McCurtain County shines light on where some of Oklahoma's worst public officials will not go (and a few who will)
Maybe, rather than abhor the words of McCurtain County Sheriff Mark Clardy, sheriff’s Capt. Alicia Manning and District 2 County Commissioner Mark Jennings, brought to life by the McCurtain Gazette-News, we should actually thank them instead.
We could do both.
Be abhorred and thank them, too.
Abhorred, because two elected officials, Clardy and Jennings, and Manning, a sheriff’s department investigator, took part in a discussion they did not know was being recorded, one that may have sounded kind of ordinary in tone, but not in topic.
Along with jail administrator Larry Hendrix, who was reportedly in the room but not quoted from the recording like the other three, the discussion ranged from the murdering and burying of Gazette-News journalists, the possibility of calling upon Louisiana hit men Jennings claimed to know, who do their work quietly, not to mention the good old days when, said Jennings, you could take a black man and, well, here’s the quote:
“Take them down to Mud Creek and hang them up with a damned rope. But you can’t do that anymore. They’ve got more rights that we’ve got.”
So there’s a McCurtain County commissioner not just nostalgic for lynchings but who knows “two or three” hit men, too?
What are the odds he’s traded county favors for campaign donations. Fine, not fair. But for the bigotry and tough company, I’m sure he’s a swell guy.
The Gazette-Journal has no online presence. To get audio files and transcripts of them to the masses, it published a QR code on its front page linking to them.
Nonetheless, the world is watching.
And here’s the rest of the Gazette-News’ story that brought everything to light:
And yes, here’s the reason we might want to thank the dangerous, dumb and morally corrupt McCurtain County Three:
Through their words they’ve accidentally ientified the bottom for which our state’s red-hot Republican politicians are still not willing to reach.
Sure, they’ll try giving away $5,000 per student to every family already sending their kids to private school.
Under the guise of removing pornography from public schools, they’ll go along with removing all reference to LGBTQ+ topics from school libraries, too, because while literature like that might talk a young person down from suicide or convince them they’re not alone, it’s not worth the cost, as superintendent of public instruction Ryan Walters* said earlier this month, of exposing them to “demented ideologies.”
* Such a dummy.
I’m heterosexual, but do you know what my heterosexuality isn’t? An ideology.
The bigots always expose themselves by calling things things the rest of us know they aren’t. Conservatism is an ideology. Being liberal is an ideology. So is anarchy. So is nihilism. Because I’m not sure about hate, shame or the lack of it, I’m not sure Ryan Walters has an ideology.
But I digress.
They’ll celebrate stealing women’s dominion over their own bodies, be fine with mass shootings as the price of their bastardized version of “freedom,” have no problem restricting the vote, agree philosophically with the Jan. 6 insurrectionists and, 21 years later, work hard to reinstate cock fighting as time honored family entertainment.
Finally, they’ve found a bridge too far.
When the story of the McCurtain County Three broke statewide, there was a sudden rush from Oklahoma Republicans to sound dang near as reasonable and right-headed as attorney general Gentner Drummond and labor commissioner Leslie Osborn.
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Governor Kevin Stitt issued a statement:
“I am both appalled and disheartened to hear of the horrid comments made by officials in McCurtain County. There is simply no place for such hateful rhetoric in the state of Oklahoma, especially by those that serve to represent the community through their respective office. I will not stand idly by while this takes place.
“In light of these events, I am calling for the immediate resignation of McCurtain County Sheriff Kevin Clardy, District 2 Commissioner Mark Jennings, Investigator Alicia Manning, and Jail Administrator Larry Hendrix.”
U.S. Rep. Josh Brecheen, who represents southeastern Oklahoma in Congress, the seat previously held by peach-of-a-guy Markwayne Mullin, did not use the R word, only the A word, saying “those involved must be held accountable so the people of McCurtain County can have faith in their government.”
At least he sounded upset.
Speaking of Mullin, he took to Twitter, posting “The disgusting, hateful rhetoric that has been reported in McCurtain County has no place in Oklahoma, or anywhere else.”
At last, something he and Bernie Sanders can agree upon.
State rep Eddy Dempsey, from Valliant, also in McCurtain County — the county seat is Idabel — came fairly strong.
“I honestly think they should resign,” he said. “I mean, to this point, there’s no hearsay, no two words [about it]; they were recorded, so it should be a resignation.”
Drummond’s Attorney General’s office has said it’s investigating.
In its story, the Gazette-News wrote the recording’s full audio had been passed on to the FBI.
Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC show has spent a segment on it.
So has CNN’s News Central.
And, for all their faults, several elected Oklahoma Republicans, statewide and regional, have gone on record, with all apparent seriousness, to say it will not stand.
Good to know they’ve found a bottom they can’t dive beneath.