Discover more from Oklahoma Columnist, by Clay Horning
When one side is value bankrupt, you have to let their voters know
19 children are dead in Uvalde, Texas, and there's still no reason to believe Republicans want to do anything about it there, here, anywhere (and that's just one issue)
Note: Given Tuesday events, we can turn back to Sooner softball and the chase for the national championship tomorrow.
Occasionally all three.
I’m good with a line, written or spoken.
I haven’t figured out a way to turn it into a million bucks, but pretty good for a sportswriter who tries to keep up with the world, keep folks honest, capable of winning a battle of wits.
But not now.
Now, I’m seething.
Now, I’m furious, pissed off I don’t have the words, not really.
Give me last night’s game, a season just finished, a who-deserves-to-be-in-the-hall-of-fame-more argument, pick the sport, and I can put together words, sentences and paragraphs that may not change your mind, but may leave with little room to disagree.
Rhetorically gifted, I think they call it.
But not now.
Now, I can’t bring everybody together or even make sure I win the argument. Can’t get everybody on the right side. Not in this state or this country.
So it’s not about bringing us together, not today. Maybe it’s about cutting through all nicety that gets in the way of real truth telling, because markers must be laid down.
In Uvalde, Texas, Tuesday, at last look, 19 children were killed by a lone gunman who entered their elementary school and opened fire.
There are two political parties that matter in this country and one of them is all right with it. One of them is all right with it happening over and over and over again while the other is pulling its hair out, literally crying for help to do the right thing, all the while knowing you can’t pass anything in the United States Senate without 60 votes.
Republicans may not like children or adults being killed in mass by a gunman, and may even offer sincere thoughts and prayers Democrats can hardly muster any longer through anger and heartbreak, yet those same Republicans remain more afraid of losing their hottest red-hot voters or the stamp of approval of the terrorist organization known as the National Rifle Association, than of it happening again (and again and again).
In their zero sum game, it’s the cost of doing business.
C’est la vie.
Indeed, so desperate to retain every voter they can, no matter how intolerable, they cannot even, as a party, offer full-throated opposition to white supremacy — lest they alienate the racist block of their voters — an aggravating factor in the mass shooting that killed 23 people in El Paso 2 1/2 years ago, as well as the one that killed 10 workers and shoppers in Buffalo only last week.
Here in Oklahoma, two Tuesdays ago, Kevin Stitt, who in between scandals advances horrendous legislation, signed an anti “red-flag” bill into law, making it illegal for Oklahoma municipalities to enact policy that might restrict access to guns from those deemed imminent dangers.
You know, a wife beater out on bail; a chronic domestic abuser; one who’s been hit by one or many victim protective orders; or one, like the Buffalo shooter, who had previously announced his desire to murder.
“I find it impossible for any red-flag law to respect due process or the presumption of innocence until proven guilty,” Rep. Jay Steagall, R-Yukon, told the Oklahoman.
Sure, better to let some disenfranchised, aggravated young male Oklahoma soul go on a murder spree with guns bought that morning — because permits nor safety courses are required to arm yourself to the teeth in our state either (thanks Republicans) — than to ever, ever, ever err on the side of making it difficult for him to shoot his wife, girlfriend, kids, boss or co-workers dead.
Yet more rich, the untold part behind such literal killer legislation is nobody asked for it. No group of common Oklahomans went into their reps office and said, “You know, we really need to make sure accused violent offenders and abusers have absolute access to firearms.”
What happened was the gun lobby showed up in his office and told him to do it, so he did it and made a civil liberties case for the rightness of doing it when the last thing Steagall cares about are civil liberties.
Of course, he was one of 39 Oklahoma lawmakers to sign a letter urging Congress not to certify the 2020 presidential election, and what’s a greater civil liberty than the right to have your vote counted?
Do you see how hard this is?
To even remain on topic?
Because there is no consistency.
There is no governing philosophy.
There is only the want to remain in power.
It means doing nothing about mass shootings.
It means, well beyond telling a 40-something professional woman whose husband’s vasectomy didn’t take she must bear a child 20 years after she decided to have no more children, also telling the 12- or 13-year-old rape victim she must carry her rapist’s child.
It means actually believing American democracy is too quaint a value to defend any longer OR just not by you and rolling the dice on its remaining, maybe hoping it won’t come crashing down, but willing to risk it because that’s what it takes to not be primaried out of your cush Washington gig or even the one that annually pays you $47,500 to show up at 2300 N. Lincoln Blvd. in Oklahoma City a few months a year.
In summary, four things:
1) Anti anti-gun violence
2) Anti anti-white supremacy
3) Anti-women’s autonomy
There are two parties that matter and one of them’s doing the bidding for those four things.
The other may have a communication problem, may struggle to keep its own fringe from sounding to whack.
But it’s against gun violence, hates white supremacy, believes women are real and whole people fully capable of self-determination and will defend democracy.
Painting this picture feels extreme … not cordial … divisive toward friends I know have fantastic hearts on the other side of the political divide.
But when the party they side with has long jumped the shark, has blood on its hands, won’t come out unequivocally against white supremacy and can take or leave democracy, we have to tell them and not quit.
It would be a battle of ideas if more than one side had any. Instead, it’s a race to stop horrendous, crushing and brutal outcomes and it must be run.
By all of us.
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