Oklahoma unceremoniously made the rounds of news and comedy programs this week with our governor Mary Fallin’s announcement that rather than comply with the Department of Defense directive on the processing of benefits for same-sex couples she would defy the order and deny all national guard members regardless whether they were heterosexual or gay couples the right to apply and receive benefits they were entitled to at the Oklahoma National Guard locations. Leaving the only avenue remaining to those in the national guard in Oklahoma to get spousal benefits by going through one of four locations belonging to the federal government – Tinker AFB in OKC, Vance AFB in Enid, Altus AFB in Altus and the Army Ammunition Depot in McAlester. Her claim was, since the state constitution contains a clause against same-sex marriage being legal in the state, she did not have to comply with the directive. She did not delve into the right or wrong of this issue.
Some actually applauded her decision as bold and courageous, but you can take that with a grain of salt. There were some who applauded George Wallace for being bold and courageous when he stood in the entrance of the University of Alabama and denied entry to African-Americans who wanted to enroll after the supreme court ordered integration of all schools and colleges. His statement, “Segregation now and segregation forever!” was also applauded in some circles. Even though it was defying the law of the land even though it was based on bigotry and prejudice. And even though many years later Wallace retracted and apologized for it!
That Mary Fallen is on the wrong side of history is true, whether she cares that she is we can only speculate, but by all appearances she doesn’t care one whit. But what else is new in Oklahoma the reddest of red states where bigotry and racism often rules the day though it is usually couched in terms like ‘state’s rights’ and other trite euphemisms to disguise the bigotry and hatred that gives rise to it.
In the days of George Wallace, Bull Connor and Orval Fobus hatred, racism and bigotry were open and often vilely so. They didn’t mince words because they believed what they said and the south was still vested in ’Jim Crow’ laws that had stood for a long time and they weren’t about to give them up peaceably. Defying the law when it came to beating back integration was seen as a ’State’s Right’ issue despite the change in the law of the land that said no and despite the fact that many millions of people were beginning to understand that such laws were discriminatory and wrong and needed to be changed. Today more than 48 years after the passage of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts we should be seeing those laws and the hardship and divisiveness they caused in terms of an enlightened majority, but we are not doing that. Why not?
Because a small determined minority in this nation wants to overturn all the gains that we have made in civil rights and civil liberties as pertains to minorities, women and sex and gender issues. They are making a concerted effort to divide and conquer in order to destroy all the gains of the past 48 years. That they are in the minority is of little consequence because they have powerful allies that are rich beyond belief and who believe because of their wealth they should have the power to control our nation and its citizens.
That they are wrong doesn’t matter to them for in their stilted view of the world what they are doing is right. They see the civil rights movement as some sort of ‘socialist’ conspiracy and they believe the only way to ‘save’ our nation is to turn it into an ‘oligarchy’ or an even more scary ‘fascist state’ where corporate power is melded with the power of the state along the lines of Germany in the 30’s. In fact they see any gain in the area of programs (Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare and yes even the Affordable Health Care Act) that help wipe out the misery of poverty and aid in the enlightenment of millions of our fellow citizens who are mired in the throes of poverty as pure ‘socialism’ even though they are not remotely akin to socialism.
People like our governor fall easily into the ‘Koch Brother’ spell and mindset and are easily malleable to the notion that ‘state’s rights’ trump all else. They see any program devised by the federal government as ‘socialist’ and they preach that being rich isn’t a bad thing that in point of fact rich is good and if we leave the rich to their own devices they will soon enrich the rest of our society and once every single person has ‘bootstrapped’ themselves up we will all be living on ‘Big Rock Candy Mountain’ and if you remember that old folk song you’ll recall it’s a place where everyone is happy and don’t have to work, where in fact they ‘hung the jerk who invented work’.
Of course if you buy that there are tons of ‘ocean-front’ properties for sale in the Arizona desert.
Sixteen states have passed laws that make same-sex marriage legal and it is just a matter of time before a majority of states do the same. We in Oklahoma lead by a lot of ‘Know Nothing’ adherents however will probably hold out to the bitter end. For anyone who hasn’t ever heard of the ‘Know Nothing’ Party that’s okay it hasn’t been in existence since the late 1850’s when it became a stupidity whose time had run out and was quickly and for good reason forgotten. The modern Tea Party seems determined to co-opt the legacy of what remains of the ‘Know Nothing’ platform. They are certainly a modern version.
We in Oklahoma continually receive a ‘black eye’ because of the pronouncements and actions of a number of our elected officials who have a narrow stilted vision of the world we are living in. The harm it does to our image is repairable and it doesn’t mean that the residents of Oklahoma are backwards or stupid it just points up that elections do have consequences.
And the consequences of voting for people like the ones who are now in charge of our state tends to give rise to laws that are detrimental to the growth of our state and detrimental to promoting diversity among the many vibrant minorities that live here. What it does mean is we are more likely to elect narrow-minded people to office who have no forward vision for our state or its citizens. And who work hard at returning our state back to the days when a white majority (that soon will no longer exist) ruled all things Oklahoma. That, in my opinion is wrong on any level!
And just to dispel any notion that as a liberal I’m mad at Mitt Romney. I’m not mad at him at all. Why should I be he worked his tail off to help get Barack Obama re-elected. Can’t be angry at someone who helped me and my country now can you? The Mittster did good!
- Oklahoma Mary (okieblog.wordpress.com)
- Our Governor Mary Fallin (okieblog.wordpress.com)
- Our illustrious gov (okieblog.wordpress.com)