Thursday, November 28, 2002

All Irrelevant Politics is Local

The Grateful Dead-loving residents of Eugene, Oregon have always been reliable paragons of liberalism. The presence of the University of Oregon has a lot to do with it, as has the proximity of celebrated countercultural figures such as the late Ken Kesey. Not wanting to remain silent in the face of an attack on civil liberties, the Eugene City Council has voted to officially denounce John Ashcroft’s baby, the USA PATRIOT Act. Eugene’s city fathers heard from many locals at a public forum, including Alexander Gonzales, who said, "If we grow up thinking that it's ok to profile, it's ok to subject people to searches, then what is ok?" A compelling question, certainly. Symbolic resolutions like this one have a long history, including Takoma Park, Maryland declaring itself a “nuclear-free zone,” Berkeley deciding it would become a “hate-free zone,” and the various towns in states like Vermont voting their approval of the Kyoto Protocol.


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