Mitch Small – Midterm IV

Downtown Eugene is one of the most economically active neighborhoods in Eugene and is filled with many opinionated voters.

Upcoming elections bring divisions to the forefront
Downtown community members weigh in on their most important issues
By Mitch Small

The United States is in turmoil. Divisive issue after divisive issue has stacked up in the public dialogue and the divisions strike deep, even on the local level.

With elections rapidly approaching, the debates finished and the two candidates in a dead heat at the polls, this is proving to be an intense period for public opinion. Neighborhood News interviewed voting members of the downtown Eugene community to see what they thought of the current race.

The Owner of Poppi’s Hotdogs, Darrell Olson, thought the biggest problem was the lack of issues addressed. “I think [the candidates] are dancing circles around each other and telling you what they want to hear,” he said, going on to cite Obama’s healthcare policy as a fault in his platform. “I don’t really like Obama’s plan of forcing American’s to carry healthcare or be fined as a result because a lot of the reason why a majority of Americans don’t have it is because of financial reasons.”

He saw the Oregon elections as an equally dire situation. “I don’t really care who we vote for, whether it’s Republicans, Democrats, or Independents or Pacific Greens, it’s about who’s willing to do what the big dogs say… That’s the problem, we have huge corporations with billions of dollars putting money in the pockets of the politicians.”

Jamie Goulding, a sales associate at Passionflower Designs, weighed in on other issues dodged by candidates. “I would say an issue they aren’t addressing enough is education and the sciences,” she said, pointing out a less hotly-debated, but in her mind, as important issue. She also listed foreign policy and national debt as important issues that were not being discussed thoroughly enough.

For local issues, Goulding’s outlook was similarly bleak. “I think downtown has kind of been plummeting the last few years,” she said, going on to underscore the need for economic stimulus on a local level.

Jim Wilson, a local resident, had a very different perspective on things. He cited consensus among candidates as the only way out of our current crises. “Unless [the candidates] get it together nothing is going to happen… you go down with the ship,” he said. “It’s not that difficult to come out of this mess, you do X, Y, Z. It’s all common sense.”

As for local politics, Wilson voiced discontent for the treatment of homeless in Eugene. “You can look at the homeless here, they feed them every freaking meal,” he said. “Who the hell is going to come downtown you have people scaring people? It’s crazy.”

Wilson didn’t believe that the current issues facing Eugene and America at large were without historical precedent. He voiced his interpretation of history to support his viewpoint and said, “After WWII, everyone else’s infrastructure was destroyed. Europe was in pieces, and we were top dog. Now the other countries have come up. Now it’s a new game…. Now we’re just mediocre at best.”

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