It’s hard to disagree with a newspaper editorial when it’s generally positive to your viewpoint, but I have to register a respectful dissent to the Bend Bulletin’s editorial this past week opposing our group’s effort to put the proposal for Tom McCall Day on the ballot. They agree that McCall was an influential Oregonian and very well may deserve a day in his honor, but this isn’t the way to do it, because the ballot “provide(s) a place for Oregonians to decide important questions about life in Oregon. It’s where voters have rejected moves to restrict abortions and approved others to raise income taxes, for example. Adding a memorial petition to the mix ignores the seriousness of the whole process.” To the contrary, I would declare that raising awareness of the need for and value of civic engagement is the bedrock on which our democracy is built. Tom McCall was an eloquent and visionary leader, but if this was all about memorializing him and Oregon’s past, then I wouldn’t be putting the time in energy into it than I am. Tom had a memorable way with words, and a statement he made near the end of his life in an interview with Studs Terkel sums up what our effort is all about. He said, “Heroes are not giant statues framed against a red sky. They are people who say ‘This is my community, and it’s my responsibility to make it better.’” Encouraging more Oregonians to make that declaration is indeed worthy of a line on next November’s ballot.--Bill Hall
The Tom McCall Legacy Project
— Saying thanks to Tom McCall by paying it forward to Oregon.
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