Were there a Laughingstock Market, pundits would tell you to buy, and then hold, the state of Oklahoma, which, according to analysts who never, ever have any agenda to push, pays big guffaw dividends on a regular basis. The yocks are so great, in fact, that they're heard 24/7, even as the plaintive wails of those who don't think things are so damn funny go ignored.
I am heartbroken for my state, for my neighbors, for everyone who is working so hard to survive and now has so many more reasons to feel lesser. The actions of the Oklahoma Legislature in the last week have included the gutting of the public school system, the elimination of the Earned Income Tax Credit, the assignment of felony status to performing an abortion and the introduction of a transgender bathroom bill. What has happened here does not represent me.
[Thanks to Roger Green for sending that along.]
Now I'm not about to argue with "There but for the grace of God go I," and I didn't support any of the measures described above, but how is it that anyone is surprised by them? You give one party a supermajority and they think themselves imbued with the grace of whatever god the presumably worship; the only advantage of having idiot Republicans over idiot Democrats is that idiot Republicans might cost a few cents less in the long run. Generally, legislators take care: first, of themselves; second, of their friends; last, of anyone else. And public education has few friends in this legislature; more than a few members would like to see it put out to pasture entirely. So when a billion-dollar hole appears in the budget process, guess where they're going to cut? (Hint: not legislative staff.) My own proposal to save some money in the public-education budget — sack exactly two administrators in each of the 522 (!) school districts, which would save over $50 million in salaries alone — would have been deemed insufficiently complicated. Besides, despite rhetoric to the contrary, I think they like having 522 districts to cover a population of less than four million; the smaller they are, the less they can fight back.
As for the abortion bill, I have to figure that Governor Fallin was simply tired of having new and improved abortion bills struck down every single session, and vetoed this one out of sheer spite. And I am sworn to oppose any and all bathroom regulations until the last one, which mandated so-called "low-flow" toilets, is swept (you can't very well flush it) away.
Do give our plaintive wailer some credit, though: she's not threatening to leave, as are a few of our louder complainers. The proper response to all such folk, by tradition, is "Don't let the door hit you in the keister on your way out." The owner of the OKC Talk message board, who recently moved back here after a stint in California, is far subtler than I:
Remember, the legislature in Texas does even more ridiculous stuff and that state continues to boom and grow very fast, and has much bigger pockets of moderate and liberal types than Oklahoma (Austin, urban Dallas and Houston, etc.).
We do have elections, after all. And just as important, we have term limits. Two or three cycles from now, the Other Stupid Party may be in the ascendant once more, and there will be new op-eds to write.
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Copyright © 2016 by Charles G. Hill