Tag Archives: Oklahoma

Words FAIL

A while back, Juanita Jean posted a news item that goes a long way toward explaining why it has become so difficult to recognize and distinguish between satirical internet sites and those reporting legitimate news.

In fact, she began the post by reciting the steps she’d taken to ensure that this bizarre proclamation was real.

It seems that the oil industry isn’t doing too well in Oklahoma because it doesn’t grow on trees, and since Republicans can’t possibly raise taxes on oil gazillionaires so they pay their fair share, the Governor decided to issue a proclamation in Jesus’ name.

Hold on.  I’m gonna let you read the whole damn thing because I believe, yes, I believe, in the power of crazy on a platter.

Whereas, Oklahoma is blessed with an abundance of oil and natural gas, allowing the state to be a prosperous producer of these valuable resources; and

Whereas Christians acknowledge such natural resources are created by God; and

Whereas the oil and gas industry continues to produce countless opportunities for wealth generation for Oklahoma families; and

Whereas Oklahoma recognizes the incredible economic, community and faith-based impacts demonstrated across the state by oil and natural gas companies; and

Whereas Christians are invited to thank God for the blessing created by the oil and natural gas industry and to seek His wisdom and ask for protection;

Now, therefore, I, Mary Fallin, Governor, do hereby proclaim October 13, 2016, as “Oilfield Prayer Day” in the state of Oklahoma.

As Juanita Jean herownself commented,

Oilfield Prayer Day.  Honey, I have no idea why it wasn’t called “Jesus Give Us Some Magic Money and Pollute Our Air At the Same Time.”  Or even, “Jesus Gives Us Gas The Natural Way.”

What amazes me is that the citizens of Oklahoma elected this person! (Or perhaps, given the language of the proclamation, it might be more accurate to say that the “Christians” of Oklahoma elected her.) I have been preoccupied of late with an effort to understand why voters cast their ballots for people demonstrably unequipped–by reason of ignorance or temperament or ideology– for the positions they seek. I have added Oklahoma to my “perhaps democracy is overrated” list…

I don’t know which is worse: the fact that the Governor evidently thinks her official prayer is needed to alert (a presumably all-knowing) God to Oklahoma’s fiscal problems and persuade Him (Her?)(It?) to improve the business prospects of the fossil fuel industry, or the fact that she is rather obviously unacquainted with the First Amendment of a Constitution that she took a solemn oath to uphold.

Come to think of it, wouldn’t the Christian God take a negative view of failing to uphold a solemn oath?

I truly occupy a different reality from Governor Fallin. (And for that, I give thanks to the Flying Spaghetti Monster….)

Squirrel!

In the charming animated movie UP, a recurring joke had the dog distracted from his task of the moment by the appearance of a squirrel. For a while, it became a meme–if a debate threatened to get personal, or a line of inquiry a bit too probing, someone would yell “squirrel!” to change the focus and break the tension.

“Squirrel!” became shorthand for distraction, and an inability to continue focusing on the task at hand.

Today’s “squirrel!” is fear of lurking transgender folks in the bathroom.

It isn’t only bathroom use, of course.

Some public schools are starting summer vacation several days early. Others are contemplating a four-day week to cut costs. And more than 200 teachers in Oklahoma City were handed pink slips in March.

But instead of addressing a burgeoning budget crisis that threatens public education and other critical state services, Oklahoma lawmakers have been busy debating proposals to criminalize abortion, police students’ access to public bathrooms and impeach President Obama.

It isn’t only Oklahoma, either. In fact, some of the most egregious examples of misdirection can be found in Congress, where 50+ votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act, interminable investigations of Benghazi, and attempts to impeach the head of the Internal Revenue Service, among similar distractions, have consumed the energies of lawmakers to the detriment of actually doing the nation’s business.

It’s hard to know whether the surreal political landscape we currently inhabit is simply a “phase” we are going through–sort of a national adolescence–or whether it is the beginning of a disintegration of the Republic– evidence that in an increasingly complex modern world, responsible citizenship and self-government are simply beyond our capacities.

If it is the latter, the really worrisome question is: what will replace it? If–as most of us fervently hope– we are just experiencing the dislocations of social change and “paradigm shift,” what sorts of policies should our elected officials be putting in place to safeguard a Constitutional system that has served us well, while still responding to the challenges of globalization and modernity?

But hey–let’s worry about Target’s bathroom policy.

Squirrel!

Time to Find a New Planet

Maybe I should just join that group that’s being sent to Mars.

According to Think Progress, 

An Oklahoma legislative committee overwhelmingly voted to ban Advanced Placement U.S. History class, persuaded by the argument that it only teaches students “what is bad about America.” Other lawmakers are seeking a court ruling that would effectively prohibit the teaching of all AP courses in public schools.

The sponsor of the legislation, one Dan Fisher, belongs to a group called the “Black Robe Regiment” which argues “the church and God himself has been under assault, marginalized, and diminished by the progressives and secularists.”

I hate to inject snark into this deep theological debate, but–if God exists, and is the personal, all-knowing deity who favors some athletic teams over others, sends hurricanes to punish gays and otherwise demonstrates fearsome omnipotence–wouldn’t He (and believe me, this version of God is all male) be able to take care of Himself? Could such a deity really be “diminished” by people teaching accurate American history?

But I digress.

The Black Robe Regiment also attacks the “false wall of separation of church and state,” and claims that a “growing tide of special interest groups is indoctrinating our youth at the exclusion of the Christian perspective.”

Talk about projection!

So here we are in the 21st Century, with a Wisconsin governor who wants to replace university education with job training, and an Oklahoma legislature that wants to replace high school education with religious indoctrination.

I understand that crazy people have always been among us. I can handle that. What I want to know is who the hell elects these people?