By Jeb Bladine • President / Publisher • 

Bladine: Another year of looking away

Well, this has been some year.

A year of upheaval in every sense of the word – disturbance, commotion, disorder, confusion, turmoil, mayhem, bedlam, pandemonium, havoc and even anarchy.

It was a year of trials and tribulations, but also a year of challenges, solutions and results. Time will tell if it was a year of lessons learned and assimilated.

Americans, of course, are not best known for lessons learned; too often, we look away.

In 2021, organized, incited forces tried to overturn a democratic presidential election and coronate an authoritarian ruler. Their Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol produced destruction, injury, death, and the specter of continuing general civil unrest.

Targeted national media continues bombarding us with claims of looming disaster if the “other side” retains or gains power, but much of mainstream America has moved on. Perhaps we have an innate trust that time-honored national values will slow the wildly swinging political pendulum — if so, I hope we haven’t looked away too soon.

The COVID-19 pandemic rose, fell and rose again in waves of life disruption and tragic deaths. But apparently, not tragic enough. Too many people continue to look away from the national vaccination program, claiming individual rights to risk more dire consequences for themselves, their families and others.

Nearly 800,000 Oregonians age 18 and over are not fully vaccinated for the COVID-19 virus. In November, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said that nationwide, unvaccinated people are six times more likely to test positive, nine times more likely to be hospitalized, and 14 times more likely to die from COVID-related complications.

But collectively, we look away from the idea of mandatory vaccinations.

Also in 2021:

America withdrew from 20 years of war in Afghanistan, site of three dozen documented wars of all kinds dating back to 1526. That’s 600 years of lessons unlearned, and still we look away.

Facebook danger signs were unmasked, and we considered the menace of excessive social media in our society — it was a short-lived concern.

Growing evidence of climate crisis is unfolding amid continued denial of global risk from climate change. When, some wonder, will that look-away reach a point of no return?

America’s greatest strength is the ability to look forward with imagination and passion, blending individual and collective commitments into concrete developments. Our greatest weakness is the age-old human tendency to look away from lessons of the past.

Here’s hoping that 2022 is a great New Year in every sense of the phrase.

Jeb Bladine can be reached at or 503-687-1223.


Don Dix

Jeb -- it seems that each new generation attempts to distance itself from the previous few, and disregards helpful, established nuances. Our age group grew up with corporal punishment for misbehavior, at home and school. It was usually a lesson we would not soon forget. And along with that discipline came a high respect for authority. There are few, if any, of our age who would riot, vandalize, burn and physically confront police over social issues -- and these days, so many are just looking for another cause to create (political, professional, and amateur agitators). I, for one, am grateful for the lessons and values taught by my elders -- not so true today.


Did you miss the 60’s Don?....Equal rights & Vietnam War protestors had plenty of confrontations with police that turned to violence & riots...


Thank you sir...may I have another! Thank you sir...may I have another! Thank you sir...may I have another! Thank you sir...may I have another!

Don Dix

tagup -- I didn't claim riots only began recently -- I wrote that my experience was growing up with respect for authority that is barely noticeable today. You seem to have missed that.


Don - You wrote that there are few, if any ( from our age group) that would riot, burn,...... confront police over social issues etc....The protestors of the 60’s ( and there were many) stopped an unnecessary war, and opened the door for equal treatment & civil rights for people of color, using those exact tactics. They were all in our age group. Respect for authority is a point.

Don Dix

Martin Luther King, H. Rap Brown, Muhammad Ali, Jane Fonda -- all spearheads of various unrest (right or wrong) -- not from my/our generation -- and I am not aware of a friend or classmate that participated in a violent protest in those times (of course it's a possibility, but not to my knowledge).

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