This has been the freakiest, weirdest political season I’ve ever experienced both nationally and locally in Oklahoma, from the rise of the nationalistic Donald Trump to the gross fiscal mismanagement by Republicans dealing with the state budget.
Trump Calls On Russia To Hack Into Clinton's Emails https://t.co/E7zq9g02Nk
— NPR Politics (@nprpolitics) July 27, 2016
Add to that the violence on the streets here in this country and around the world, and it gets too easy to wrap it all up under some sort of dystopian philosophy or end-of-the-world outlook. But that would be wrong. They’re simply different components in this drama, separated both by importance and substance.
Let’s take Trump, for example. I try not to write about national politics too much because as a proud progressive Oklahoman I don’t get much say in who becomes president of this country. The state’s conservative voters here do that by voting against their own interests because their conservative ministers tell them to do so. It has been a freaky political presidential race, for sure, but I’m betting Trump will win handily here . . . maybe? It’s really a time of uncertainty.
What has really struck me, however, is the rancor of SOME (note the all caps) of the supporters for presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, a capable, intelligent person who lost to Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, the first woman to receive the nomination from a major political party.
To be clear, I’ve tried to stay neutral in the Sanders-Clinton wars on social media, but once the convention started and it was clear Hillary would get the nomination, I wandered into the fray, hoping to send a small message of unity and reconciliation. That was a mistake, I guess, because Wikileaks, which was founded by Julian Assange, an Australian who has ties to Russia and faces sexual assault charges in Sweden, has released emails—apparently obtained by Russian hackers—from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) that purportedly show the organization sided with Clinton in her presidential bid. The place names alone are enough to make one dizzy.
Did I mention this is the freakiest election season I’ve ever endured? Did I mention that Assange now lives in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London because he’s a fugitive from the law? Should we not acknowledge at least that the 74-year-old Sanders didn’t become a Democrat until he started his run for president in 2015 making it somewhat understandable that the DNC might lean towards the career Democratic candidate? Does any of this even matter?
— PBS NewsHour (@NewsHour) July 27, 2016
Trump, the racist, sexist nationalistic GOP nominee for president, is even encouraging the Russians to hack more into this country’s political technological infrastructure and there doesn’t seem to be any pushback from our government. As we all know, Trump has spoken admiringly about Russian President Vladimir Putin, a dictator who, we should rightly assume, The Donald will try to emulate if elected to lead the supposed free world.
The email fracas was surely designed to overshadow the fact that a major political party in the United States has now nominated a woman for president, and, for the record, no, it’s not JUST because she’s a woman that she deserves support. She deserves support because, and I’ll use a short list, she celebrates diversity, inclusion and democracy, just like Sanders.
But even as we slug it out on Facebook and Twitter the real political game in town right now is the Oklahoma economy and state revenues that continue to decline. The Oklahoma Legislature last session cut funding to higher education by nearly 16 percent. Oil prices, despite wrong prediction after wrong prediction, continue to remain flat because of over-fracking, which reduces the amount of collected gross production taxes. Tax breaks for corporate interests, including the oil and gas industry, worsen the state’s revenue dilemma, and our state leaders either don’t care or do care but are powerless to do anything.
Oklahoma is headed towards a fiscal disaster, and, perhaps, even another revenue failure, which could mean more cuts to education and social services this fiscal year. The Republicans, who dominate state government, created the mess and don’t seem overly concerned about the problem.
Trump. Political rancor in the national Democratic Party. What appears to be Russian meddling in our political system. Oklahoma’s state budget problems. Violence, terrorist-inspired or not, on the streets throughout the world on an almost weekly basis. It seems like it’s all falling apart, but it really isn’t.
Some solutions? Defeat Trump in the general election, come together as progressives during the Democratic National Convention, thwart the Russian hackers and ignore Assange, elect more Democrats to the Oklahoma Legislature and try to make the world more peaceful in a plethora of ways, including stricter gun laws here in this country and the recognition and support of the Black Lives Matter movement. It can all happen. Really.