We have a wonderful tradition of “First Friday Art Walk”, where a high percentage of Bend, Oregon, residents and tourists participate in a downtown party. It’s reminiscent of my old “radical” days in 1960′s Berkeley, you know, free drugs, free sex, free rock and roll, and lots of radical social action. Except this partying, here in Bend, was infinitely more civilized, and possibly more effective. Here it is a free half-glass of wine, free friendly social relations, and at least four free bands playing within a block of town center, and the social action wasn’t the boisterous rioting of the old days, but gathering people together for responsible outreach programs. A fine example of the kindness that Bend is projecting out into the world is the Central Oregon Student Medical Outreach. Their slogan is Live locally – Volunteer globally. And that is what they do.
Here is Jason Franklin talking the talk here in Bend, and next month he will be walking the walk down in the Dominican Republic providing medical help where 20% of the people are living in extreme poverty, and get little or no medical attention. I have encountered Jason before, doing feet-on-the-ground community outreach projects, so I wasn’t entirely surprised to see him out doing this. But then, I know other people here who are making serious personal outreach efforts to help others in need. Somehow, here in Bend it makes sense to see the problems of the world and then to set about trying to fix them oneself. Some of us do this, rather than making a fuss to the national media and railing against the straw-men enemies of civilization by attaching -ism to their name with a snarl.
Kindness demonstrated in actions is the highest form of being.