What We Believe
We inherit the good that flowed from the people who came before us and the societies they created and will continue building on that foundation. The decisions we make today will dictate the quality of our lives together and those of generations to come – we will create the future for ourselves and our children
For generations of Americans, the American dream stood for opportunity. The dream was rooted in the belief that, in a peaceful and democratic society, citizens were free to pursue their goals, and honest effort would result in a satisfactory degree of material comfort. The idealistic notion that in America one might reasonably aspire to a better life for oneself and one’s family was a powerful symbol. It spoke not merely to personal aspirations but to our aim as a society as well.
Oregon has a proud tradition of community, of helping one another, and of understanding that “we all do better when we all do better.” But in the last 30 years, a damaging ideology has gained increasing power nationally that has profoundly affected Oregon. This ideology preaches that “you’re on your own,” and that we are better off when competing amongst ourselves for our individual lot in life. It also says that the markets can solve all problems and government can solve none. We can see its impact today: our land, water, and air are damaged, our commonwealth of schools, roads, bridges and parks have suffered, we spend much less time with our loved ones, and struggle to earn a decent standard of living.
We reject this ideology. It has failed to make our lives better. Indeed, it has strained our families, divided our state, and created needless suffering throughout our state. The future on this path promises further isolation, deprivation and pain.
This is the Oregon We Want To Live In
An Oregon Where We Are All In This Together
We recognize that we do not live in isolation. We are an interconnected and interdependent people. We rise together or fall together as a state, not as individuals. We believe community is vital to rebuilding and revitalizing our state. Our problems are experienced together. So must our solutions be created together.
An Oregon Where We Make Decisions Now to Improve the Lives of Our Children’s Children
We believe our natural resources and social values are the permanent residents of our state because they will live beyond any of us and determine the quality of life for future Oregonians. This Commons is the vast wealth of natural and human achievement that we inherit together and have an obligation to pass on, undiminished, to future generations.
The Commons bounty is found in nature, culture and society. The natural commons includes air, water, land, and biodiversity. These are all gifts we collectively inherit from creation. The cultural commons is the heritage of knowledge such as medicine, law, art, science, language, philosophy, and mathematics. The societal commons is a rich mosaic, from libraries to the Internet, from Social Security to public education. This is the Commons we are responsible for and share with our ourselves, our ancestors, and our descendants.
A Healthy Environment
We want an Oregon whose ecological footprint is in step with Earth’s capacity, so that we are living in balance with what the natural world has to offer and we protect the resource base for future generations.
We strive for an Oregon that works for all; a world in which everyone has the opportunity to achieve a high quality of life; with safe working conditions and just compensation; a world where no one is denied access to basic needs such as food, clothing, shelter, health care, education, safety; a world where citizen influence over government policies is elevated over moneyed influence.
We want to develop in Oregon strong, tightly woven, participatory communities; more direct relationships between local producers and consumers; livable, walkable neighborhoods connected via accessible and affordable transportation systems with natural areas, parks, and open spaces available to all.
To great a gap between rich and poor undermines the solidarity that a democracy requires. As inequality deepens rich and poor live increasingly separate lives. The affluent secede from public places and services, leaving them to those who can’t afford anything else. Public institutions are where Oregonians from all walks of life encounter one another, serving as informal schools of civic virtue. Rebuilding our public institutions and services so that rich and poor alike would want to take advantage of them is essential to a vibrant public realm on which democratic citizenship depends
For our democracy to thrive it depends on our changing ourselves, sloughing off our political passivity and becoming individuals who see the value of common endeavors and finds in them a source of self-fulfillment. To become a steward of the Commons is to change one’s self, to go public with an unapologetic civic spirit that seeks to transform our democracy
One of the attributes we love about Oregon is our inventive, creative nature. Working together with government we can envision, create, and build an Oregon for the 21st Century. Too often, even when the candidates we support win, we feel distant from the decision making process. Missing from today’s conception of democracy is the spirit of co-creation. With a reanimated sense of stakeholder-ship and participation we can transform Oregon, developing innovative solutions that enables the breath of our Oregon family. An engaged democracy will stimulate new strategies and approaches making Oregon a model for the nation
The Wealth of Oregon
Oregon is a wealthy state. We believe that true wealth is not merely financial but the total sum of our material, social, and natural capital. When everyone- lends a hand we will have boundless creativity, passion, and – if we steward them well – abundant material resources to tackle the challenges we face as a society.