In today's MACG action on the Meth-Crisis, I have four minutes to address Mayor Potter, Lentz Neighborhood Leaders and the 200+ assembly:
(after introduction) Thank You.
It was over a year ago when I first heard about a certain “people’s candidate” who was running for mayor, Tom Potter, and what fantastic and creative ideas he had. At the same time, I also heard that he couldn’t win. He couldn’t possibly win an election against the power of Portland politics.
And this, “He can’t win” was instantly appealing to me, not only because of my attraction to anybody who takes-on those wielding power over others, but mainly because I heard that said about me…a lot: Scott’s a great musician, he’s a creative guy and all, but he’ll never beat his drug-addiction. He can’t win.
In my long battle with drug addiction, I was so isolated and so disconnected with any concept of support, any idea of community, that I saw no other way to cope but self-medication. I was out for myself, and I drew my lines in the sand and I survived the best I could.
Today, I stand before you a determined “winner” in recovery precisely because of an intentional participation in community. “You alone can do it, but you can’t do it alone.” And there are a lot of us here that know exactly what O. Herbert Mowrer was talking about. My brothers and sisters in RAP certainly do.
Although you don’t have to be in addiction-recovery to understand this; there are a lot families and people who draw their own lines in the sand every day, and survive on their own the best they can. And a lot of us only connect and participate in community indirectly through technology: computers, cell-phones, and television and because of this, we begin to lose relationship to our own bodies and we begin to lose relationship to our own communities.
And we lose relationship to that guy there at the market. And we lose relationship to neighbors down the street. And we lose relationship to our own civic leaders. And we lose relationship with those around us without jobs and homes, and those around us without hope. And we lose relationship with that meth-addict.
We have more power and hope together in relationship with each other than we have isolated, adrift, on our own.
That’s why we’re here today - to stand together for what we know we need, and for what our community needs. Our community is us; whether or not you live in Lents, or know someone in Lents, or live somewhere else in the Portland Metropolitan area, we all have a huge stake in what happens here...right?
I think we all understand that there isn’t a quick solution to the Meth Crisis. I’ve heard on television and read in newspapers that the Meth-Crisis is out-of-control – again, something we can’t win.
But this morning we are more than 200 people here—more than 200 people!—and we're going to walk together, share our stories, and act together to confront the underlying issues of this crisis that in fact, we can win.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Courage consists in the power of self-recovery”, and in closing, I want to be very clear to those courageous individuals and families who feel hopelessly trapped in the bondage of meth-addiction or condemned meth-houses in neighborhoods: We in MACG stand beside you, in community, in organizing with you in support of your recovery and self-respect, and we stand with you in support of opportunities to prosper and provide for all our families, in support for opportunities to develop and recover through quality education and career training, and in the dignity of affordable home ownership for all of us.
I know together we CAN win: As you did, Mayor Potter, last November, and as I did in my own battle against addiction and isolation. Today we’ll walk and we’ll listen and we will act, and we will take one more step closer to being a healthy community. Together we can win.