East Oregonian : E.O. (Pendleton, OR) 1888-current, December 19, 2017, Page Page 4A, Image 4

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    Page 4A
East Oregonian
Tuesday, December 19, 2017
Founded October 16, 1875
Managing Editor
Opinion Page Editor
Regional Advertising Director
Circulation Manager
Business Office Manager
Production Manager
Oregon, Alabama
and the pains of
one-party rule
Oregonians would not usually
U.S. senator in 40 years. Subsequent
Democrats such as Vera Katz, John
look to Alabama for an example.
Kitzhaber and Barbara Roberts were
But during his post-election press
Neuberger’s beneficiaries.
conference, Alabama’s Senator-elect
More importantly, Gov. Tom
Doug Jones said something that
McCall credited Neuberger with
applies to our state’s condition.
Noting his historic win Tuesday
being his inspiration. Neuberger was
an environmentalist before that word
— becoming the first Democratic
became part of the lexicon.
U.S. senator from Alabama in 25
Republicans today who excoriate
years — Jones said that a state
benefits when its two political parties Oregon’s statewide land use planning
are competitive. Conversely, Jones
statute forget that it was Republicans
said, it is not healthy for a state to
— McCall, Hector MacPherson
be dominated by one
and Hermiston’s own
Stafford Hansell —
As much as
That observation
who moved Senate
Democrats like to Bill 100, Oregon’s
fits Oregon, because
we have become a
preach the virtue landmark
one-party state. Victor
In other words, it was
of diversity, you a time when Oregon
Atiyeh was Oregon’s
last Republican
seldom see that Republicans
big ideas.
governor. He was
coming out of
The Democrats
one of Oregon’s best
sway in
governors of the
the statehouse on Salem hold
are also not
postwar era, serving
many urban-rural so inspirational, but
from 1979 to 1987.
perhaps for a different
More significantly,
reason. Gov. Kate
the state Legislature
Brown’s tenure
is dominated by the
has been a disappointment mainly
Democratic party. That has led to a
very unhealthy outcome, with public because she fails to lead on the matter
that is killing local governments
employee unions carrying outsized
across Oregon — the growing
and unchecked power in the capitol.
There is more than one reason why financial obligation of the Public
we are in this fix. While it is true that Employees Retirement System. The
public employees unions would
metropolitan Portland’s phenomenal
disown Brown if she went near a
growth and its overwhelming
courageous PERS solution. It may
Democratic party registration is a
be that Brown lacks imagination or
factor, so is the Republican party’s
it may be that she lacks the guts of a
litmus test of abortion, which has
governor such as McCall or Atiyeh.
scared away good candidates. As a
As much as Democrats like to
result, the Oregon GOP has not much
preach the virtue of diversity, you
of a bench from which to call up
seldom see that coming out of the
candidates for statewide races.
statehouse on many urban-rural
It is worth remembering that until
1954, Republicans were Oregon’s
Alabama’s new senator wants to
progressive party, in the Theodore
reach across the aisle for bipartisan
Roosevelt mode. In the words of
compromise. He might discover that
one historian, Oregon Democrats
were “inarticulate” until the 1950s. A too many Senate Republicans lack
the imagination or guts to let that
state legislator from Portland named
happen. In politics you never know
Richard Neuberger appeared and
where inspiration will come from.
the Democrats gained a voice, who
Doug Jones’ improbable election may
happened to be one of America’s
be one of those moments. Oregon is
most prolific writers. Neuberger
waiting for its improbable moment.
became Oregon’s first Democratic
Our disrespect for elders
Unsigned editorials are the opinion of the East Oregonian editorial board of publisher
Kathryn Brown, managing editor Daniel Wattenburger, and opinion page editor Tim Trainor.
Other columns, letters and cartoons on this page express the opinions of the authors and not
necessarily that of the East Oregonian.
ancy Root remembers when she
“They destroyed all the evidence,”
she said, “and they never told me.” Only
Not the exact date, but the
many decades after the fact did she
occasion: She went shopping for a
figure out the truth, and only in recent
mattress. This was a few years ago.
years did post-polio syndrome — a
Because the mall was so big and her legs
condition that afflicts many childhood
were so weak, she used a wheelchair,
survivors of the disease — degrade her
which was new to her, and had a friend
muscles to a point where was forced to
push her.
use a cane, then a wheelchair.
