Lately, in Oklahoma, the Republican GOP stands for Glowering Offensive Party. It has been a rough several weeks for the state Republican Party. Although my writing may be satirical in nature, the topics I’m writing about couldn’t be more serious. The Republican Party in Oklahoma is out of control. The conservative political machine fears nothing except an attack from the farther right. The moderates are being shut out and the party is becoming prideful. How else can you explain the last several weeks’ worth of actions? Don’t know what I’m talking about? Let me explain with three examples of how people in leadership positions within the Republican Party put personal or political will above the laws of general decency and above the laws of the land.
The Oklahoma GOP started with hiring an Executive Director who had plead guilty to not one, but 2 misdemeanor counts of domestic abuse. Domestic abuse is one of those “in-tolerable” acts one has trouble recovering. I don’t want to talk about the Executive Director. I want to talk about the person who hired him. What was he thinking? Was he thinking? In Oklahoma, we still teach the chivary code of holding women in the highest of regard. We still stand when women enter the room, open the door for little old ladies then help them across the street. How could hiring someone convicted of abuse toward women not be showing contempt for Oklahoman values? But it is not just hiring him; it’s galling by thumbing his nose at those who questioned the cronyism. Randy Brogdon, the person responsible for this debacle, has a habit of talking down to those who question him. Brogdon repeatedly stood by this hiring even in the face of criticism from other Republicans. If you think this is just one bad decision by Brogdon….. think again. It took less than 3 weeks for Brogdon’s questionable decision-making to fail him again. This time with an offensive Facebook post. It was either comparing poor people to animals or saying poor people aren’t worth supporting, but either way it was damaging. When asked about the post, Brogdon’s first reaction was to defend the post by saying those who were offended must have “misinterpreted” the post’s meaning. So, from Brogdon’s point of view, it’s not just about poor people and animals, it is the rest of us are too stupid to comprehend what he meant! If this isn’t prideful arrogance, I don’t know what is.
Brogdon’s actions are simply irresponsible and reprehensible. Even the Daily Oklahoman Editorial board called for his removal. (I know, once in a blue moon they get something right. Shocked me too.) If Brogdon’s actions were the only failings of the week I’d have just railed about the failed leadership of one man. However, the coup de grace comes from Governor Fallin. Governor Fallin couldn’t let Brogdon stand alone in the Failure of Leadership Department. After two years of litigation the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled 7-2 that the Blaine Amendment of the Oklahoma Constitution was violated by the 10 Commandments Monument and ordered its removal from the Capitol. Agree or disagree with their decision, but they are the highest court in Oklahoma. The legislative branch wrote the law, the judiciary branch ruled it is unconstitutional, but our executive branch won’t enforce the ruling? That is not how our government works. As an educator this could have been a real teachable moment about how governments in America work. Instead, it is a lesson on failed leadership; it is a lesson in one person in government who gets to disagree with the law and then do what they want. Not good for Oklahoma. Not good for the Republican Party.
Governor Fallin’s disappointment with the Supreme Court is understandable. I’ve long thought both the US Supreme Court and the Oklahoma Supreme Court get more things wrong than right. However, my personal feelings do not change the fact that the court has spoken. You don’t like what they say, change the law. However, you can’t ignore their ruling and do what you want. No one is above the law. We established a country to ensure no one was above the law. Gov. Fallin refusing to comply is not what leadership is about; leadership is about working hard to preserve the rule of law and the function of government, not to ignore the actions of our Republic when we don’t get our way. Fallin’s leadership failed her party and the State of Oklahoma through her words (Yes, you read correctly) and by her decision to not uphold the constitution. Brogdon’s leadership just failed the human decency of people. Both chose political gains over doing what was right. Both sit in their perspective leadership positions comforted in the fact that Oklahoma is the reddest of red states for the Republican Party. Pride goes before the fall.