws that require poor, disabled and/or elderly to travel long distances (and they often can’t drive/don’t own a vehicle and there’s no public transit), disenfranchisement for various not-very-legit reasons and what-not. It’s also clear that one party and one party only has been responsible for these obstacles. The more power that party accrues and the longer they have it, the less likely we are to ever have a reasonable approximation of a representative democracy. Also, in case you haven’t noticed, those professionals who have been running the bureaucracy from within have been scattering or being fired. This is a scary time.

        For those reasons and more, I strongly disagree with you about the value of voting. We still have some semblance of elections, but if we don’t take full advantage, I fear we will go the way of Turkey and fall into de facto totalitarianism.

        Oh my, how’s that for a little ray of sunshine on this beautiful Saturday evening?

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty October 6, 2018 at 7:55 pm

          I’m not suggesting the current situation is satisfactory, but I am fairly confident a higher proportion of the population is enfranchised now than in any other period of history. I think apathy and disinterest are far more significant causes of low turnout.

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      • paikiala October 8, 2018 at 1:16 pm

        “…it has been said that democ­ra­cy is the worst form of Gov­ern­ment except for all those oth­er forms that have been tried from time to time..” – Churchill

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  • Jim Labbe
    Jim Labbe October 5, 2018 at 6:39 pm

    Thanks for this post Jonathan. These observations are needed, wise and strategic. I do think the Portland community is much less divided by mode of transportation than it was a few years back when the “cars versus bikes” silliness raged and local TV and newspapers news outlets regularly stoked this ridiculous divisiveness to the most cynical of ends. The shift, which I think is real, has at least something to do with the tone and focus you have set on in focusing on systemic solutions and holding everyone accountable for civil discourse.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) October 8, 2018 at 11:17 am

      Thank you for saying that Jim! It means a lot.

      And you’ve touched on what I was trying to convey in most.. That is… what if more people took the same tact and approach I take here with making transportation issues less divisive (respect other views, avoid insults and labels, consider different perspectives, and so on) and used it in their political conversations?

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  • devin October 5, 2018 at 7:01 pm

    Really evocative things being said here, I can only say I am grateful for every day I get to ride. I would go completely bonkers without this necessary distraction from the grotesque hootenanny that passes for US politics these days. That Huckabee woman. For shame!

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  • rick October 5, 2018 at 7:12 pm

    I’m glad to see several steel mills operating well again.

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    • Chris I October 8, 2018 at 10:46 am

      At what cost? How about the workers at the only US-made keg factory still around, who are most likely going to lose their jobs? How about the bike industry employees? I work in metals manufacturing, and people are very worried.

      The economy just got goosed by the tax law changes last year. Consumer debt is at all-time highs, and several key industries are about the deal with tariffs. We’re in for a bumpy ride over the next few years.

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  • dwk October 5, 2018 at 7:16 pm

    You spend a lot of time deleting innocuous comments..
    You delete most of mine.
    Sometimes cycling seems like an afterthought on this site.
    You play favorites with who gives you 10 bucks a month as far as allowing
    their opinions over others…
    Feel free to print this.

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    • David Hampsten October 6, 2018 at 9:27 am

      I always feel honored when my comments get deleted, which happens to about 20% of them – it means that Jon is actually reading and digesting them. I figure that anything he doesn’t publish he’ll just fart or vomit later.

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    • Middle of The Road Guy October 9, 2018 at 8:56 am

      You can always spend $10 a month and see if yours still get deleted.

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  • Pruss2ny October 5, 2018 at 7:26 pm

    Commenter #436,072 here…and offering 2 cents that i follow this blog precisely because i disagree with many of the viewpoints…and that exposure has taught me a few things while emboldening my viewpoints on other items. Point being, discourse/learning happens when u are at minimum open to the slightest of chance that you may be wrong in belief or interpretation.

    That said, i’m not seeing that openness on the political side. Everything is now a digital option of Truth Vs Evil incarnate….true on both sides. Not a way to exist

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    • 9watts October 5, 2018 at 8:30 pm

      “That said, i’m not seeing that openness on the political side. Everything is now a digital option of Truth Vs Evil incarnate….true on both sides. Not a way to exist”

      Not so very long ago it was possible in this country to agree on common facts, start from a common understanding of right/wrong, up/down, etc. Even if imperfect, it was possible to have a discussion across political divides because there was a basis against which to measure the truth or veracity of a point of view.
      I don’t see this much in evidence in the larger society anymore.

