In defense of Senator Ginny Burdick

WatchdogIn defense of Senator Ginny Burdick
By Jason Williams
Taxpayer Association of Oregon

Civility in politics is a very personal issue for me and represents the very first topic I ever wrote about for Oregon Catalyst seven years ago. I feel deeply disturbed at how uncivil politics has become and how sometimes harassment has become accepted as political tool. It applies to both sides. You see, when Democrats interrupted President Bush during his state of the union address I got mad. When a Republican Congressman interrupted Barack Obama during his State of the Union I got mad as well, but my fellow fiscal conservatives defended him with every excuse imaginable.

This week, when I heard that someone videotaped State Senator Ginny Burdick outside her own home I felt creeped out. Simply put, if this were to happen to a conservative Senator like Betsy Close — I would be incensed. Videotaping at public events is fine, but one’s private home is off limits and all lawmakers deserve a basic personal safety zone of protection. It is consistent with my civil libertarian beliefs. I also believe that becoming a lawmaker is not the same as signing up for 24-hour on duty military service — if it is, then we can expect fewer middle class ordinary folks to run and expect more rich lawyers who live in gated communities to run.

I know that the people were sincerely trying to prove a political point, but I caution against their tactics.

Fiscal conservatives, Second Amendment Supporters & Republicans cannot say they are the movement of personal safety and privacy while living out the opposite.

Post Script: This website has chronicled Republican lawmakers being hounded by trackers.   The story is much worse.  Several Oregon lawmakers have been videotaped at private places at all hours.  One woman lawmaker was videotaped inside of shopping center.   Another Republican lawmaker spoke on how a private meeting of volunteers was interrupted when a tracker invaded the premise and began taking picture of of everyone’s license plates.   This takes it to a new extreme level of harassing not just a candidate but ordinary people volunteering to help their candidate of choice.

Here is the challenge:  Several Oregon newspapers have already made their voices heard on the Ginny Burdick videotaping incident.  Now will these same newspapers hold both liberal and conservative, Republicans and Democrats to the same standard? Will the media enforce their values equally when this issue comes up again now that they are on record?