editorial by David van Risseghem -
The Oklahoma legislature is giving themselves a long weekend, followed by another week of vacation. It's generally a sort of halftime for the annual session.
The ageless wisdom of Oklahoma's native son, Will Rogers, was never more true. His skepticism of government is well founded and very well deserved. Liberty is perpetually under assault from the ruling class, when they meet at the building we bought and keep paying for, on Oklahoma City's Lincoln Blvd.
Yesterday, the two lawmaking bodies passed several edicts upon the hard working people. they will add even more burdens upon us when the budget crunch blossoms.
Oil is our premier state economic driver. In the past two years out lawmakers have straddled them with a huge increase in taxes on what they draw up from holes the state didn't help drill. This led to a slow down, and now the energy market is in a global collapse.
But fiscal policy is just one part of the destructive power of govt. The cultural and moral harms of the lawmakers are even more devastating.
- The govt. passed laws to shield their govt. properties from contractor liens for unpaid wages, but refused to give homeowners that same protection (when a general contractor runs off without paying subcontractors).
- More stiff regulations & mandates straddle local school boards, raising the costs of public education, and then those same lawmakers complain that schools spend nearly half of their funding on things outside the classroom instruction priority.
- The people voted 4 years ago to reform criminal justice on simple possession of banned substances. But yesterday several of our senators reversed the people's will, and imposed 5-year prison sentences on individuals who have not victimized anyone else. the only crime was acquiring a drug outside the approved commercial networks that govt. mandated.
- In the height of arrogance, the legislature is now proposing to make it nearly impossible for the citizens to throw off the bondage of legislative oppression through initiative petition rights. In their insidious ploys, they claimed to be protecting us from each other. They set up a false narrative of rural vulnerability to the 'evil' metropolitan centers.
We literally heard a leftist lawmaker win a House vote by telling the chamber that he wants to go much further in restricting marriage rights, because he's a failure at marriage. Yep, we have failures governing the successful! We have agencies with no parental experience telling good moms & dads that unless their families adopt the cultural & religious views of the oligarchs, the kids will be taken from them.
I can understand that. You see, I too, was a much better parent before I had kids of my own. It's particularly a feature of an academy or parthenon, to esteem a diploma or license above a good community reputation or legacy of success. The people who are succeeding at real life, are being judged by people who have not any experience, much less success.
Especially the dozen or so members who voted with the leftist Democrats, in a failed effort to strip all parents of 16 & 17 year old teens of custody; by granting emancipation anytime a child petitions the local judge. The troubled youth just has to tell the judge he or she is considering marriage. No need to run away and hide from police and parents. Thankfully, the Republican rank & file lawmakers didn't follow their caucus leadership in that ungodly scheme to undermine parental authority just when it's stressed to it's limits by teen angst & rebellion.
There are some great examples of advocacy among the 2 legislative bodies. Perhaps we haven't spotlighted those instances enough. But the added dangers we now face as citizens, is deeply troubling and we're too preoccupied by the collective stupidity and malice, to celebrate the fewer instances of actual statesmanship.
There is a cultural tradition to introduce lawmakers with the title of "The Honorable 'Joe Blow', Senator in the Oklahoma Legislature". Today I have a harder time with that tradition. So instead, I think I'll begin introducing parents as "The Honorable .." . I'll also introduce taxpayers as "The Esteemed ..". And civic volunteers as "The Excellent ..".