“Blue State Blues: Update from Wokeville, OR”


I am visiting a loved one in the bluest of blue states, Oregon. I’m in a small town that is adorable beyond measure; adorable in a way that differs from the East Coast cuteness of Millerton, New York, or Salem, MA. The Central Valley small town in which I find myself, has a cozy, walkable downtown grid; handsome brick vintage three-story buildings, with arched white plaster windows, now housing offices; it has a green town common, and a fine 19th century pale clapboard courthouse complete with spire. It has a winding river, down which kids and young adults launch inner tubes, during the summer. It boasts friendly cops who say, “Good morning!”

For years, there has been almost no crime.

Photo by James Morden on Unsplash

In this sweet little town, you can have fine local craft beer at many elevated restaurant-bars, and gaze at the evergreen forests in the distance. You can go into a tiny bookshop on one of the main streets, and sit on a scruffy leather couch, and read about lighthouses on the Oregon coast all day, and no one will dislodge you. You can see quirky old movies – classics and sci-fi — at a funky movie theatre that is located up a flight of rickety stairs. I joke that it is like Hobbiton, in JRR Tolkien’s children’s book The Hobbit; the town and its inhabitants are so dear and cozy. Public art is everywhere: there are bronze statues of dolphins on the street corners, and historic markers on walls.

This town has happy dogs, tugging at their leashes at the Saturday Farmers’ Market along the river. The market offers artisanal pickles in vats; bright cerise cherries with yellow blushes earlier in the season, and later, dark red cherries, the best in the world.

The dogs’ owners, male and female, wear shoes with excellent arch support. They wear Birkenstocks, Hokas, or hiking boots; they wear sage-colored hiking trousers, with lots of pockets; and vests with pockets. You never know when you may need a pocket, for an agricultural implement, perhaps, or a lens cap, or a rock climbing hook; you never know when you may need to dig in the dirt, or need to leap into the surrounding mountains for a hike. The clothes are also statements: one is close to the earth, one is outdoorsy, one is self-sufficient. No matter that these pockets and hike-worthy boots mostly meander downtown, or get in and out of top-of-the-line Toyota Rav4 hybrids. People are super super nice. Tattoos abound.

There is another line of fashion here — more popular among the more senior set, among whom I am socializing this week, as my loved one is in her 80s and her friends are in their 70s. This is a “Western Buddhist” look — flowing linen trousers, and batiked scarves, and vaguely Asian or Indian tunics with borders of simple embroidery, as if the ladies had stepped out for lunch from a calling as devotees of some inchoate Eastern sect. No matter that the ladies are all Caucasian as can be, and of Protestant or Jewish origins; and with previous sophisticated Western lives lived sleekly in the affluent US cities or suburbs. They now look elegant in their kimonos and their linen pants and their Central American or Afghani silver necklaces and colored embroidery.

The message here is: we are creative, we may be older but we are a bit edgy still; we are spiritually-oriented and openminded.

I like it all. I am charmed by it all. There are many worse things to believe in and to proclaim with one’s fashion choices, than the restorative powers of nature, or of spiritual growth.

Also, honestly, these are my people — this is my culture of origin. I am a native Californian, from the Haight-Ashbury, and the eccentric, slightly goofy hippie-ness, and even the fervent nature-veneration, of the people of this little town, is all, as Eliza Doolittle said in My Fair Lady, “mother’s milk to me.”

And yet — and yet. (That transition seems to be the theme transition of my essays about these times.)

The town is blue as blue can be, and Oregon is the bluest state, or among the bluest. I used to observe that fact with a sigh of relief. It meant that there would always be good urban growth boundaries (which there are), meaning that, outside of Portland, and on the outskirts of all of these lovely little valley towns, the hideous sprawl that defaces other suburbs and exurbs, cannot contaminate the pure green fields, the gentle wooded foothills. It means that most of the land in Oregon is in public hands. It means a sane — in my mind — environmental policy.

But the blueness, in the last few years, has also meant that insane and self-destructive policies are creeping in to impinge on and infiltrate daily life in this bucolic, blissful reality, in a hundred other ways. The changes in this regard, as everywhere — as in Salem, MA, where we also spend time, and as in Brooklyn, NY, as I have described — are piecemeal and incremental. This means that they are easy to slip under the radar, and not so visible to those who live here day by day. But they are very striking to me as an occasional visitor, especially since I am seeing versions of these policies in “lockstep”, being rolled out in blue cities and towns in state after state, around the country.

The State is bearing down gently, gently, but harder and harder, always.

I can’t go to the local synagogue. I still can’t. Why? Because this state was the most vaccination-tyrannical of all — along with Washington State and California — and to this day I can’t enter the building, being as I am, unvaccinated, to say Yahrzeit for my father. We know now that the state health authorities imposed these Draconian measures on “stakeholders” such as churches and synagogues at the local level — but in Oregon there was little to no resistance.

