Governor displays depraved indifference

Almost everyone in America has seen the movie “Titanic” at least once.

Some of the most unnerving scenes feature people fighting over who will get life jackets and seats in the scarce lifeboats. The ugly side of human nature is on full display as people push and shove the more vulnerable out of the way, or worse, try to bribe their way off the sinking ship.

So it goes in Oregon as one group after another, based on their political or identity group connections pushes and shoves Oregon’s more medically vulnerable citizens out of their way to receive the life-saving COVID vaccine first.

The elbows of the teachers’ unions are clearly the sharpest. Oregon seniors are sinking on the Titanic as teachers row away in their lifeboats, their life jackets snugly fastened. It’s an ugly, immoral, pathetic scene, and the public is rightfully disgusted.

The science, which Gov. Kate Brown and her like-minded cohorts have flogged for the past 10 months, is clear. Brown’s own government website is clear. The CDC is clear. Dr. Fauci is clear. The heartbreaking death counts are clear. Oregon’s senior citizens are, by far, at greater risk than anyone else of dying of COVID-19. By far.

Thousands of senior citizens have been trapped in their homes for 10 months. Their frailness and health vulnerabilities have made travel, shopping, doctor visits, church and socialization largely impossible. Their days, already numbered, are spent in miserable loneliness.

Oregon’s seniors suffer serious effects from isolation, including depression. They suffer from lack of social stimulation and declining health and fitness. Now their blood will be on the hands of Gov. Brown and the teachers’ unions.

Gov. Brown’s about-face on the proposed order of vaccine delivery, from seniors going first to teachers going first instead, displays nothing short of depraved indifference. There is simply no way to sugarcoat her decision. It will cost many seniors their lives.

Prior to Jan. 1, Brown was following the science and CDC guidelines, which put seniors at the front of the line. Then pressure from the teachers unions, who have funded her many political campaigns, intervened.

Kate Brown would not be Oregon’s governor without the millions of dollars spent by the state teachers unions and their fellow public employee unions. It’s not rocket science to figure out the motives here.

Are parents angry about their children being kept out of school?

Absolutely, and with good reason. Oregon is one of only seven states in the country imposing mandatory school closures.

Faced with science showing school-age children are at little or no risk of fatal COVID results — and under extreme pressure from mental health experts, pediatricians and apoplectic parents — Brown knew she had to begin reopening schools.

But teachers unions have pushed back, especially in blue states like Oregon, California and Illinois. They’ve demanded not only early vaccine status, but other questionable perks and sweeteners, before they would return to in-person teaching.

As a final moral insult, now that Brown has put them at the front of the line, teachers unions in most of Oregon’s largest districts say that even with vaccinations, their teachers — so-called essential workers — won’t go back to school. They will continue to stay home and collect their public salaries and generous retirement and health care benefits.

They demand the lifeboats and the life jackets. The seniors can drown and the kids can drown with them.

Meanwhile, the real essential workers, like store clerks, construction workers, landscapers, mailmen, police, firefighters, doctors, nurses, and private school teachers, many of whom have young children at home, continue on with the risks of life and work.

Teachers in Oregon should wake up and see the irreparable damage their unions are wreaking on their reputations. Oregonians are mad as hell – if they have schoolchildren, if they have aging parents, if they have beloved aunts and uncles or grandparents, if they have neighbors struggling to juggle jobs and kids, if they have any sense of decency and fairness. They are all mad as hell.

The science is clear. The morality is even clearer.

Even if they were willing to go back to school tomorrow, Oregon teachers should step out of line. They should tell the governor they won’t get in front of the most vulnerable Oregonians, our senior citizens.

Teachers should do the right thing and stand up to their unions. They should not participate in this political bribery.

Gov. Brown may display depraved indifference for Oregon seniors. She may be willing to have their blood on her hands for political payback. But do our teachers really want to be remembered for this?

Think about those scenes on the Titanic — the characters you hated and the characters you cheered and admired. Teachers, the whole state is watching.

Bridget Barton partners with Jim Pasero in Third Century Solutions. It is the publisher of the Oregon Transformation Newsletterter, where this piece first appeared.



A bit overheated, no? Depraved? Blood on her hands? I am not particularly happy with the teachers’ union’s position, but scarcity of vaccines is the real problem. As one of those seniors your heart bleeds for (?) I’m actually doing okay, not drowning, know how to take care of myself, and help others when I can, thank you. Smells like a political hit piece.

Don Dix

The gov. says she is following the science. The question is -- which science supports Brown's decision to place educators ahead of seniors?


Very well written and on the money.


Teachers could have been remembered as hero's but thanks to their union it will be quite the opposite.

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