Ex-Gov. Kitzhaber defends rural Oregon, criticizes virus mandate

By Taxpayers Association of Oregon


Former physician and Oregon Governor (D), John Kitzhaber made a unique appeal in a guest submission in the Sunday Oregonian.

Kitzhaber describes his former home town in Douglas County like an economic war zone and notes the failure of people following the state’s Covid mandates.  He states “Mandating anything into this environment threatens one of the few things over which they feel they still have some control – their sense of freedom”  and lightly says Oregon should have tried something else.

Please read these Kitzhaber excerpts;

“…hospital overloaded and two to three people were dying from COVID each day – mostly young and almost all unvaccinated. Adding to this medical tragedy, was the hate and discontent they saw permeating this once tightly knit community. There were demonstrations protesting vaccine and mask mandates and angry confrontations at school board meetings. While it is easy to blame the pandemic for this division, the problem runs much deeper—rooted, at least in part, in the long-term economic challenges faced by many rural communities, and in a sense of isolation from the distant political power centers to the north. Economic struggle and isolation have been the daily experience of many people in rural Oregon, and they preceded the pandemic by many years. Add to this the intersection of state mandates with people who do not react well when told what to do by outsiders—and you have the formula for anger, frustration and division…”

“In the grocery store, I saw stressed and overworked clerks, struggling to be upbeat and welcoming to their customers. I encountered people without masks, many of whom looked haggard, weary, worn down by life—concerned with how they were going get through the month, pay the rent and feed their families. People just trying to get by, just trying to survive.”

“Mandating anything into this environment threatens one of the few things over which they feel they still have some control – their sense of freedom. And when their sense of freedom is threatened, it overpowers their sense of community—especially when they have little economic security or hope that things will change. It is tragically dividing communities that are already struggling. We might have avoided some of this with a different approach…”

Please comment on your thoughts on Kitzhaber’s essay:

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