The five counties of SW Oregon … we live in one of ‘em … might as well be the separate “State” of SW Oregon at times. Especially when talking politics. And sometimes even our entertainment.

Though Interstate 5 runs through three of them, all five counties are rather isolated in many respects. Geography is one. The Cascade Mountains line the East side; the Pacific Ocean the West. A range of hills South of Eugene seems to be the northern border and the California state line is at the southern end. East-West travel is confined to only a few routes which further enhance feelings of separateness.

From time to time various malcontents, unhappy with the way the world is operating, reprise the idea of seceding from Oregon and creating the “State of Jefferson” with part of northern California. Never happen. But the high number of resident amateur “revolutionaries” means the subject surfaces periodically.

Timber, timber-related employment and tourism are important to the interior three counties; commercial fishing and tourism to the two on the ocean side. There are other businesses as well but most here serve the needs of those named.

While the seeming separation of this area is often geographic, it’s also exemplified in our politics This is the most heavily Republican area of Oregon. Still, local politics is pretty normal. We’ve got some good people doing the best they can under some truly awful economic pressures. Pretty typical.

But take our congressional elections. Democrats don’t stand a chance of winning any of the five counties. Maybe at the local level you’ll find one or two. That’s only because (a) they are the lone black sheep Democrat in an otherwise solid Republican family or (b) enough of the voters have met them personally to assure they are reasonably American and their heads aren’t filled with dangerous liberal thought. Other than that, it’s straight-ticket GOP voting,

Our last Sixth district congressional race was classic. Incumbent Pete DeFazio lost the five county “state” as he always does. But Democrats surrounding the campus of the University of Oregon came through to save his bacon. Happens every time. Foreigners.

His opponent this time was an aberration that probably wouldn’t have even been allowed to reside in the rest of Oregon. Well-educated on paper but totally absent common sense. Racist in thought and deed, dangerously ignorant of the realities of being a member of congress and who played directly to a base of scared, older voters, most of whom did not look behind his catch phrases to see what was really there. Or wasn’t.

A surprising number of friends who, I believed had better sense, voted for this nutcase. Well, not “for.” They voted “against” the other guy. They did so without giving a thought to being totally unrepresented in congressional district matters important to the economic survival of our five county “state” for at least the next two years. He would have been a minority of a minority in the majority.

But such is the way of life “abroad” in SW Oregon. I only resurrect the scary election story because it makes a perfect background to this. The current, widely-acclaimed movie “Fair Game” is not being shown in our town. It may take some international prizes; maybe an Academy Award or two. But, if we want to see it, we’ll have to go out of county. Out of “state” as it were.

The movie depicts the deliberate exposure of CIA operative Valerie Plame by the Bush administration. It has been drawing very fine national reviews because, apparently, it follows closely what really happened. In doing so, it shows former Vice President Cheney and administration underlings in a highly critical light. Factual. But unflattering.

We will not be seeing that on any of our 11 local screens.

Other films like “The Fighter,” “True Grit,” “The Tourist,” “Burlesque,” “Tron: Legacy,” and even “Yogi Bear” have been released since “Fair Game” and still no story of Valerie Plame to enlighten Douglas County political buffs.

Owners of the theater chain are probably afraid some irate local Tea Party stalwart will throw a half-filled cup of soda at the screen or put a couple of blasts of buckshot though it. So, don’t show it and messy situation avoided.

It’s true. But don’t just take my word for it. Go to your favorite local Republican headquarters and pick up a political “passport” to visit our “State.” See for yourself.

And, if you come after “Fair Game” goes to DVD, please bring along a disk. I’ve got some friends who’d like to get together for an evening of popcorn and good conversation. Plus sneak a peak at what’s going on in the outside world. Outside the “State” of SW Oregon.

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