Their wait for service was
Her health was good for most
unusually long, and later, as she used
life, as she attended Oberlin
the wheelchair more and more, she
College, married, had a daughter
understood why. In the chair she became
and went to work for the National
invisible. In the chair she turned radioactive.
Science Foundation and then the Department
People looked over her, around her, through
of Agriculture, where she was an analyst. Her
her. They withdrew. It was the craziest thing.
career, she said, made her as conspicuous in her
She had the same keen mind, the same quick
suburban Washington neighborhood as she is
wit. But most new acquaintances didn’t notice,
invisible in other settings now. “It was frowned
because most no longer bothered to.
upon,” she told me, noting that most of the other
She told me all of this recently not in anger
mothers back then stayed home. “But I loved it.”
but in bafflement. Could I explain why her
She and her husband retired to the Phoenix
infirmity and her age — she’s 82 — erase her?
suburb of Litchfield Park, where she now lives
She has her own theories. Maybe strangers
alone in their three-bedroom apartment. About
worry that she’ll need something from them.
five years ago, he felt a twinge on the treadmill
Maybe they see in her their worst fears about
and was found to have pancreatic cancer. Three
their own futures.
months later, he was dead.
Probably they extrapolate from her physical
That sped her decline. Her arms grew feebler,
diminishment. “They think I’m mentally
her legs wobblier. Her pain intensified. Vanity be
incapacitated,” she said. “I’m sure of that. I’d
damned, she wore one of those pendants to be
stake my life on it.”
pressed if she fell. But she once forgot to put it
“Doctors’ offices are the worst,” she added,
on, tripped and lay on the living-room floor from
describing how receptionists address whoever’s
9 p.m. to 8 a.m., when a housekeeper happened
pushing her. “I’m not acknowledged. ‘Does this to arrive. She recounted the episode to me in a
lady have an appointment?’ ‘Does this lady have tone of wonder at life’s freaky occurrences and
her medical card?’ They don’t allow this lady to
at our ability to get through them. There wasn’t a
have a brain.”
scintilla of self-pity in her voice.
But it’s not just receptionists. It’s flight
She considers herself lucky because her
attendants. Movie-theater employees. They
daughter is nearby. She has all the money that
make dismissive assumptions about people
she needs. “I have my mind,” she said, “and I
see where others are losing theirs.” She reads for
above a certain age or below a certain level of
many hours every day.
physical competence. Or they simply edit those
Books were a big topic for us when I visited
people out of the frame.
I met Nancy on a Baltic cruise in September, her a few weeks ago. It frustrates her that she has
never finished “Ulysses” or “Finnegans Wake.”
and I couldn’t edit her out of the frame because
We talked about politics, too. About Singapore,
she was smack in the middle of it, right in front
where she traveled — with a wheelchair and
of me, asking smart questions and making
helpers — about two years ago. About her
even smarter observations. I was one of five
job with the Agriculture Department and how
speakers giving lectures to a group of about 60
ethical and underappreciated she always found
passengers, including her, who’d signed up for
farmers to be.
them. She traveled with two younger friends
Two nights in a row we went out for Italian
who helped her negotiate the ship’s narrow
food, and she insisted on using her cane instead
of her chair. She can do that if she takes a
But after chatting extensively with the three
Percocet just beforehand and reconciles herself
of them at an initial cocktail-hour reception in
to a snail’s pace. Toward the end of the second
one of the lounges, I didn’t spot them at our
night, after two glasses of wine apiece, we
group’s subsequent social gatherings there. An
mulled the vocabulary of her lot. I confessed that
email that she sent me the following month
I cringed whenever she called herself “crippled,”
solved that mystery. “On our cruise,” she wrote,
which she does, because she values directness
“I again experienced the uneasiness of people
and has a streak of mischief in her.
toward us ‘physically challenged’ types. Even
“Well, ‘handicapped’ isn’t supposed to be
among our educated group, people ignored me.”
OK, and I’m not going to call myself ‘differently
So she parceled out her exposure to them. She
abled,’” she said. “You’re a writer. Give me a
and her companions did their own thing.
The more I thought about her experience, the word.”