The highly-funded institutionalization of homelessness and drug addiction as a state-supported way of life, at the expense of local “housed” and non-addicted citizens, is marching along, in ways that are a bit shocking to me but probably not noticeable to local residents. When I visited in 2022, there was a homeless encampment outside of town, under an overpass, on a pleasant green meadow by the river. This was already an elaborate tent city, with sizable and complex tents erected, and food storage boxes visible, and laundry lines strung up between trees. It looked as if about 75 people lived there.

In 2023, I saw that the city was experimenting with miniature “tiny homes”, one- person-size each, in the parking lot of a church, to address the homelessness crisis. These little wooden “homes” were pretty and safer than sleeping outdoors, and seemed not uncomfortable. There was electricity and an outdoor portable toilet. That seemed like a good project to try.

But the result of these efforts, and more, seemed to be that more and more “unhoused” (“homeless” is no longer an acceptable term on the Left) people were flocking to this sweet little goodhearted town, from other cities — including cities outside of Oregon. Services were heavily funded: right off the main square, there is a walk-in addiction clinic. The town meetings are heavily focussed on adding more and more and more services for the homeless population, which, paradoxically, keeps growing, not shrinking, in the face of these efforts and benefits.

On this visit, I was startled to see that the tents were no longer at the edges of the city, and the homeless people were no longer living in the quarters set aside for them in the church parking lot. Rather, in a striking appropriation of public space, very big, eight-man, costly camping tents had been erected in the heart of the pretty central park, the historic park in the middle of the city that served children in a playground, and elders sitting on the benches for a bit of sun, and college students who used to play volleyball or join in the morning outdoor yoga classes.


Right under the finest old tree, a sycamore that spreads its branches over the choicest quadrant of the greensward, the massive camping tents had been erected, along with a set of subsidiary boxes, compartments and containers. These structures did not come down at night. They were there day after day. And beside the enclosed playground, two Port-a-Potties had also been erected — which served the homeless encampment as well as passers-by.

On Saturdays — which had been the peak day for use of everyone to enjoy the park — there was now a weekly “Really Free Store” in which an “anarchists’ group” distributed free clothing, cookware, jewelry, hats, scarves, books and other items. Of course, this attracted more and more homeless and drug- or alcohol-addicted people to the park and to the town.

The park used to have concerts all summer that had drawn the elders and children who lived all around the area. Middle-aged couples used to swing dance. Kids and toddlers would jump around to the music. The park used to be a place I loved to wander, along with my own elder relative, side by side, strolling in the dusky evening, admiring the roses that, in Oregon in June, range in fantastical hues —- from creamy white with golden centers; to pale-flame-colored yellow darkening-to-orange petals; to bubble-gum colored and lush; to deepest burgundy.

Now, we had gently let go of the park. I did not feel safe at dusk walking the pathway of roses that now included walking a gauntlet of intoxicated or addicted homeless people. It felt weird to be in the park now, even in daytime, as one felt as if one was in the backyard, uninvited, of whoever was living inside those massive, territorial tents. I saw that students and moms with babies had abandoned the half of the park where the homeless people and the huge tents were, and were avoiding the area where the free clothing giveaway was located, as that too had people drinking and harassing passers-by for money all day; so the other citizens of the town were now exercising and playing volleyball crowded together into one far corner of the park.

I understand that homelessness is a serious and sad issue. But the policies being imposed on this little town out of ‘kindness’, were cutting the heart out of civic life and enjoyment for everyone. The policies that led to this were deliberate. Policing directions had clearly changed. And the citizens who were not drug-addicted or homeless, were being devalued socially, and crowded out of what had been their public space too.

I went to a Kirtan — a concert for Hindu sacred music. It was held in a Unitarian Universalist church. It was a comfortable 1960s-era building among evergreens, with sloping roof angles and artsy vertical windows looking into the trees.

I was sort of familiar with the Unitarian Universalist movement — a movement emerging out of the Transcendentalism of the 19th century to rise above the divisions and archaisms of organized religion, and to create a nearly-secular, trans-sectarian “church.” “UUA” members believe in a “higher power” but no set religion or sacred text. They include all faiths, as well as atheists and agnostics.

I had loved the idea of this kind of religious assembly when I was growing up. How spiritual! How inclusive!

Yet when I looked at the Bulletin Board and community events, and checked the website for UUA, I was sad to see a wholly captured political entity. It was all there as if in a checklist — the Soros wish list. “Black Lives Matter.” “Transgender 101: Identity, Inclusion and Resources” — again, with an image showcasing a presumably “transgendered” child, who could not have legally consented to appear in that image in that context. There were paragraphs and paragraphs about why you should not say
”boys and girls” and about how fungible biological gender is. Added to the list: Pro-Palestine. Pro-illegal immigrants. “Climate Justice.”

I wondered what the money stream was, that had so re-positioned a formerly spiritually oriented, indeed transcendently-oriented, movement, right into the favorite channels identified by the Left, but also by the China/Globalist entities interested in dividing our country. Who were the “stakeholders” identified in the material? Why was it no longer about God? About brother and sisterhood? About pure ethics rather than specific partisan policies?



