Why is Washington always ahead of us on progressive measures? They legalized pot first, they beat us to gay marriage, and now they have a ballot measure for a carbon tax. How come they always beat us to the punch? —Meadow A.
Honestly, both Oregon and Washington are fairly with it compared to the rest of the country, much of which is responding to the current election like a toddler locked in a car: You only need them to do one simple thing, but they just don't get it.
"See the little lever? Where Daddy's pointing? Just take your hand and…yes, Daddy DID see the doggie. But Daddy just needs you to pull this lever, like this, see? Just…yes, I know butts smell funny, but would you please PAY ATTENTION. THIS IS LITERALLY SO YOU DON'T DIE."
I feel your pain, Meadow. Here in Portland, we've become accustomed to thinking of ourselves as the stoned gay hippie capital of the world, so it's galling to think that Washington—home of Vancouver, the raised Ford pickup of cities—is actually closer to the socialist free-love utopia of Paul Ryan's nightmares than we are.
Oregon and Washington are actually quite similar: Both are mostly wide-open spaces sparsely populated with decent, God-fearing folk, with one very dense agglomeration of bongo-playing lesbians in the upper left-hand corners.
In Oregon, that pocket of flag-burning nonconformity is, of course, Portland; in Washington, it's Seattle. Both have populations big enough to drive a big portion of state politics, to the unending chagrin of Coors Light enthusiasts in the rest of each state. But Seattle can drive them a little harder.
The Portland metro area has a population of 1.79 million, about 47 percent of our state's total. Seattle metro weighs in with 4.2 million, or 62 percent of Washington's population.
Much ink has been spilled discussing why city dwellers are more liberal than their flats-dwelling counterparts, with no consensus. Still, it's pretty clear that without Portland and Seattle, everything around here would be Idaho.