Senator Ron Wyden’s Medford Town Hall today was like my days messing with drugs and alcohol: felt good and exciting and fun at the time, but felt really bad afterward.
Let’s face it, it was a posturing performance by Ron Wyden, and he seemed to actually enjoy it. He tried to be funny and charming and polite and caring, and many in the crowd ate it up and clapped and laughed at the appropriate time. This was profoundly disappointing to me. Senator Wyden was a rare Democrat who sponsored a law that will do so much devastation in the near and far future that we can scarcely conceive of it now. Ron Wyden was the single greatest reason we now have Trade Promotion Authority, aka Fast Track, as the law of the land, which will see the ramming through of gargantuan trade deals for the next 6 years that will have totally unprecedented and unimaginably enormous consequences, not just for trade and jobs, but for virtually every aspect of human and animate life on Earth. And yes, it will repeal S Oregon’s GMO crop bans. That is one thing it is explicitly designed to do.
And people were cheering and laughing with him? I was embarrassed at the kindly and warm welcoming S Oregon gave to this man who claims to represent us and be a champion for transparency, but I am sorry to say has blatantly revealed himself to be a corporate advocate, and uncaring at least and hostile at most to the values and visions we believe in.
I did not buy all the self-congratulations he issued to all the hard questions, pointing out how hard he is working on our behalf.
I did not buy how many times he referred to his vote for the Sanders amendment to answer every question on the GMO issue, which was a vote against Monsanto and GMOs. Why? 1- Wyden knew the amendment would not pass (20+ to 70+), but he would look good voting for it. 2- The top 5 donors to the previous Wyden campaign are all linked in one way or another to Monsanto.
I did not buy his earnest replies that he would help the struggling and concerned Oregon Farmers, he would certainly want to talk with them more and learn their concerns, and see what he could do, etc… Why? 1- See #2 above. 2- He worked real hard against the explicitly and often stated requests/demands of Oregon Farmers–and a lot of other groups, like Oregon Fair Trade, Citizen Trade Campaign, and Sierra Club–to pass a law that will almost certainly codify trade agreements that will profoundly harm Oregon family farmers! He has already sold you out, OFFC, Friends of Family Farmers, Center for Food Safety, and all the others, with his sponsorship of Fast Track.
I did not buy his self back-patting over all the work he did to get more transparency and more decision-making time into the Fast Track process.
I did not buy his patiently didactic manner explaining to me why Fast Track–with his precedent-setting provisions–was so great, when without it, we have a much more transparent, open and participatory process already in the Congress to make trade agreements, established by the US Constitution. A process where We the People can influence our Congress members much more than we can under Fast Track. Did he want us to believe he knew more about the well-being of Oregon jobs and economies and export prospects and wages and working conditions and all the rest, than Oregon Fair Trade, Citizen Trade Campaign, Organic Consumers Association, Sierra Club, OFFC, and countless other organizations and individuals who told him clearly, No Fast Track?
I didn’t buy it. Political theater at its most depraved. Front man posturing and obfuscation.
State Senator Alan Bates practically broke his arm patting Wyden on the back during the introduction, and might have kissed him, so effusive was Bates with praise for our Congressional Senator. To be honest People, I did feel a slight hitch in the stomach, but held it in.
The first person to speak, Linda Sturgeon, brought the right tone to the Hall. Her anger and dismay was thick, as it should have been. And she demanded that Wyden not ‘tap dance’ around the issues. But if we are being honest, that’s exactly what he did. And appeared earnest and genuine doing it. I didn’t buy it. Money talks, bill sponsorship talks, campaign donor totals talk, and the consequences to the 99% People of the bills he supports and votes for talks. All his talk today was pure tap dance and string-along and graceful dodging. The ol’ soft shoe song and dance routine.
Face it, we will not get any support or real representation from this man. No farmer except the GMO growers and chemical company agri-business operations will get anywhere with this man. A farming, seed and local food black hole. Wyden is Monsanto’s man, like so many in Congress and beyond. Harsh but true. If Monsanto needs Wyden’s vote to pass 1599, the federal preemption law for all things GMO, it will get it. If Monsanto has enough votes to win this law, Wyden will vote no and use that profusely in his next campaign to show Oregonians, and particularly S Oregonians, that he is working and fighting for us. Don’t buy it.
It seems we can’t legally Recall Wyden. We can elect him out in the next election, and elect in someone who will truly support everything we believe in–not just act charming and funny and noble while selling us out. I will remember You Ron Wyden, when the trade court rules the S Oregon GMO bans are infringing on corporate profits and must be repealed. And I will remember You when so much else starts to erode the remnants of democracy, environmental protections, labor rights, shreds of banking legitimacy, and much more as the trade agreements start rolling in like tsunamis. I am watching to see how you vote on 1599, but if you vote No and it passes, don’t expect me to believe that is your real position on GMOs. You have already shown that with your campaign contributions and your work to pass Fast Track.
It should be a federal crime for you to lie to us in a public Town Hall as you did so blatantly today. And it would be a worse crime to believe it. We’re not that dumb in S Oregon. I see through you, Ron Wyden, all the way to your chemical company, corporate and global investor cronies. You don’t fool me. Fast Track exposes you for all to see, no matter what you say and how you say it.
I say you must go. It won’t be too soon. But it may be too late. We will see.