“What about ‘limited’?” I said. “We’re all
more I realized how widespread it undoubtedly
limited in ways. You’re limited in a particular
is, and how cruel.
The Centers for Disease Control and
I noticed that our server would stand closer
Prevention estimate that more than 2 million
to me than to Nancy and was more voluble with
Americans use wheelchairs for their daily
me, even though she could see, if she looked,
activities and 6.5 million depend on canes,
how vibrant Nancy was.
crutches or walkers.
Nancy increasingly makes peace with such
And the country is getting grayer and grayer.
There are roughly 50 million Americans age 65
neglect, but told me that an elderly, infirm friend
and older, representing about 15 percent of the
of hers has another approach. “She tells people
population. According to projections, there will
to go to hell,” Nancy said. “I need to take a
be 98 million by 2060, representing nearly 25
course from her.”
I don’t know about that. But the rest of us
Nancy’s infirmity is unusual and goes back
have a lot to learn.
to when she was a 2-year-old in the Pittsburgh
area in the late 1930s. She had polio, though her
Frank Bruni, an Op-Ed columnist for
parents, knowing how ostracized children with
The New York Times since 2011, joined the
the virus could be, kept that a secret.
newspaper in 1995.
A case for President Trump’s
great America
The incessant attacks on the character of
President Donald Trump by the national press
and media and the constant mocking of his
promise to Make America Great Again, by
pundits (as evidenced in the East Oregonian)
has divided and polarized our nation and
antagonized those that support the president.
America elected this president because they
wanted their country back, their sovereignty
restored, their borders protected, Americans
first instead of a foreign global world order.
In the face of 1) a biased politically
motivated investigation that has uncovered
nothing, 2) compounded by a recently
documented corrupt FBI (check out the
Bundy trial), 3) a gutless DOJ that mocks
justice, and 4) a Republican-controlled
Congress that essentially lacks the integrity to
support the president, how has this so-called
womanizer, uncouth, idiot, charlatan done?
Here is the real news you won’t read in the
EO or any national news outlet: Under Trump
the stock market has grown 25 percent with
45 record highs, the economy is growing at a
recent record of 3 percent, for a $5.2 trillion
profit for America. Unemployment is at a
17-year low, including African Americans.
Illegal immigration is at its lowest level since
the Great Depression. Since inauguration
there are one million new private sector
jobs, manufacturing is at a 20-year high and
consumer confidence is at a 13-year high.
ISIS has been defeated, the military has been
revitalized and our veterans services restored.
How did this happen? Trump kept his
promises. He renegotiated NAFTA, withdrew
from the job killing Trans-Pacific Partnership,
and pulled out of the global carbon tax Paris
Climate Accord. Trump is making America
great again. Imagine America with an honest
national media, press, and the swamp that
controls the FBI, DOJ, Congress, and the
globalists eradicated!
Stuart Dick
Christmas spirit
returning to Pendleton
Congratulations for the Christmas spirit,
which seems to have been revived to our
Pendleton community.
The recent Christmas tree lighting was a
wonderful addition to the Christmas Stroll.
It was a warm and friendly feeling to see
so many of our neighbors and friends out
enjoying the afternoon and early evening.
Thank you to the businesses who chose to
remain open for shopping and visiting.
So often we get into a fast-paced life, and
it was just pleasant to take a break and enjoy
a leisurely afternoon. It was heartwarming
to see so many people come together with
the addition of the Christmas tree decorating
and lighting. I am looking forward to the
possibility of the return of the Christmas
Parade, especially if it would be in the evening
and be lighted like the Round-Up parade was
so long ago. There is something magical to me
about a nighttime lighted parade!
Merry Christmas and a very Happy New
Year Pendleton!
Scot Jacobson
The East Oregonian welcomes original letters of 400 words or less on public issues
and public policies for publication in the newspaper and on our website. The newspa-
per reserves the right to withhold letters that address concerns about individual ser-
vices and products or letters that infringe on the rights of private citizens. Submitted
letters must be signed by the author and include the city of residence and a daytime
phone number. The phone number will not be published. Unsigned letters will not be
published. Send letters to managing editor Daniel Wattenburger, 211 S.E. Byers Ave.
Pendleton, OR 97801 or email editor@eastoregonian.com.