Tuesday, January 10, 2012

January 10th - Where's Walden? (Occupy the CD2)

I’m sure those of us involved in our district will remember an event which occurred just over a month ago. In Medford and Bend patriots gathered together to demand an audience with their district’s representative, Congressional District 2’s Representative Greg Walden. If you remember seeing it in the paper, watching it on the news, or hearing about it from your local community activist groups, then I’m certain you’ll remember 14 people being arrested for this request for representation.

Starting at 11:00 AM on a brisk fall morning in multiple municipalities from around District 2, hundreds gathered demanding their representative do his job. By holding electronic town halls or town halls accessible to the public, Mr. Walden has been catering to wealthy business people throughout his district.

Not all is serious however. Mr. Walden has graciously provided us with comedic relief with his response to this event. Through an aide Mr. Walden spoke to his constituents, calmly reminding them like a parent reminds a child, “But I am holding town hall meetings. Silly protestors, I’m holding 2 not more than 2 weeks from now in Fossil and Rufus! Why are you inconveniencing my staff when I’m so clearly doing what you ask?”

Well Mr. Walden, I live in Medford. I fought Wildfire’s in the Fossil area this past summer and had the pleasure of passing through Fossil. It took me 15 seconds. Did you know Fossil has a population less than 500? I’m sure you did, and while I’m sure the people of Fossil appreciate your visit, I begin to wonder when the last time I saw you in Medford happened to be. Hmmm, I just can’t seem to recall.

So, after a long 7 hours in the conference room and rallying outside Mr. Walden’s office, the police showed up to arrest and escort 14 individuals from Bend and Medford’s  District 2 offices. In Bend, 8 patriots were arrested. In Medford, 6 patriots were arrested, henceforth known as the Medford 6 or The Desperados by their admirers.
It’s now one month later and the Medford 6 are in court. Their original fines have been reduced to $150.00 from $1000 ($2000 in Allen Hallmark’s case) under a no contest arrangement. They are not allowed to speak to the court about their plight, nor are their supporters allowed in the courtroom. No response has been received from Walden and Walden never bothered to drop the charges.

Later in the day, an event spearheaded by Deb and Pete Herzogh under the banner of Occupy Medford and Citizens for Peace and Justice is held at Roscoe's BBQ in Phoenix, Oregon to raise funds to pay these immoral fines. There’s a beer in every hand and food in every belly as the Rogue Suspects begin to play tunes which speak to the Medford 6 and their supporters. By the end of the night roughly $1400 dollars is donated by Rogue Valley residents to pay for these and future fines forced on us by an unrepresentative.

Truly appalling are the actions of our representatives when hundreds rally to request an audience with barely a consideration from the targeted representative. It baffles me how I’m told in grade school to admire and respect my elected leaders. They are the greatest men and women in this world and we as a people have always had a fair and balanced system within which we can feel free, respected, and happy. Yet, at 22 I am already disillusioned with this teaching. I’ve seen time and time again the bipartisan system eat itself like an infinite snake, going round and round in their pointless discussions while the rest of the country they’ve disconnected themselves from sinks into disparity. Thankfully I am comforted by knowing I have fellow citizens who are willing to sacrifice for others.

Deborah Rothschild, when asked if she thought Walden had heard the message replied with the following: “I think we got Walden's staff's attention, but I am not sure that they heard our message. They are sitting pretty right now representing special interests and the wealthy and ignoring the people in his district. They know it will take a lot more than what we did to wake up the many Walden's supporters who vote for him just because he is a Republican.”

Medford 6-er Allen Hallmark was asked if he was happy with the results and responded, “Yes, very happy, but am I satisfied – NO!  We won’t be satisfied until the system of electing our federal representatives is changed to get big money out of the process.  That means we need a constitutional amendment to overturn the Citizens United vs. Federal Elections Commission Supreme Court case and making it legal to pass real campaign finance reform laws.  While we’re at it, we need to repeal the amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that allows the military to arrest anyone they deem to be a “terrorist” and hold them indefinitely without trial.  This takes away many of the rights granted by the 4th, 5th, and 6th amendments.”

All-in-all it was a success in regards to morale, motivation, and self-actualization. Those of us arrested and those of us admiring from the sidelines can all take something from this event. I have a newfound respect for my elder’s as they have sacrificed their time, effort, and police record to garner the attention of an unrepresentative. I have a newfound respect for my fellow Occupiers as we have grown through this experience. However, I still seek a newfound respect for those not willing to hold their fists to the sky in solidarity with their compatriots. I hope to see those of you who haven’t marched yet out in the streets stomping your feet and shouting, “We are the 99% and this is what democracy looks like, yet I can’t seem to find Walden…”


  1. Excellent. Thank you! Solidarity from Klamath Falls Oregon. I hope to see you next Friday for J20, the anniversary of Citizens United. - Jennifer Turner