      How do we back out of this?

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty October 5, 2018 at 9:47 pm

        We’ve been more divided in our history. This too will pass.

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        • Mike Quigley October 6, 2018 at 5:14 am

          But the last time we were this divided it resulted in a shooting war with the biggest casualty count in history. I see this happening again as the government becomes more oppressive and incompetent, hackers become more cunning, and people become more disillusioned.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty October 6, 2018 at 6:17 am

            There have been other times as well. But even after the civil war, we were able to get past it. The war wasn’t what brought us back together.

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            • David Hampsten October 6, 2018 at 9:42 am

              Living out here in the “South”, I’m not actually sure that we’ve really ever gotten “past it.” Many people here view the war as a draw, that the North was exhausted and sued for peace and a cease-fire. The history that we are taught in school or shown from Hollywood films is not necessarily the history that everyone believes in (or is even always true.) That fact that the fighting ended in 1865 should mean that Blacks were fully emancipated and given equal rights from thereon out, but we all know that was never the case, that is still isn’t the case, that they are still treated as second-class citizens, harassed by the police, discriminated for housing and jobs (even in Oregon). So, no, I don’t think we really are “past it” yet.

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      • Pruss2ny October 6, 2018 at 12:08 am

        Want to get back to a time when we could get back to basic truths and disagree from there?
        Fix this equation:
        Speed of social media > the truth
        Not a rip on trump alone…in past couple weeks we’ve seen dems send out blatant lies on kavanaugh (edited tapes etc)…but neither base cares…get that message out there NOW that panders to OUR base….retract it later if we have to—no one will see the retraction anyway.
        Speed of communication here is way more valuable than truth

        I honestly think we arent all that far apart in what we want…but our views our polluted on what we have.

        Recent polling suggested >80% of americans favor greater immigration…YAY OPEN ARMS!
        Same polling shows ~80% of americans also want stronger borders….BOO RaCISM!!!
        I dunno…seems like there might be some crossover there.

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        • meh October 8, 2018 at 8:11 am

          Greater immigration and greater control are not mutually exclusive. You can want more immigrants while wanting those immigrants to enter the country through legal channels.
          Let me tell you nothing makes you appreciate the right to vote like holding a green card for 5 years and not having a say in how those taxes you are paying get used or choosing who gets to make the decisions on using them. I haven’t missed a single election since being naturalized from municipal to presidential.

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      • Middle of The Road Guy October 9, 2018 at 8:57 am

        The problem is both sides are convinced only the other side is the one behaving poorly.

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  • Rivelo
    Rivelo October 6, 2018 at 6:17 am

    We’ve been passing out free buttons like the one Joe Hill is wearing here on my (other/personal) IG page.

    If you’re in the neighborhood, stop in and grab one. “While supplies last.”

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  • John P. October 6, 2018 at 10:23 am

    You don’t want to be political? And yet you post a clearly very political intro in your article? Have you no self control? As a conservative it is always annoying that most bicycle advocates want to save the world through bicycling. Why not just have fun through bicycling? You’d get twice the readership and all of them would be happy to read your posts. Tired of your less-than-thought-out politics always seeping into your articles. You just lost a long time reader.

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    • CaptainKarma October 6, 2018 at 1:17 pm

      I don’t believe you.

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    • 9watts October 6, 2018 at 1:56 pm

      “As a conservative it is always annoying that most bicycle advocates want to save the world through bicycling. Why not just have fun through bicycling?”

      Lots to unpack there.
      Conservatives like bike fun, but dislike relating transportation to the challenges of our time?
      I think you are selling some of your fellow conservatives short.
      It sounds like you, John P., have an aversion to politics, which is unfortunate, but I’d be curious how you know this:

      “You’d get twice the readership and all of them would be happy to read your posts. ”

      speaking just for myself, if all I want is bike fun I go to the Shift list. Bikeportland interests me precisely because Jonathan mixes it all up, shows how we can’t separate aspects of cycling into discrete silos, and furthermore, why would we want to? If you look at the bike fun posts here on bikeportland, they tend to get about 3% of the volume of comments as do the kinds of articles you have chosen to comment on here. Comment volume is certainly not the only measure of popularity, but it is one. Curious to hear your take on this. If you’re still out there.

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      • B. Carfree October 6, 2018 at 6:18 pm

        I love the way Jonathan sets context in his posts. We could just read a press release about a company pulling up roots and leaving N. America or another going bust, but JM gives us important background and context. Yes, this is often presented through a lens that is indicative of his bias and politics, but that’s part of the beauty and what makes it so real.

