Kurt Hochenauer’s editorial (Oct. 6, Oklahoma Gazette) asked “What’s the point?” of State Questions 751, 755 and 756 that will appear on our ballots in the election Tuesday, Nov. 2. (Question 751 would make English the “official language” in Oklahoma, 755 would prohibit Oklahoma courts from following “Sharia Law” and 756 would prohibit “making a person participate in a health care system.”)
The point, transparently, is to inflame angry Tea Party types to flock to the polls where they will likely also vote for right-wing conservative, government-bashing candidates. This strategy worked magnificently when the Legislature was snookered into allowing a constitutional amendment prohibiting gay marriage to appear on the ballot, resulting in the wholesale takeover of the Legislature by Republicans.
I love the things government does with my taxes that support firefighters, police, public education, public libraries, safe drinking water, sanitation and sewage treatment, airline transportation safety, inspection of meat, pure food and drug laws, interstate highways, railroads, repair of streets, bridges and sidewalks, protections of individual rights to free speech, protections of civil rights regardless of race and religion, etc.
Our entire society, including the abundance produced by free enterprise, depends on thousands of invisible services rendered by government workers, all of whose jobs are threatened by zealots who would cut taxes until these services disappear. I pray that Oklahoma’s reasonable majority will vote in unprecedented numbers to protect the common good of all that our government makes possible.
Batchelder is director of The Peace House in Oklahoma City.