Sunday, January 14, 2007

When Liberal Worlds Collide...Welocme to Oregon, Part II

Major Mike

Icons have become a staple of our lives. We move them about on our “desktops” with impunity. They help us master our electronic, computer filled world. We routinely use icons in place of dozens of words, or to convey nuanced meanings that icons can capture effortlessly. Our institutions become icons representing our collective societal persona.

Oregon is no different. University of Oregon is well known for its liberal thought, and is in direct competition with Cal to see which institution can consume more tin foil than the other. U of O hasn’t met a liberal cause it couldn’t embrace…nuclear free zones, global warming, anti-war protesting, are all staples for intramural activities for the Duck student body. It is an iconic representation of the rest of Oregon.

There are others. OMSI, the Oregon Museum for Science and Industry, is appropriately a showpiece for Oregon. They are often innovative in their exhibiting, and they strive to keep the museum alive and lively. They aim for progressive exhibiting, and they get it. Other museums might cringe at the thought of putting on some of the exhibits that OMSI does, but the “Grossology” and Star Wars exhibits were huge local favorites. It stands as an icon for Portland and Oregon.

Oregon Health and Sciences University is also on the list. It serves its function as the main training center for medical professionals in the State of Oregon, but it prides itself in its innovative treatments and its high profile in the paper and in the community. It serves Oregon well, and it also serves itself well. But it is one of the institutional icons that both represents Oregon, and is representative of Oregon.

And that brings us to the Oregon Zoo. Again, aside from the usual, liberal nature of zoos in and of themselves as conservation and interpretive activities, the Oregon Zoo also finds time to hold a unique summer concert series that captures the likes of the Indigo Girls, Hapa, and Shawn Colvin. The Oregon Zoo is an idyllic setting that could turn the coldest from the right into vegemite munching, organic sprout growing, pan flute playing lefties. It is, again, a cultural representation of the blueness of the state, and unashamedly so. And no one minds.

Which is why it came as a great shock to me to read yesterday that In Defense of Animals, the same foil wearing space travelers that forced Schumacher Furs out of downtown Portland (see “I Just Want To Negotiate”), is now gearing up to take on the Oregon Zoo. What Leftie v. Leftie Icon? Pass the popcorn.

And for irony, it is all over the foot care of pachyderms. That’s right. The left in Oregon is about to square off over, get this…the pedicurical practices of the zoo staff , on the preeminent icon of the right…the elephant. More butter, more salt, please.

This highlights two things about leftie thinking.

First they attack in all directions, all the time, which means, they will never be satisfied with sticking to the main themes of their particular agendas. In this case, IDA is attacking a beloved icon of the city that tacitly supported their out-of -bounds efforts against Schumacher Furs. After chasing the dastardly fur seller out of town, IDA turned right around and snapped at the hand of their feeders…liberal animal lovers…a group in Oregon that loves the zoo. Ouch that has to hurt.

Don’t get near the nasty liberals when they are feeding. I hope the City of Portland will arrange some hasty “negotiations” so that the pachyderm herd can start leasing property in the burbs next to Schumacher Furs.

These types of cannibalistic attacks eventually erode support and cause deep fissures in the promulgation of the leftie agenda. I am not weeping, it just comes as a shock that a group that succeeded in one of their endeavors with the help of the Portland Protesters Local 101, would turn around and attack such a highly regarded, local institution. It shows all the political astuteness of a Teddy Kennedy presidential campaign.

Secondly, liberal “watchdogs” consistently fail to get the point that Zoos, governments, police forces, fire departments, the military, etc. and, are all populated with human beings. Human beings, as in the case of the Oregon Zoo, who have the same love of animals as the IDA, but have the same shortcomings of all people and organizations…they make mistakes, and they are imperfect.

Any single human with the best intentions will make mistakes and often fall short of set goals. Such it is with our institutions. Because all organizations are populated with imperfect humans, imperfect results will follow. I think a fair examination of the Zoo’s records will reflect that they are aware of all of the problems that IDA highlights, and are doing their best to treat the symptoms and alleviate the conditions that caused the great pachyderm podiatry uproar of 2007.

The uber-left will begin eroding support for their causes, and indeed cause an unwelcome backlash, if they cannot come to understand that the constant attacking of the well-intentioned does not add to their support…it only diminishes their base, and splinters their efforts. People tire of being lectured to by professional protesters who bear no responsibilities, and produce no tangible product. Why not volunteer for nail trimming duty, rather than pouring over piles of elephant footie records? That would be helpful. The continual harping of responsibility-free protesters wears thin on those who actually produce results through labor and direct action.

When the left starts feeding on themselves, they fracture far more deeply than the right, and they have a hard time stabilizing back to center-left. Dean, 2004?

It will certainly be entertaining watching the cosmic results of the impact of two liberal super-novas. Perhaps the Hubble Telescope could be re-directed in order to help us catch some masterpiece photos resulting from the impact between California based furry animal lovers, and tofu eating, organic fruits and vegetable growing, mineral water drinking, latte sipping, music loving, hemp wearing Oregonians. More salt please.

Welcome to Oregon.


Anonymous said...

Well said.

A few thoughts: Animal rights groups have been attacking zoos for more than a couple of years, so I don't think zoos are feeling too warm and fuzzy about them right about now. Sure, there may be some common ground, but no one likes "friends" who kick him or her in the teeth at every turn.

Not to worry about your zoo (or your elephants), most people can see through this calculated effort to hurt the zoo. Portland has a very nice community zoo and it's clear that the staff care deeply about the animals in their care.

This latest PR campaign launched against the zoo is identical to the one that animal rights groups launched in the late 1990s. Back then it was a well-conceived attack on aquariums and marine parks--but only those parks that featured dolphins and killer whales. The animal rights groups lost that war... however, they made A LOT of money, and received A LOT of media attention (which translated into A LOT of new members).

Some reporters see through these obvious PR campaigns and steer clear because they don't like being used. Others are happy to be the mouthpiece of the animal rights groups. But why would some media allow themselves to be used? Because some love nothing more than a good brawl. What the animal rights groups say doesn't have to be true; it just has to be said with conviction. Some media, in their zeal to be first, will print/broadcast anything if it sizzles. Again, it doesn't have to be true.

So now animal rights activists are turning their attention to their new cash cow: elephants (every one loves Dumbo, right?)

I believe that Portlanders are smart and will see right through this. Oregonians don't like bullying and one of their favorite icons is being punched in the mouth and is bleeding.

Portlanders know this is much more about the almighty dollar than pachyderm podiatry.

rich said...

Hopefully the elephants at the Oregon Zoo will not share the fate of the two that used to call Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo home. The animal "rights" nuts have been wanting the elephants out of the zoo for years. The arguement for not having elephants at LPZ was that the zoo didn't have enough room for them. Never mind that there had been elephants there the whole time there has been a zoo there. They had only two elephants left until recently when one died (most likely due to old age) but of course the nuts couldn't accept that. So the pressure was on the zoo to remove the remaining one (no one remembered that there was enough room with only one elephant) now it was cruel to only have the one. It was a top story for weeks in the local media. So the zoo relents and tries to ship the poor creature out at night (they didn't tell anybody to keep the press away)also it is was the middle of the winter. The elephant died in the truck before it had even gotten out of the suburbs.
So now the Lincoln Park Zoo will never have elephants again (unless we can put this PC nonsense out to pasture). Now Chicago school kids will not see a real elephant in Chicago (the nuts are at work trying to shut down the annual Ringing Bros. Circus). (Thankfully Brookfield Zoo in the western suburbs still has elephants, but chicago schools don't go there).