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Havana, Oregon

By Art Hyland

Step into a local city hall meeting in what looks like an ordinary Oregon city, and you might witness anti-America on parade.

Our own Bruce Harmon who works behind the scenes for this magazine, lives in one of the many  Oregon cities prefaced by “The People’s Republic of…,” and in this case, Corvallis, Oregon, a hamlet near Salem.  Like many conservatives, Bruce works for a living.  Which means he just doesn’t have the time to spend observing local government as much as he now might.  Business called him to attend a Corvallis city council meeting recently, which turned out a bit differently than what he expected.  He explains in what was a relatively rare letter he wrote to the editor of the local paper:

“As I attended my first Corvallis City Council meeting April 2 to submit written and oral testimony on an issue, I observed disturbing behavior by a councilman. When my turn came, I ceded the time for my issue to point out inappropriate behavior by Councilman Mike Beilstein (Ward 5). During the routine Pledge of Allegiance at the meeting’s start, Councilman Beilstein turned his back to the American flag and refused to recite the pledge. Further, I noticed that taped to the back of his city-owned laptop a flag of the communist country, Cuba, is displayed in full view of the audience attending the council meeting.

Under the first amendment of the Constitution one has the right to free expression, however it is in my opinion grossly inappropriate for an elected official to reject the United States in this symbolic manner.

As I expected, I found that in his oath of office, he swore to uphold the Constitutions of the United States and Oregon as well as the City Charter of the City of Corvallis. Is this the proper way to uphold the constitution and represent Corvallis citizens as an elected official?

As a military veteran, I was offended by his behavior and called him on it. I later was informed that he does this at every council meeting. I wonder if his constituents in Ward 5 know that he behaves like this?”

What Mr. Harmon witnessed in this ordinary Oregon town is what this country has been experiencing for at least two generations:  activist liberals have quietly penetrated every level of American government to where actions by a common councilman that might have elicited fierce opposition in decades past go unnoticed.  They’re pleasantly “tolerated” in a society that has become so lacking in standards that the extraordinary doesn’t exist; we “celebrate our differences” to where history, facts, opinions, and ignorance  are mixed together in one big recycled, artesian water bottle, distributed and fed for decades to students who are now grownups elected to city councils and the White House.

His letter elicited many responses which reflect the growing “discord” between the Left and the Right in this country.  The mainstream media has made quite a point in the last three years highlighting this “discord” by tying it to the rise of the Tea Party, or to “right-wing” Republicans who, in their judgment, have brought arguments and brash opposition into the national debate, but haven’t contributed to what this same media thinks should be a “national conversation.”

What really is happening is a re-awakening  of conservative, traditional citizens to the political sea change that has altered the landscape of American society.  A city councilman purposely turning his back on the American flag is but a symbol of the sickness that has penetrated the highest levels of our government:  witness President Obama’s worship of virtually every socialist leaning government and/or their leaders while consistently declaring the United States has a long history of oppression of the poor and disadvantaged.  Capitalism has become a four letter word in a White House where experts, czars and bureaucrats know everything there is to know about, well, everything.  No need to remember that America’s historic embrace of free markets and relatively limited government produced the greatest expansion of wealth for more of the world’s population than ever before in history.

But for liberals, old history is history:  progressive thought leads the enlightened to a new world of “working men and women,” all of whom must earn “family-wage jobs’ in a society of “fairness and equality,” all in a centrally directed effort to “redistribute the wealth” to the “99%” by enacting laws like the “Affordable Care Act” the contents of which couldn’t be explained until it was “passed so we can see what’s in it.”  Progressives like Corvallis’ city councilman require that you believe in their good intentions and their even better judgment.

But Corvallis isn’t the only place where the Pledge is being questioned by a city council.  On the other side of the country Falmouth, MA on Cape Cod recently was a temporary center of attention when a vice-chairwoman, substituting as chair, unilaterally decided not to even call for the Pledge of Allegiance, a normal routine at the beginning of every selectmen meeting.  “I’d rather not, tonight,” she declared, when queried by another member, and then dove right into the first agenda item.  An article in the Cape Cod Times cited overwhelming condemnation of her decision, several calling for her resignation.

Just last year, the mayor of another liberal Oregon city, Eugene, commented that reciting the Pledge was “divisive,” and the city council there decided to recite it only on special occasions, rather than for each council meeting.  It’s so much more civil this way.  They may turn their backs on the American flag and spurn the Pledge of Allegiance, but don’t misunderstand their patriotism and willingness to do what’s right for the American people:  Viva Castro.  Viva la Revolutione!

It is hoped that in ten years or less, starting this November, the America America has become in its city halls, schools, agencies and other bureaucratic institutions will have cleansed itself of the viruses of liberalism, progressivism, communism, socialism and whatever else one calls or disguises it, so that government returns to its basic functions and to its proper financial size in order to allow free men and women the chance to pursue the happiness expressed by our founding fathers, and guaranteed by the deaths of so many thousands of soldiers and citizens.

Long live the Tea Party and all it stood and stands for.

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