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    • bikeninja October 6, 2018 at 4:41 pm

      A real conservative ( in the original sense) should want to conserve things like fuel, open space, clean air and avoid foreign entanglements and unnecessary expenses. All these things are better accomplished through cycling than automobiling. So saving the world through cycling is in reality a conservative position. The problem is not with the the aims of this blog, but with the fact that modern conservatism has become an ideology that cheers chewing up the earth and most of its people to achieve short term financial goals and so called prosperity for those it has chosen as worthy. A blog that just promoted more ways for the masses to be amused with fun so they could be distracted from the foul deeds perpetrated in their name,would be a hollow endeavor indeed. Rock on Jonathan.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty October 6, 2018 at 8:06 pm

        A real conservative (in the modern sense) hates Democrats and doesn’t care about the collateral damage as they seek any partisan advantage, no matter how minor. I am unable to discern any other guiding principle from their actions over the past two years.

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        • Tim October 7, 2018 at 4:53 pm

          Hello, Kitty
          A real conservative (in the modern sense) hates Democrats and doesn’t care about the collateral damage as they seek any partisan advantage, no matter how minor. I am unable to discern any other guiding principle from their actions over the past two years.Recommended 1

          I think this applies equally to both political parties….

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) October 8, 2018 at 11:15 am

      John P.

      I said I try and resist being too political here because it usually leads to conversations that I think are better had on other forums. That is to say, while I don’t think BP should ignore politics completely, I want to focus on using this site for information and discussion people can’t get in other places. I also know that — especially these days — politics is such a nuanced and sensitive topic that it’s difficult to have thoughtful/productive conversation online.

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    • Middle of The Road Guy October 9, 2018 at 8:58 am

      I feel the same way about religion.

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  • soren October 6, 2018 at 2:10 pm

    I don’t wade into politics here because my goal is to create an inclusive and productive space

    Working to promote transportation alternative is the epitome of politics. The hostility towards “politics” and grassroots organizing in “bike culture/advocacy” spaces is the primary reason that cycling for transportation has stagnated for over a decade and is on a recent downward trend.

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    • B. Carfree October 6, 2018 at 5:29 pm

      If you graph out the decade of stagnation, 2008-17, the best fit line actually has a positive slope. Of course the past few years looks downward, but that’s largely due to the unexplained bump up in 2014 and 2015 (the two highest years of bicycle use in Portland history). Cycling in Portland certainly isn’t showing the growth that is needed, but I think it’s unfair to say it’s heading down.

      That said, alternatives to cars is certainly one of the most political issues in existence. We’re talking about removing massive subsidies from many people and businesses for the common good. I can’t imagine how that can happen without a lot of political work.

      For example, Eugene is beginning the process of planning for the expansion its bus rapid transit system. A sticking point is ODOT’s insistence that the final build obey its level of service criteria for cars. ODOT can change this, but won’t because the political will isn’t there on the part of a governor who is running for re-election. As a result, the final product will be very, very bike and pedestrian hostile.

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  • Josh Chernoff October 7, 2018 at 12:16 pm

    You of all people know I’ve been critical of how non confrontational our local activism as been. 
My question to you all is if you think the “system” is not a group of people serving their own self interests, then what is it?
 From where I stand this is a systemic problem based on one principle only, classism. 
This is one of the big reasons I blame most of all of you for this problem. Far too little of our “own party” care too little about the well being of the mass as a whole so long as their own basic needs are met.

    Don’t believe me? Let’s look at the affordable care act. Who is this even for? Well for starters it’s meant to help the poor acquire medical services. The truth is when you take a closer look its less helpful for the lower income and poor class as the middle and rich class would have you think.

    I’ve never had a stable job for most of my life. The last time I found my self dealing with unemployment I also found that I had been fined for every month I could not afford to pay out of pocket for a medical service I really needed for my own wellbeing. But rather than spending several hours of my day being put on hold trying to talk to OHP about how I can afford to get insurance I spent that time looking for a job. At the end of the tax year I was find just short of $900 in taxes because I was not covered for a few months while at the same time worried I could not pay rent. Now, I could have filed a hardship and tried to address this problem but that’s just that much more work for someone who is already stretched thin. Let alone it’s not a guarantee and it really opens you up to being audited by the IRS which I’ve been told is possibly worse than if I just ignore the problem. If you think about it, most poor people do what ever it takes to survive. That includes lying on their taxes or working under the table or possibly they just don’t have the means to track their income in a organized way. Hell it could be issues with taxes that lead them to this place in their life to begin with.

