The bad and the ugly in state politics have been readily observable to the Oklahoma public, and lately even to the nation at large. But the good has been more difficult to discern within the Oklahoma legislature. It is there, nevertheless.
Right or wrong, most of us might be inclined to identify what is good in the state legislature as pertaining to our own hometown legislators. Although there are exceptions, most of us like our own legislators. The other guys down there are the bad and the ugly.
When our legislators visit with us personally, they normally make a lot of sense. They are pretty good guys. Basically they want what we want from government – good services efficiently carried out, responsiveness to the needs of the people, and that sort of thing. At least that is what they tell us.
However, in order for us to really discern the “goodness” or the “ugliness” of our own legislators, we need to see and hear them working a crowd that contains their own party base supporters and a few of their larger campaign donors. We may hear some different views and some different priorities enunciated to that audience.
When our legislators are members of a party that contains folk we think are a little crazy, and when the bills sponsored by those crazy people end up passing, we have cause to wonder. But we say to ourselves, “We can’t expect our good guys to stand up against their party leadership lest they lose their positions of influence. If they lose party status, then they cannot help us with our own special causes.” We are selfish.
We have to follow political news from broader sources, and follow the legislative insider reports, to find that there really are some good legislators from all around the state. These people battle for what makes sense. They stand for addressing real problems instead of grandstanding about emotional and religious issues. They see Rome burning, and they refuse to fiddle with the ruling majority.