Apr 13, 2006

Where Is The Outrage, Indeed.

An April 12 comment to the below blog entry for Jack Bog's blog asked the question, "Yes, it's becoming clear that the South Waterfront development -- SoWhat for short -- is Portland's equivalent of the war in Iraq. But without any real media coverage or any real opposition. Is it just me or does it seem like there is a serious lack of outrage over this in the city?"

Jack Bog's Blog: “Today we see that the OHSU aerial tram [rim shot] is just the tip of the iceberg. The city's throwing another $43 million at SoWhat as a whole, buying property from Homer Williams and paying for all sorts of other junk to make the hideous condo tower jungle prettier for the California dupes who are going to pay upwards of a million dollars for an apartment in Portland.”

Technorati tags: OHSU Tram, OHSU, Portland City Council, urban renewal, voter apathy

Where is the outrage? Good question.

I admit it. I’m a political junkie. But folks like me are a tiny, tiny minority.

I believe that the large majority of folks, not just in the Portland Metro area, but nationwide, just don’t give a toot. It's reflected in low voter turnout, and low or non-existent citizen participation in citizen meetings, focus groups, etc.

Their prime concern is getting that raise at work, the driver who cut them off on the freeway this morning, the son or daughter who endlessly "lose their homework", the ant invasion of their kitchen, etc. It's called life.

Another aspect of this lack of involvement, outrage, whatever you want to call it may be an overload of information. Endless TV channels, internet sites, radio, junk mail. People filter out most of it.

Try this, outside your wonkosphere of politically aware friends and relatives: Ask them if they know what’s going on in their town regarding urban renewal, trams or the local equivalent.

I'm beginning to think that people pay attention to politics only when 1) Their property taxes go up; 2) They don't overpay on withholding and don't get their tax "refund", 3) Their kid's school is threatened with closure, 4) Their car gets stolen , or 5) They apply for a permit for their backyard deck.

It's the very tiny minority of informed citizens and "activists"(I hate the word activist, what makes people think they're so special by calling themselves activists) who care about things like trams and urban renewal and back room deals.

American Idol ratings: through the roof. Hundreds of millions of text messaging votes. That show seems to be the only actual participatory democracy going on these days.

Boy, I need a cynicism break.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

6) Home prices start to slide.