    So how is all of that related to this? Well it’s not the poor or even the middle class that is in control of our “System”. 
If you say, “but you can vote?”, I’m calling bullshit on that right now.

    So then what is it, this “system” of ours? It’s simple, it’s a system of pacification for the upcoming rich and progressively growing middle class. To which all of you who choose to participate in do with a smile on your face because you are barely able to grasp what little influence you have to begin with. And right there is where it begins! You joined the team because you see some injustice and you think something should be done about it. You go to the rallies, you go to the hearings you go and say your peace to the people in charge but do it in a way that is following the rules. You fail to see the “rules” where created by the very “system” you are trying to change. A simple fact is the people in power will always fight to remain in power. And guess what the people in power don’t give a fuck about you. Thus the circle begins. If I’m so wrong then I guess my argument would be this whole post would probably not be here if this was not true.

    As it is now we have to work from the bottom up. That means working with local governments before pushing our agenda upward. How has that been working for all of you? Ted Wheeler really championing your cause? Are you seeing change at a pace that is truly addressing the problems? Or are you just being told “but there’s no money” or “there’s no one to do the work” or better and more common as of lately “but thats not our departments problem to fix”.

    It would seem to me that the real problem is the lack of power the people have to hold the truly responsible party accountable for their actions. That alone should show you who really is in control here. Think about it this way if the people can’t really move politicians to do things in their interest then who can? Thats simple follow the money. Thus it’s really a matter of people with money who are to blame right now. Maybe when someone with a great deal of money and influence has decided they are willing to fight this “system” and somehow does not manage to be corrupted will we then see something happen in a meaningful way at a meaningful pace.

    But until then, go walk your dogs in your nice neighborhood and take your biking trips to the remote vacation spots and keep shopping at your upscale food markets and promoting your alternative life styles as if you are a beacon of hope to all the rest of the community who are suffering as a result of abandonment. But by all means ostracized any who dare question or break the rules.

If you think this sounds like I have given up, you are correct. I no longer believe I have any choice in my life and that my day to day is based only on if I can do something to benefit someone else. That is what it means to be subjected to classism.

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    • Toby Keith October 7, 2018 at 6:56 pm

      Your post perfectly illustrates the victim mentality so prevalent today.

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  • Marianne Fitzgerald October 7, 2018 at 12:19 pm

    We live in a participatory democracy, and news outlets like BikePortland help us know what’s going on and have our voices heard. I was as upset as Jonathan this week because the Supreme Court rulings have a huge effect on our lives and lifestyles.

    I tend to think globally and act locally, as David Hampton advised.

    On that “act local” note, this Wednesday Oct. 10 at 2:00 pm Portland City Council is considering the SW Corridor Light Rail project (, item 1062). Many of us in SW Portland have many concerns about the Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA). One of the concerns is that the plan only includes sidewalks and bike paths on Barbur where light rail is on Barbur and will not include safe access to all of the station areas from the neighborhoods. In July the Portland Planning and Sustainability Commission commented that “most mitigations itemized in the DEIS are aimed at maintaining vehicle movement rather than people movement….This is backwards.” We hope a lot of people submit comments to to support the replacement of Barbur Viaducts (yay) and postpone approval of the LPA until many outstanding issues are resolved. The staff report includes a work plan full of action items over the next four years, and I can elaborate further if you have questions, but my biggest concern is that once the LPA is approved a lot of decisions will be locked in.

    This kind of advocacy helps distract me from national news and hopeful that “we the people” will ask our local elected officials for better outcomes for Portland. If you care about safer alternative transportation options in SW Portland, make your voice heard before Wednesday’s City Council discussion on the SW Corridor light rail plan.

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    • soren October 7, 2018 at 2:58 pm

      “We live in a participatory democracy”

      I could not disagree more. We live in a settler-colonial oligarchy where race, national origin, income status, and place of residence determine socioeconomic opportunity (including basic access to healthcare, education, transportation options, and housing).

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty October 7, 2018 at 3:38 pm

        Both could be true.

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      • yarp October 7, 2018 at 5:15 pm

        Although I agree with the oligarchy bit, everything else you typed defines the entire planet… So, solutions?

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        • David Hampsten October 7, 2018 at 8:28 pm

          Participate. I don’t actually disagree with Josh, I too feel I’ve been screwed pretty much my entire life, but I don’t feel my situation is as hopeless as it might be, by participating in trying to change society, even on my downward cycle towards absolute poverty. By participating, I feel a certain satisfaction that I can change things for the better for others, even if I can’t help myself.

