MY VOICE: Where do we live and why?

June 18, 2014 09:54 am

I saw the picture of a driveway and the headlines about someone shooting cows — the picture suggested the cows were in the driveway. I read about a sheriff’s investigation: cut fence — bicyclists or hikers — lost cattle that couldn’t be found, a man devoted to returning land to its natural state, the property of cattlemen trying to make a go of a living lost to feedlots. 

It’s all quite sad. Circumstances led to a violent outburst unseen here since the shootings and loss of life in a Troy setting a couple years ago. 

The only difference? Cows in La Grande, human life in Troy. The violence and its base are the same — people and cattle. A difference of values, the actions the same. 

What year is it? Where do we live, and why? How do we treat each other? What empathy do we have for one another? Do we believe in the same good/God?

A child hangs himself because he’s different and is not given or shown a way to be one with the community. Community leaders are hounded out of office because they are not one with the community. A business is closed from lack of support. Elected representatives make unkind statements; unelected officials make unkind demands in the name of community need. Politicians declare left or right in the name of change. Education is hostage to the economy. Economic development is a “Game of Thrones.” Parades march out of town. Big box stores push small business aside.

The Grande Ronde Valley lives in a vacuum. The air of life is being sucked from it because people can not really support one another. They just support each other of like mind. A man’s house is blighted by a business. Drivers don’t stop for pedestrians. Local voices are declared eccentric. The sheriff struggles with political conveyances. The police need a station. The swimming pool needs stable support. The humane society needs direction.

I am appalled that a healer has become violent, but his action is just the beginning of an end to the rural lifestyle sought after by so many here. Wake up. What year is it? Where do we live, and why? How do we treat each other? What empathy do we have for one another? Do we all believe in the same good/God?

I think not and I am sad.

About the author

Richard McDonald, 69, of La Grande is a state park ranger and hypnotherapist.

My Voice columns should be 500 to 700 words. Submissions should include a portrait-type photograph of the author. Authors also should include their full name, age, occupation and relevant organizational memberships. 

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