Yes on Measure 101

Around this time last year, i was fired. it was a pretty unexpected event, and i was abruptly blindsided by the decision; it threw a lot of different life plans i was attempting to orchestrate into disarray, and it only added to the complete sense of altered reality, are-you-fucking-kidding me that accompanied the foot of snow and inauguration of a rapist white supremacist as president that graced us in the same week.

In particular, it threw a wrench into my ongoing efforts to figure out my own brain chemistry, which had been functioning about as well as our democracy over that past year. I was finally getting my shit together enough to seek counseling, start taking some medication to address chronic anxiety, depression, and sheer inability to focus, and figure out how to throw the right sets of chemicals at my brain in addition to whatever modifications to my practices of exercise, nutrition, sleep, internet habits, and meditation i could develop that might give me a chance to, you know, exist in society, let alone enjoy and cherish the experience and the folks around me.

Oregon Health Plan was a pretty big deal to me during that time of uncertainty. Even with all of the dozens of articles of priviledge that i’ve swam in for my entire life, my health and well-being was quite dismissively thrown into disarray and precarity, and thank goodness I live in a blue state with some sort of governing semblance that one’s well-being should be encouraged regardless of whether or not your boss surprises you with a pink slip that week. I honestly don’t know where I’d be if my opportunity to access any of these health services had been abruptly revoked because I lost my job. And I certainly have infinitely more profound appreciation for my peers, colleagues, family and friends who navigate these same uncertainties with much more dire consequences that I’ll ever face, thanks to the pernicious ways we continue to manifest inequality along lines of race, class, age, gender, disability, sexuality, and geographic proximity to care, and the bizarre circumstance through which I skate through society with the cheat codes that priviledge provide.

Thanks to some faux-populism and blatant opportunism within some nefarious ranks of Oregon’s current Republican party, the bipartisan (!) funding scheme that the state legislature crafted last summer to fill the state budget to, you know, cover tetanus shots for children and the like has to be voted into approval by the state. Passage of Measure 101 means 400,000 children can continue to see a damned doctor; failure means that Salem’s legislature goes into full-on crisis mode, eliminating scores of teachers, firefighters, and all sorts of other things in an attempt to fill the holes in the budget, to say nothing of the consequences that’ll have on Oregon’s plans to move forward with a really dope climate bill this November. I’m hardly a full-on cheerleader for the sclerotic, institutionalized, pat-ourselves-on-the-back incrementalism that passes as governance in some of our larger state agencies, and there are plenty of sacred cows that need to be wholly addressed (PERS IN ITS CURRENT FORM IS INTERGENERATIONAL THEFT, DON’T @ ME) but the continued whittling away at our government in the name of austerity politics is a disgustingly cynical way to calcify inequality, especially when (parts of) Oregon’s economy is flourishing and investment in our collective well-being is intrinsically critical to whatever lives we and our loved ones wish to share with each other in this state.

As of Friday, only 25% of ballots have been received. Higher turnout practically guarantees victory. Go bug your friends, family, roommates, whoever to plead with them to turn in their ballot. Because I’ve learned the full extent to which riding a bike is pretty much the best thing I can ever do for my well0-being, I’ll once again offer to any Portland-dwelling citizen to bike over and pick up your ballot by Tuesday if you haven’t done so already.

Go vote, dingleberries.