          After 10+ years of unemployment, no insurance of any sort, and regular discrimination for being grossly obese and unable to drive, I do feel lucky in other ways. I’m still alive, somehow. Our planet hasn’t yet been obliterated by nuclear war, drowned by rising seas, or governed by just a few Orwellian “1984” global totalitarian regimes, though we’ve gotten close, and I’ve witnessed some history here and there. I’m still able and willing to participate in my local government, but also able to effect some minor changes, a bike lane Hill Street by petition, a new transit contract with Keolis, and a legacy of successful advocacy in East Portland in helping to fund over $200 million in bike, sidewalk, and transit improvements, a few of which are already built.

          I also recommend working with others, forming alliances, building partnerships. It not only spreads the work more widely, but helps keep your sanity and from becoming hopelessly discouraged.

          We are humans – community-spirit is hard-wired into our brains. Biking solo may increase your endurance, but a partnership is more enjoyable, and a paceline is much more efficient.

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          • 9watts October 7, 2018 at 8:41 pm

            That was nicely put. Thank you!

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        • soren October 7, 2018 at 11:12 pm

          One of the hallmarks of ‘murrican exceptionalism is to claim that the USA is the “best”, and when this is not possible, to argue that everyone else is the same. Of course these claims are nonsense because even nations far, far poorer than the the USA have universal access to medical care, free education, and basic housing as a human right.

          Trump’s comment about “sh*thole countires” was a classic case of projection, ATMO.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty October 8, 2018 at 3:41 pm

            “American exceptionalism” does not mean we are best, only that we are unique. This may not be true, but given our history, it is not an entirely absurd claim either.

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    • PDXCyclist October 8, 2018 at 11:35 am

      Do you have some boilerplate language I could use to start off with in my email to them?

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  • dwk October 7, 2018 at 5:39 pm

    Please point out where Democrats blocked a Supreme court nominee for a the rest of a Presidents term….
    Please point out where Democrats behave like Donald Trump…..
    This kind of right wing myths get easily published here.

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  • Alon R. October 8, 2018 at 8:30 am

    Good morning,
    Thank you Jonathan for these thoughts and for the wonderful work you have been doing via this site and your other bicycle activism over many years.
    Sharing information that is not featured in the corporate media, shining light on people and events that deserve our attention and support, encouraging each other as we ride and contribute towards a more ecologically sane and just world- these have been some of what you and this site have generously provided. In other words- helping to build community, based on respect and awareness, necessary medicine in these days of lies and brute power.
    Co-host of the KBOO radio bike show

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  • Patrick M October 8, 2018 at 10:11 am

    Hello, Kitty
    There can be no doubt that had the Democrats nominated anyone else, we’d have a different president now. And a radically different supreme court. Thank you, Democratic party.Recommended 8

    That’s just not true – there were many that thought the same thing when Trump became the presidential nominee, in that any Democrat nominee would be able to beat him.

    No matter who the Democratic nominee was, he/she would have been the focus of the same intense criticism, and then it comes down to a choice of vote for the republican or vote for the democrat.

    — Patrick

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  • BikeRound October 8, 2018 at 10:13 am

    I am a registered Democrat, but I was extremely impressed with Senator Susan Collins during the Kavanaugh hearings. She was one of at most a handful of senators who kept an open mind and whose vote was not a foregone conclusion even before President Trump even announced the name of the nominee. Her speech clearly showed that she weighed the evidence in meticulous detail, she had put much thought into what would be the right thing to do under the circumstances, and she carefully avoided further antagonizing the partisan divisions. I think there are a lot of Washington actors that we can be unhappy with both before and during this unseemly Kavanaugh saga, but Senator Collins was one of the few who acted with integrity and grace under a lot of pressure. I cannot fathom why somebody would want to curse at such a senator during her speech.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) October 8, 2018 at 11:12 am

      Hi BikeRound… I wanted to curse at her because I was upset and frustrated by what she was saying and because of the entire spectacle in general and where we find ourselves as a country right now. It’s super frustrating and maddening on many levels.

