I published a post last week about Oklahoma becoming the microcosm of what the country might become under a president-elect Donald Trump presidency, mentioning Gov. Mary Fallin’s appointment to a transition team and the billionaire’s meeting with Oklahoma Attorney Scott Pruitt.
— Fusion (@Fusion) December 9, 2016
The post was not meant then or now as some type of tongue-in-cheek, snarky criticism of Trump, which I’m almost sure was read, if read at all, by people on the coasts with some eye rolling and an it’s-never-going-to-happen-here attitude. That denial will surely change in the coming months, but will the mainstream media on the coasts make the right decisions in response?
One thing that will change it significantly is Trump’s selection of Pruitt to lead the Environmental Protection Agency. Pruitt despises the EPA and its regulations, isn’t concerned about climate change and has been active politically with wealthy big-time oil and gas company executives, who will now benefit financially under his leadership. Pruitt has a long, anti-environmental track record of suing to keep EPA regulations at a minimum in Oklahoma.
(Here are my comments on a Miami, Florida-based media outlet, which seems to understand the Pruitt selection is deeply problematic and dangerous. You can also find my comments in the embedded Tweet after the first paragraph in this post.)
It gets worse. U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, perhaps the most well-known denier of manmade global warming in the world, is now chair, again, of the United States Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, which deals with environmental issues, such as clean water and air pollution.
Let’s also don’t forget that Fallin, who has sat idly by as Oklahoma’s schools have been devastated by funding cuts during her tenure as governor, is on Trump’s transition team and presumably has his ear on a variety of issues, perhaps even taxes and rolling back reproductive rights. It has been rumored as well that Trump might select Fallin to lead the Department of Interior, which would be another blow to the environment.
— OpenSecrets.org (@OpenSecretsDC) December 2, 2016
I’ve written about Fallin, Pruitt and Inhofe for many years, and I will attest their actions and public statements show they are right-wing extremists and ideologues, who believe in the supremacy of big businesses over the public good, low wages for workers, a health care system that puts the profits of insurance companies above medical access, the privatization of education, high incarceration rates and punitive punishment for non-violent criminals, the dismantling of the country’s safety net that includes Medicare and Social Security, discrimination against the LGBTQ community, and, of course, the enrichment of oil and gas company executives with absolutely no regard for the environmental destruction created by the hydraulic fracturing process, also known in the vernacular as fracking.
I can understand the argument that three somewhat minor politicians, in terms of the country as a whole, won’t necessarily turn the entire country into the Oklahoma outback, but that ignores the reality that all three of these politicians are surrounded by surrogates and staff that might well flood Washington with backwards, reductionist ideas about our culture and have a huge negative impact on environmental matters. I feel the West, in particular, especially California, with all its water problems and its natural resources, will get hurt the most.
Of course, California and other western states, Oregon and Washington, for example, have a plurality of politicians who will stand up to protest the coming carnage, but what can they really do, and the same applies for protests and even acts of civil disobedience. Many mainstream media outlets, especially, the major networks, are now normalizing Trump, but these aren’t normal times.
All three of these politicians have weaknesses. Not one of them is a decent public speaker, for example. Inhofe has a reputation as a borderline kook or, to put it a nicer way, someone prone to make outlandish statements at times with a snowball in his hand. Pruitt’s political past seems filled with conflict of interests when it comes to oil and gas interests and could pose problems for an enterprising attorney connected to the environmental movement. Fallin, from my perspective, goes over well with the diehard Republican extremists in Oklahoma, but one has to wonder if she lacks the gravitas needed to function as a leader of a major U.S. agency.
So, anyway, people of the United States, these are the Okies who may well control major aspects of your future. Good luck. Hang on.