The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Opinion

February 27, 2014

Letter: The scars will remain

ENID, Okla. — A $188 million budget shortfall at a time of unequalled industrial prosperity.

Another 25 percent cut to taxes in the wings and 45th in per capita tax revenue, Oklahoma epitomizes small government.

Response to shortfall? A 5 percent cut to Oklahoma Medicaid funding on top of a 3.5 percent cut in 2009.

For people providing behavioral health services to disadvantaged Oklahomans, overwhelmingly children, who currently wrangle with Oklahoma’s 46th ranked per capita spending on mental health — these actions deeply wound our efforts.

They represent insult and arrogant dismissal of time spent instilling children with common goals we all work toward: taking accountability for actions, graduating school, earning employment, growing into being a good husband/wife/Oklahoman.

For people devoting their life working toward these common goals it says, “You know, that work that you do with injured children to help them – that doesn’t matter.”

In an era of unprecedented growth, we say, “Not only are we refusing to restore and improve things, we are taking away more from what was already taken, and then we’re going to take more.”

It breaks trust in the covenant: “I know we’re all in this together, and we’re all working extremely hard.”

Oklahoma is 49th in per student expenditures, yet the leading incarcerator of women.

What will the future look like to the child whose mother is in prison, who didn’t have a choice where they were born?

We say, “Good luck finding help for your problems. We decided you don’t deserve it because of what your mother has done.”

To a child whose father died or committed suicide: “Tough luck, here’s a shovel, go dig a ditch.”

So angry at Washington, how much farther to prove a point? A pendulum can swing too far.

Wake up. While we cut our nose to spite our face, the scars will remain.

Taylor Randolph

concerned Oklahoman

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