The Daily Astorian editorial on Dec. 15 — “Oregon, Alabama suffer from one-party rule” — tried to compare a state that is deeply scarred by poverty, crime and poor education (Alabama), with a state that is one of the most forward-looking, environmental and yet business-friendly in the country (Oregon). The editor erred when trying to make an equal-but-opposite argument, stating that Oregon’s Democratic majority is similar to Alabama’s Republican majority, which led to politicians like Roy Moore.
But to compare Oregon and Alabama’s legislatures, you have to compare the results, not just make generalizations. It would be naïve to think that Oregon isn’t without its problems, but the Democratically controlled legislature in Oregon has done a lot over the years to promote the rights, health, jobs and living conditions of Oregonians.
Forward-thinking gun legislation and the “Motor-voter” Act have helped make Oregon a safer and fairer state. Conversely, the one-sided conservatism of Alabama has made it a state that is consistently on the bottom of the heap in terms of poverty, livability and education.
Using state Sen. Betsy Johnson to bolster the argument didn’t help, either. She is hardly a Democrat. In her last election, she was listed as both Democrat and Republican in the Voter Pamphlet, she often votes with the Republicans, and her support of gun rights (including machine guns) is legendary.
It is often tempting to make equivalencies where none exist. While both Oregon and Alabama are governed by one party, Oregon is governed much better.