But why stop with the Soros list? Why not move on, if there are no boundaries, to grooming minors?

I was shocked to find that the Washington Post had covered the UUA’s “polyamory,” in 2013. Surely that was a marginal set of individuals, I thought, not Fellowship policy, and at that time the group was indeed described as marginal.

Well, 11 years later, polyamory was front and center in this “Spiritual assembly”.

This included florid grooming of minors by trusted adults:

On a full page of the UUA’s website, there is a detailed celebration of and formal programming about polyamory.

Indeed there is a “ministry” called “Parents as Sexuality Educators” and the curriculum involves parents teaching “Ethical Non-Monogamy.”

“Part of Parents As Sexuality Educators: Small Group Ministry

This session introduces relationships that are ethically non-monogamous or polyamorous. These terms refer to having consensual romantic relationships with more than one person at the same time. Participants will develop knowledge about polyamory and gain skills to discuss ethical non-monogamous relationships—their children’s or their own—from a perspective grounded in Unitarian Universalist faith. Parents and caregivers who are, themselves, ethically non-monogamous may gain new ways to support their children.

Polyamory may be a new topic for some participants. Facilitators should prepare for some pushback from parents/caregivers about the morality of non-monogamous choices or the prevalence of ethical non-monogamy in your community or society in general.”

The curriculum offered includes this stunning invitation for adults (having lit a candle or LED light together) to muse about the polyamorous sex life of a minor:

“Now, say you will share a reading from a blog post at the Scarleteen website in which a youth author describes their polyamorous relationships. Read the following excerpt:

Hi everybody! I’m seventeen, and I’m totally head over heels for two different people.

According to this society’s values, that’s a problem. Most people in a similar situation would be thinking about choosing between two options: this partner, or that partner–because if you’re not monogamous, you’re either cheating or you’re a slut. I’m here to tell you, It ain’t necessarily so!

I identify as polyamorous, meaning capable of and willing to have multiple romantic and sexual partners.

I met one of my romantic partners, who I’ll refer to as A for convenience, for the first time in person at a summer camp about a year ago (though we’d been talking on the internet for a few months already, and developed a tentative crush on each other.) […]

She’s actually the person I learned about polyamory from in the first place; she is, and since I fell for her I was naturally curious about that aspect of her life. So I talked to her about it a little, and did heaps of Google searches, and I decided that while I felt fine about her having other partners, I didn’t think I could sustain multiple romantic relationships (though as you can see, that changed pretty fast.)

My other current partner, referred to as D, is someone I’ve known for about five years now, […]After struggling with it for a while (I was also going through some major re-re-re-questioning of my sexual orientation at the time, which didn’t help) I decided that I would tell him–[…]

Both of my partners met a few months ago when A came to visit me. […] they ended up falling in love with each other as well, which I thought was totally cool (and kind of hilarious.) […] When all of us are together, we’re most often found in a giggling cuddle puddle on any comfortable horizontal surface, and the question “Who gets to be middle this time?” is often heard. The technical term in the poly world for three people all committed to each other is “triad”; we half-jokingly call ourselves “the hive”, short for hive mind.

Offer the group a moment to gather their responses to the reading. Then, invite participants to answer either of these two questions:

  • If this young person were your child, what might you celebrate for them?
  • If they were your child, what might be a worry you’d feel for them?”


‘“We jokingly call ourselves “the hive”, short for “hive mind.”’

This is sinister on so many different levels.

The Kirtan community in the Fellowship church, is not the same as the UUA community; they use the space.

But they too had their darkness with which to contend.

I went into the Kirtan and took my seat. About two hundred gentle, older hippies had assembled. Almost all of them were in faux-Buddhist or faux-Hindu clothing, which looked rather elegant, along with the grey hairstyles for the women and the silver beards for the men.

A group of four sacred music singers and musicians — all of them Caucasian, but trained in this Hindu music tradition, were onstage. The lead sitar player made a short announcement before the haunting melodies commenced. There was a moment of silence for two recent sudden deaths in the Kirtan community. An organizer would be Zooming in because she did not feel well. The sitar player himself had been struggling with ill health, having had two knee replacements recently, he shared. Later in the program, there was another moment of silence and a song dedication, for yet another sudden death.

This little town, so passionately committed to vaccine orthodoxy in 2021 and 2022, was reaping the bitter harvest in 2024. But no one speaks or spoke about why all these illnesses and deaths, might be.

The music began.

As the sacred strains ended two hours later and we filed, a group of ladies and I, chatting and giggling a bit, into the cool, sweet-smelling near-coastal, Western night — amid the scents of my childhood; evergreen and wet azaleas in the darkness; moss underfoot; tangled nasturtiums heedlessly breathing their little troves of honey into the night — I thought: it’s home, but it’s not home.

It’s America but it’s not America.

The demons are among the kindhearted living, and the children are not safe.

I thought,

I miss my home.

The post “Blue State Blues: Update from Wokeville, OR” appeared first on DailyClout.

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