Oregonians are proud of their state — from public beaches to the bottle bill, from first-in-the-nation land use planning to vote by mail. In our culture here, what passes for sacred has more to do with protecting the public or keeping it weird as it does anything. One of the iconic events that’s part of every Oregonian’s civic duty is to read their Voters’ Pamphlet.
At a time when social media is manipulated by foreign powers, racists occupy the White House, and major news organizations are owned by Fortune 500 companies who allow lies to go unchecked, an unbiased source for real facts is needed now more than ever.
Yet, at this time in the history of the Oregon Voters’ Pamphlet, opponents of Measure 101 have taken a play from Trump’s playbook and violated the cultural and social norms of this most sacred Oregon tradition.
Led by State Rep Julie Parrish (R) who, if the Oregon Constitution had an emoluments clause for state officials, would be guilty of ethical violations, the “NO on 101” crowd has purchased, using a conservative astroturf group, an article for the Arguments in Favor section.
Either as a cheap public relations stunt or merely as some sort of political ploy, Parrish is now turning the heretofore sacrosanct Voters’ Pamphlet, the one place you could go to get the straight information on both sides of an argument, upside down.
Joining her, of course, is another arch-opponent of M101, fellow Republican Senator Cedric Hayden. And Lindsay Berschauer, she of a West Linn political PR firm, also gets in on the act.
Obviously, having the “no” arguments under the “yes” rubric, right next to the truly affirmative president of the teachers union, the Oregon AFL-CIO, and the Oregon Nurses Association, is designed to confuse voters.
Parrish is shamelessly using the cheapest political trick in the book: If you can’t beat them with the facts then baffle them with b.s. In other words, confuse the voters as to what stuff really stands for and deceive them to vote against their best interests. Parrish has created a new version of the expression “two-faced.”
As a mother, a would-be leader in the community, and some who say she represents the people of West Linn and Tualatin in the legislature to the best of her ability, Parrish should be ashamed. She is setting a horrible example and should be admonished by the secretary of state.
There is no place in Oregon for Trump-style divisive and hateful politics. There is no place in Oregon for unethical politics where fake news is created and then legitimate facts are called into question.
Where is the secretary of state now? The one official in Oregon whose primary responsibility is to protect our election process. He’s the one responsible for monitoring the material in the Voters’ Pamphlet. And the same one who paid Parrish and her PR firm and Berschauer hundreds of thousands of dollars for “campaign work” or the like in 2016.
Rachel Prusack, a nurse practitioner, is making a serious go at Parrish this time, trying to wrest that House District 19 seat away from Parrish. If Parrish keeps up this low level of performance, she is opening the door for Prusack. The sooner the better.