Oklahoma and Post-Trump Hope for Education and America
I have to admit that I became horribly sick at my stomach last week when I heard Republican consultants react to a tracking poll which briefly showed Trump leading Hillary Clinton. The consultants issued the obligatory disclaimer about feeling depressed about the 2016 election, but how would they be able to look in the mirror on November 9th if the modern-day Mussolini they reluctantly support was elected?
Then, on a beautiful pre-election Sunday morning, NPR’s TED Talk by Jonathan Tepperman reinforced the more “optimistic view: democracy is remarkably pliant — and resilient.” Tepperman cited “the politics of Brazil, Canada, Indonesia, and many other countries” as reminders that when the future of democracy looks the dimmest, opportunities are created for a renewal of government of, by, and for the people.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Oklahoma - of all places - provides another hopeful example. Now, 80% of the state’s voters are white but half of Oklahomans younger than 25 are nonwhite. As political scientist Keith Gaddie explains, the next census will shift power to urban areas where diversity is growing, meaning that Oklahoma could become a swing state. And when the history of that transition is written, I predict, it will be educators and school patrons who will credited with spearheading that victory.
Although Trump will triumph in our Red state, four educators, and two other dynamic progressives could be elected to the state legislature in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area, and two educators could flip Republican legislative districts in the Tulsa metropolitan area. And, SQ 779, a grassroots effort to raise the sales tax by a penny to fund a $5,000 raise for teachers is favored to win. (Sadly, SQ 790, which is a stalking horse for displaying the Ten Commandments at the Capitol, will likely win despite the efforts of an ecumenical coalition supporting the First Amendment.)
After a two decade campaign to shrink government to a size where it can be strangled in the bathtub, voters are fighting back. Former state Speaker of the House Steve Lewis writes, “For a state with a well-deserved reputation for loathing government, we Oklahomans sure spend a lot of time, energy and money governing ourselves.” Not long ago, it looked like Oklahoma was bound to follow North Dakota with an overwhelming victory for the so-called “Right to Farm” amendment, but now it looks like the corporate agriculture’s SQ 777 will be defeated. Oklahoma’s incarceration rate is #2 in the nation and we are #1 in the world in imprisoning women. But, SQ 780 and SQ 781 make simple possession of Oklahoma and Post-Trump Hope for Education and America | Huffington Post: