Republican state senators in Oregon have plenty of spine when it comes to resisting proposed legislation on spurious climate change claims; state police are currently trying to round up defiant GOP senators who fled the capitol rather than vote and provide a quorum on the far-reaching bill. But these same elephant profiles in courage folded like a cheap suit when the state House and Senate passed a recent hate crimes bill.
The new bill officially makes hate crimes a felony in the state while at the same time ensuring that the “problem” will become more magnified through dodgy accounting practices. The law will mandate that police document all reported incidents, even if they don’t lead to an arrest. Recording even minor incidents with little credibility will inflate statistics, then leading state officials to conclude that the “science is settled” and Oregon does indeed have a serious hate-crime crisis.
The House measure passed on June 19 by a 59-0 count, with one abstention, after the Senate had passed its version one week earlier by a 26-0 vote, with three abstentions. Quite simply, Republicans offered no opposition at all.
In 2017, almost half of the 149 reported crimes in Oregon against race, religion, disability, or sexual orientation came from one place. Eugene is a college town, home to the University of Oregon, and widely considered to be one of the more liberal communities in the state. As such, it is quite “woke” on the need to be constantly on the lookout for hate. “The number of protected classes as covered by Oregon is greater than the federal, and then the City of Eugene is actually greater than the Oregon definition of protected classes,” Lt. David Natt of the Eugene Police Department explained to Oregon NPR. “I think the City of Eugene has more than a dozen: sexual orientation, income, housing status, ethnicity, national origin, I mean … all the things that you can think of that’d potentially be a protected class.”
Of course, something else happened to account for the spike in hate crime reports coming out of Eugene. The city reported only 46 such incidents in 2016, but that number climbed by 52% when President Trump entered the White House. Advocates of hate crimes legislation in Oregon see the correlation, even as they completely fail to grasp that it involves nothing more than their own political bias rather than any real increased criminal threat.
“I have never seen [white supremacists and Nazis] so emboldened,” Randy Blazak, a University of Oregon criminology professor “who studies white nationalist groups,” told BuzzFeed News in March 2017. “They feel there is something of a green light” to come out into the open, the professor declared about the effect of Trump being elected. BuzzFeed examined 44 alleged hate incidents reported in Oregon between the presidential election and March 3, 2017, and, after dismissing duplicate reports and the like, were able to follow up on 18. Of those, “none involved a criminal act more serious than graffiti.”
State Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, who created a special task force on hate crimes in 2018 and was a leading catalyst for the new law, has sued the Trump administration 16 times so far. The lawsuits involve matters ranging from abortion rights to federal funding of cities that provide sanctuary for illegal aliens, to challenging the religious rights of employers on providing contraception to employees in health care plans.
Rosenblum clearly sees Trump and his supporters as a threat to the people of Oregon. When she was sworn in for a second term as DA in 2017, she starkly warned that “all of us, as Oregonians, have certain beliefs, values and practices that we take for granted. They define who we are as a people and who we are as a state. The rhetoric of the recent election suggests some of those values may come under attack.”
As with a similar Seattle law in neighboring Washington State, the new Oregon hate crime bill will surely become a self-fulfilling proposition. The documentation of all reports of incidents of hate, even those with no merit at all, will ratchet up the pressure on police departments to make more arrests, and for prosecutors to get more hate convictions. This is bound to directly imperil the civil liberties of anyone in the state who holds a controversial political or social opinion.
Oregon’s GOP senators are able to act tough and resolute when shady climate change legislation that affects their corporate donors comes down the pike. But when equally phony efforts to infringe upon the most basic rights of citizens are at stake, they give in without a word, lest they be deemed “bigoted,” the worst thing you can say about a politician in PC America today.
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