Seemingly forever Oregon has existed under the yoke of the far-left liberal/progressive wing of the Democrat party headquartered in the Portland metropolitan area. So dominant are these Democrats that they have gerrymandered the legislative districts into a virtual spoke and wheel in order to ensure that the excess of liberals/progressives in Portland are able to also dominate the suburbs. In large part they leave the impression that the further you travel from the heart of Portland the less likely you are to possess the necessary intelligence to understand what is best for you.
Get it? The truly intelligent protecting the dumbasses – the Nanny State.
While there are literally hundreds of examples of the Nanny State there are three that are particularly annoying – the lowest speed limit in the Western states, the prohibition against pumping your own gas and the requirement of a doctor’s prescription to purchase Sudafed (psuedoephedrine) and similar cold medicines. Entering Oregon from California, Nevada, Washington or Idaho makes one feel as if they have had twenty points erased from their IQs only to see them miraculously reinstated when one passes back out of the state. (For those of you forced to endure a teachers’ union directed education in the Portland public schools that means that neither California, Nevada, Washington nor Idaho have similar Nanny State restrictions – they don’t need them because they are, apparently, a lot smarter than Oregonians and don’t need as much protection from the Nanny State.
It appears, however, that all of that may be changing. Changing at least for the actual really smart people – those living outside the Portland Metro area.
Beginning in March of 2016 speed limits on state and interstate highways located outside the metropolitan areas increased making them closer to those in the surrounding states. While there was an increase in traffic accidents and deaths in Oregon in 2016-17, it was comparable to those experienced nationwide and is attributable primarily to “driver distraction” (talking, texting and surfing the internet on smartphones) and a lack of police officers to enforce those laws. In short, people living outside the metropolitan areas can drive at speeds comparable to neighboring states without significant endangerment to themselves or others. Who would have believed that?
Oregon was one of the earliest states to impose restrictions on the use of cell phones while driving and has periodically increased the penalties for violations. However, what Oregon has failed to do is provide the funds and/or manpower to enforce the law as evidenced by the number of people going up and down Oregon’s freeways blithely babbling on their cell phones or ducking their heads to read or send another text message. Meanwhile the number of state troopers declines and the resources available are among the first to be sacrificed in every budget reduction. Passing a law without the necessary enforcement is like buying a bicycle without pedals. – it looks nice but it doesn’t function.
Similarly, this month Oregonians living in counties of less than 40,000 population are now allowed to pump their own gas. It has only been ten days but there have been no reports of little old ladies self-immolating, cars exploding or people perpetually befuddled by “them dagnab pump things.” No, they do just as they have done in every other state west of the Ohio River and quickly and efficiently pump and pay for their own gas without help from an attendant or the “really smart people” in Portland. Who would have believed that?
You still need a physician’s prescription to buy Sudafed but perhaps that will change for rural Oregon so that people can buy the product from pharmacies by simply recording purchases rather than barring them – just like most of the rest of America. After all, rural Oregonians have proved to be a lot smarter and more capable than their city cousins already with speed limits and pumping gas. But let’s be honest, it isn’t that the population of the Portland metro area are dumber than the average Oregonian. It’s really that the politicians of the Portland metro area are demonstrably dumber than the average Oregonian. But they continue to insist that only they know what is best for the population. Despite one bone-headed failure after another (Cover Oregon, Portland Water Billing, Columbia River Crossing, the Portland Loo, etc.) these liberal/progressive stumble through life spending other people’s money on their great ideas without a lick of accountability.
Rural Oregon shines in comparison to these morons.