Politicos are salivating after the first round of the 2008 elections, but judging by voter turnout statewide, they are the only ones. According to the Oklahoma State Election Board, voter turnout for the recent July primary capped at a whopping 18 percent ” not exactly record breaking.
But, there is change in the air ” can’t you smell it?
The electorate is giddy with the concept of change, the thought of something new and innovative that will solve all of our problems. Yet, actually setting change into motion requires action. And, with temperatures topping 100 degrees, change can wait as we sit in our air-conditioned homes watching “America’s Got Talent.”
One of the more media-intensive races in Oklahoma was that of embattled House member Randy Terrill, R-Moore, whose mere name causes the open-border advocates indigestion. Terrill faced what was thought to be a formidable opponent touting change, but the voters passed up change and opted for Terrill’s hard-line stance on immigration.
The tactic of bringing up Terrill’s bankruptcy at the last minute was tacky and it justifiably backfired. The aggregate result was that Terrill’s supporters went to the polls en masse, telling the world that they would much rather we left well enough alone. According to The Associated Press, Terrill beat opponent Curtis Bruehl 74 to 26 percent.
Another House race that was supposed to generate a great deal of buzz was that of Rep. Mike Reynolds, R-Oklahoma City. While his victory over Jon Echols wasn’t a blowout like his colleague Terrill, it again points to the fact that change is fine ” but let someone else do the changing. While members of the House leadership may be less than tickled that Reynolds is still going to be the burr in their saddle, his constituents appreciate a little political pain now and again.
Another candidate of the “C” word is state Sen. Andrew Rice ” the new and improved golden boy of the Democratic Party and the man who would defeat the unshakable U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe. Rice faced Jim Rogers, a primary opponent whose name recognition is nonexistent in most of the state, but who nonetheless gave the Oklahoma version of John Edwards when he garnered almost 80,000 votes. Inhofe is probably chuckling still, even as you read this right now.
People desire, but fear, change. We enjoy our comfort zones, we appreciate routine and consistency. But, where our politics are concerned, we would much rather go along with a known commodity than take a chance on the unknown. In November, it is a safe bet that the power of the incumbency will rule the day with only a few minor exceptions.
Change for the sake of change without real plans that mean something to real people is little more than a pipe dream manufactured from cotton candy in a balloon. It means nothing whatsoever. We would much rather settle for nothing than embrace a meaningless mantra of change.
Black is a consultant living in Edmond and founder of Wild Oklahoma TV & Radio.