Ebbert: Intended constitutional safeguards must be reinforced

To the Editor,

In spite of the intended constitutional safeguards, the U.S. is not immune to autocracy. Whether it is a gift of tax dollars to the filthy rich; locking up migrant asylum seekers in unheated warehouses and kidnapping their children; revoking laws intended to provide the safe water we drink, the air we breathe and safe working conditions; withholding disaster relief from a non-voting community; or nepotism in the White House — this administration has made immorality the new norm. Corruption and tyranny are obvious from the number of close advisers who have been indicted, already pled criminally guilty or left this administration. This president presents Vladimir Putin of Russia and Kim Jong-un of North Korea as dictators to emulate; Erdogan of Turkey and Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia as allies. These are not democratic nations or leaders and they disregard any appearance of human rights.

Have we learned anything from 2018, this year of attacks on our American values and democracy? Has this president forced us to look more closely at our candidates’ backgrounds to see if the beliefs of the American people are shared? More stringent controls are required when our values and democracy are being challenged by this president and his administration.

The Constitution created three branches of our government that were intended to provide checks on any excesses perceived within a branch. When the U.S. senate instigated the so-called “nuclear option,” allowing a simple majority to approve nominations, this revoked the constitutionally provided safeguards. All three government branches are now reliant on the majority party. No longer is there a check on government actions. The majority party controls all nominations regardless of the individual’s character or qualifications including lifetime appointment of federal judges. Our government is being remade reflecting the radical right agenda.

This senate has given us a lifetime to live with some of these appointments, but we could and should correct this “nuclear option” immediately and reinforce the intended constitutional safeguards.

David Ebbert


Boe: Is becoming more like Portland a good thing?

To the Editor:

Max Denning’s article “The urban-rural divide...” (The Observer, Dec. 29, 2018) was particularly bleak about the prospects of Oregonians ever coming together in a meaningful way. What unites Oregonians today is mostly the Ducks, Beavers and Trail Blazers. Divides similar to Oregon’s are readily seen in other states, and indeed the nation. Charles Murray was prescient in
describing the nation as coming apart.

So Eastern Oregon will become more diverse, and more tied to technological advances, making it more similar to Portland. I doubt if most Eastern Oregonians would regard becoming more like Portland as a good thing. Maybe Portland should become more like the unwashed out here in the wilderness.

What do the authors cited mean by “diverse”? What sort of technological advances are they referring to? They mention a rural economic revitalization, brought about by state government, as a way to make Oregon less divided. But that
assumes that the divide is economic rather than cultural.

Years ago, the saying was “Don’t Californicate Oregon.” Well, that horse left the barn a long time ago. Factors that led to the current dystopia that is California are easily seen in Oregon, but the authors cited make no mention of them.

At some point the middle class and some of the upper class will likely be leaving coastal and urban Oregon in significant numbers, moving to Eastern Oregon or (more likely) states with more hospitable economic, cultural and quality-of-life climates. Which, of course, would leave a pretty much seamless state from the Columbia River to San Diego.

Steve Boe