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    • Dan A October 8, 2018 at 11:32 am

      Sorry, have to disagree. The FBI ‘investigation’ was just a whitewashing of the foregone conclusion, and had absolutely nothing to do with his confirmation. The fact that it was even called for in such a limited way was a red herring to me. Based on the way he repeatedly avoided answering direct questions, or pretended like he didn’t know the difference between “I don’t know what happened” and “It didn’t happen”, I would not have hired him to work at my company, much less sit on the Supreme Court for the rest of his life. We certainly didn’t need a lot of false hemming & hawing to determine that.

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    • Chris I October 9, 2018 at 8:33 am

      She is putting a lot of faith in this new judge. How will you feel if he is the swing vote that overturns Roe? Have you looked at his record? Why aren’t you concerned that he lied under oath about his drinking habits and sexual activity as a kid?

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty October 9, 2018 at 8:48 am

        While I agree that Kavanaugh demonstrated he is ill-suited for a role on the Supreme Court for reasons that do not depend on Ford’s testimony, if you are singularly concerned about Roe, any subsequent judicial pick would likely be as bad (or worse) in that respect.

        So yes, it would be bad news if Roe were overturned, but Kavanaugh’s presence on the court is unlikely to be the deciding factor.

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  • dwk October 8, 2018 at 11:51 am

    “I am a registered Democrat”
    Huh, not sure I buy that. Collins decision was a disgrace, claiming that she believed Ford but that Ford was wrong is about as convoluted logic as they come.
    She twisted herself into a pretzel when she just could have been the partisan hack she is and not wasted our time with the foregone conclusion.
    McConnell has broke this country apart. The decision not to seat Garland when he was the selection of a President that won 2 popular elections is about as wrong and stunning and partisan as it comes.
    Bush and Trump now have half the court and NEITHER won the popular vote.
    I have a hard thinking a “democrat” or any fair person thinks this is just.

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  • highrider October 8, 2018 at 12:32 pm

    Jonathan I really appreciate this article. When the news makes me so upset that it hurts me and the way I behave I tell myself to step back and embrace life because I’ll be dead soon enough. I was just saying to myself this morning before I read this, the old saying- ‘if you can’t say something nice don’t say anything’. I have no power to convince strangers of much of anything, ever, but I can try to control as many things in my own life that make a difference- no flesh eating, little driving, embracing the hot and cold without too many heating and cooling aids, not working for anyone or anything I hate, being kind to strangers and animals and plants even if they some of them scare me sometimes. And always vote!

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  • Jim Lee October 8, 2018 at 3:08 pm

    I feel terribly sorry for Ford.

    If one needs to blame someone, that would be Diane Feinstein, who put a decent and long suffering woman through public hell for purely political reasons.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty October 8, 2018 at 3:16 pm

      If you believe the reasons were “purely political” it suggests that you feel that Ford’s allegations, even if true, were not relevant to whether Kavanaugh should be on the Supreme Court.

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      • pruss2ny October 9, 2018 at 5:51 am

        goal = derail nomination.
        july 8th allegation of sexual assault is made…what do YOU do?

        there’s a very obvious answer here, but its not “sit on the allegation until just before the confirmation vote and then release to the press in order to delay the vote as long as you can delay it”. i believe this is the “purely political” play that many have complained about. A credible sexual assault allegation IS NOT a delay tactic, but this one was played as such.

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  • BikeRound October 8, 2018 at 5:29 pm

    I voted in the Democratic primaries earlier this year. Is that enough proof for the agnostics? Just because I am a Democrat, that doesn’t mean I cannot listen to well-crafted arguments by members of other parties.

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    • dwk October 8, 2018 at 5:37 pm

      ‘Well crafted”…
      Collins called Ford a liar right after she said she believed her…

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      • BikeRound October 8, 2018 at 6:59 pm

        I just searched the entire text of Collins’s speech. The words “liar” and “to lie” do not appear in the speech. She also did not use any metaphors for being a liar, such as “not telling the truth.” Collins did talk about whether Ford’s story can be corroborated as any good investigator should.

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      • pruss2ny October 9, 2018 at 6:13 am

        The Innocence Project, you may know, is group that has fought to overturn wrongful convictions thru DNA tests and has freed >400 inmates who (on average) have served >14yrs incarcerated. their data shows that the OVERWHELMING majority of wrongful rape convictions are predicated on an eyewitness identification by either the victim alone, or the victim and 1 other eyewitness.

        saying she believes ford but she thinks ford is wrong on kavanaugh DNE she thinks ford is a liar.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) October 9, 2018 at 9:03 am

    Hi everyone. I appreciate all your comments! Thank you so much for sharing on this wonderful thread. I think the conversation has run its course and I will close the comments.

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