PRESIDENT'S POLICIES ARE LOPSIDED TO WAR
War, war, war, war, forest-thinning, war, war, war, war, war.
Sound like a familiar refrain coming out of the White House in recent weeks?
What about the economy? The Dow dropped below 8,000 for the first time in months last week, and economic figures, from new construction to unemployment, show stagnation and no growth. Yet President Bush is quietly mum about the issue that sank his father's re-election bid in 1992.
What about education? Oregon isn't the only state in a bind when it comes to funding K-12 programs. The poor economy has dried up the tax revenue that states have used to fund not just public education but higher education as well. Yet the president is strangely silent on how his administration will improve funding, a stated campaign goal two years ago.
What about drug policy? A recent study says that most drug offenders in state prisons are black males with no history of violence or high-level drug dealing. Where has the administration been on the issue of treatment? Why hasn't the administration pushed to get these nonviolent offenders off drugs so they can be productive members of society and out of taxpayer-funded incarceration.
The point is that nine-tenths of the news we're getting out of Washington, D.C., right now is about the impending war against Iraq. Terrorism has even taken a backseat to war rhetoric, with little discussion about homeland security beyond the government's color-coordinated alert system and whether we knew something was going to happen before Sept. 11, 2001.
The president may be preoccupied with the much-needed ouster of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, but the nation goes about its daily business, and a dose of different news would be welcome. Granted, we give Bush credit for $752 million in drought relief announced last week. And his administration is working on speeding up the process of thinning forests to reduce the risk of wildfire.
But these stories are getting buried in the daily threats of action against Iraq. Please, Mr. President, if you're going to act, do it soon, before we lose interest and move on without you.
ONE CAN CAN HELP
Tuesday's benefit show for the Elgin Food Bank at the Elgin Opera House is as fine a tribute to Clyde Meehan as anyone could do. Meehan's work over the past 2 years kept the food bank alive and serving more than 100 families a month. With local music and entertainment on stage, you can't find a cheaper or more rewarding way to spend a weekday evening.