To the Editor:

On a recent visit to John Day I absorbed much of the political anxiety that surrounds Eastern Oregon. There have been decades of census declines, combined with terrible economic inequality. The people are upset. I can’t blame them! While I’ll cast aspersions across the state, Eastern Oregon’s elected representatives deserve special blame. Instead of fighting for economic development, they keep nursing cultural grievances. Instead of fighting for economic progress, they wage the same failed wars, knowing their legislation will face imminent death in Salem.

I would also like to point out that you are a wonderful source of tourism. Portlanders flock to Grant County because the people are kind, and the area is geographically next to heaven. I honestly do not think most Portlanders harbor ill sentiments toward Eastern Oregon. Sure, you will get your occasional smarmy liberal. I deplore such individuals, but they are a tiny minority.

Some visitors might see the proliferation of anti-Kate Brown, Greater Idaho, Socialism signs and might wonder if they are welcome in John Day. I wish we flawed human beings weren’t so tribal, but we all pick teams. Many Portland area residents are disappointed by some of Kate Brown's exasperating decisions. But the vast majority of my neighbors voted for Kate Brown. Will they feel unwelcome in John Day? As long as tourists are respectful and do not resort to cultural condescension, I do not see the harm in taking as much of Portland's money as possible.

While I do not have the data on how often Eastern Oregon residents visit Portland, I would value their economic contributions. If I noticed an armada of Pro-Biden and Brown signs in or around a popular tourist district, I would ask that they be taken down. I always remember what Michael Jordan said about staying out of politics: "Republicans buy sneakers too!" Jordan didn't see the business sense of alienating 50% of the population. As someone with an eye towards revenue, I agree with his sentiments.

Brian Fitzgerald

Happy Valley

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