Happy New Year!
It sure has started off with a bang. First the good news, we welcomed our new commissioner Danielle Bethell to the Marion County Board of Commissioners. Thank you for your help in getting her here!
Danielle is a great addition to the team and has already brought a great energy to our office. She is also already working hard to represent our constituents.
We also said goodbye to former Commissioner Sam Brentano. Sam served our county with honor and integrity over the past 17 years and we will miss him very much. You can read a great tribute to his career here . I will miss working with Sam but I know he will not be shy in sharing his opinion with us if we go too far afield. You can watch his farewell speech on our YouTube channel here. You can also watch a great video tribute to his service here. If you are looking for him in the future you may be able to find him on the river.
Finally, you may have seen the riots that took place in Salem and in Washington DC over the past week. We had to close our offices one day this week to keep county employees safe. I was very outspoken against the riots in Portland and Salem this summer and I am also opposed to the riots that took place this week. Peaceful protest is a hallmark of our American Republic, violent riots are not. The violence that has taken place this week and over the past year have no place in our Republic.
However, I am also very troubled by Facebook's and Twitter's decision to prevent the President of the United States from communicating on their platforms. Frankly, this action is unAmerican. You can read about it here.
I understand that these are private companies and they are free do do what they choose, but they also serve functionally, and are intended to serve, as public forums for our political discourse. Their censorship of the highest elected official in our land is gravely concerning. It is an action that reflects the values of medieval monarchies or 3rd word dictatorships not the United States of America.
Our founders knew of the dangers of propaganda and passion driven riots and they came to the intentional decision that the solution to these dangers was freedom of speech, not censorship of speech, especially when it comes to political speech.
In one of his famous Federalist Papers defending the U.S. Constitution, Federalist 10, written in 1787, James Madison wrote:
Liberty is to faction what air is to fire, an ailment without which it instantly expires. But it could not be a less folly to abolish liberty, which is essential to political life, because it nourishes faction than it would be to wish the annihilation of air, which is essential to animal life, because it imparts to fire its destructive agency.
The solution, instead, he argues, is not to control the cause of faction by eliminating liberty but to control the effects through limited government, civic education and separation of powers. Unfortunately, too many of our business and government leaders have given up on these foundational elements of our republic.
My hope for the new year is that we rediscover our liberties and rededicate ourselves to this great American project.
It is an honor to serve you as your county commissioner.