Grand Old Ruckus: How NOT to Win Your Constituents

I don’t even know where to begin with the shenanigans that ensued on the Tulsa County GOP Facebook page yesterday.  I would tell you to head over there and check it out for yourself, but they have since DELETED ALL COMMENTS on the post, including several made by republican constituents.

File Jun 20, 9 53 45 AM

This morning, there were no comments on this post, where yesterday there were dozens.

The original post was an endorsement announcement for the republican incumbent mayor, Dewey Bartlett:

            “The Republican Party of Tulsa County’s Executive Committee met Thursday night, voting unanimously to endorse the re-election of Republican Mayor Dewey Bartlett.  All six members of the organization’s Central Committee approve the measure as well.”

 

But there were other items on the agenda that evening, including the besmirching of one republican candidate challenging the incumbent Dan Newberry in SD37.  One commenter questioned the following statement received in an email from TCGOP:

            “On another front, Senate District 37 Republican Primary has also been infiltrated by the democrat influence of the Kathy Cartel.  Brian Jackson was denied access to OKGOP database and has essentially been “disavowed” by the OKGOP and the Republican Party of Tulsa County.”  Jackson has been in his own words, “running as a team” with democrat Lloyd Snow in the same race in an attempt to unseat incumbent Republican Dan Newberry.”

 

Of course he wants to unseat incumbent Republican, Dan Newberry!  Why else would he be running for office?  It is possible for somebody to be a member of the same political party and still think he/she is a better choice than another member.  Nobody, when contemplating the expense and effort of a political campaign, says to themselves, “Hmmm…well, this guy’s doing a pretty good job, and I like what he has to say, but I think I’ll spend all this time and money running against him!”

 

Why should he not work with others to defeat his opponent in the primary?  After all, haven’t you ever heard the old saying, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”?  Could it be Brian Jackson is running because he believes the principles that govern Newberry’s decisions and platforms in previous years DO NOT represent all Republicans?

TCGOP continues the attack on Jackson by insinuating a “man-crush” on Democrat Senator J.J. Dorsett, who was seated in a special election to the Owasso district vacated by Republican Rick Brinkley.

 

Yes, Jackson applauded Dossett’s stance against a budget that was touted by many to be irresponsible and devastating for some state agencies.  Some of those in opposition were Republicans.  It only passed the house 52-45.  There are 71 Republicans in the house.  You don’t have to be a mathematician to figure out some of them didn’t toe the party line on this one.  Whoops.

When commenters question TCGOP’s failure to follow their own policy of remaining neutral in primary races, they make it very clear their candidates are expected to work on behalf of the party, NOT their constituents:File Jun 20, 10 02 50 AM

 

“…honor your responsibility to the party…”

 

“…show some loyalty…”

 

Seriously?  Do those comments trouble others?  I can’t be alone in my suspicion that these tenets are what actually govern some of our party’s candidates in office, and that they DO NOT serve at the pleasure of the people anymore.

 

Notice the last part of that comment, “But then again, I’m not a single issue voter.”

 

That is clearly a passive aggressive statement at the large number of people who are making education their primary focus in this year’s elections.  Excuse me, TCGOP, if some of us are committed to actually caring for children AFTER they’re born by ensuring they have access to a fully funded education that is at least on par with what neighboring states are offering!  I’d rather be a single-issue voter than a single-PARTY voter.  I choose people I believe will represent me as closely to my beliefs as possible.  Sometimes, those people are Republicans.  Sometimes they are members of other parties.  In the last several elections, I voted for Republicans in some races and Democrats in others, and occasionally an independent.

 

The page moderator goes on to spew some tired rhetoric about how Republicans have done more for education than Democrats, and insults the intelligence of Republican voters by claiming we are all blindly and stupidly regurgitating nothing more than union propaganda.  I plan to address those comments in future posts.File Jun 20, 10 02 29 AM

 

The sh…enanigans hit the proverbial fan with this comment from TCGOP:File Jun 20, 9 59 27 AM

 

 

What strikes me about that statement is that while others are bravely commenting using their names and personal accounts, TCGOP remains hidden behind the page front.

This is no way to win votes in an election, let alone members to your party.

The comments made by TCGOP were so passive aggressive and off-putting, several other registered republicans, including Tulsa County residents, expressed their disdain and disappointment.

File Jun 20, 9 57 43 AM

 

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I think what disappoints me most concerning these comments by TCGOP is that they serve to confirm what I feared for years about my political party:  they no longer care what the people think.  If you aren’t serving the party, if you aren’t blindly following ALL of their tenants, if you aren’t pledging loyalty to the party’s agenda above everything and everybody else, if cannot agree with EVERY party stance and platform, if you dare question the motives of the party,  then you are an “insecure and rabid troll”.

 

Why must I fit solidly in one party or another?  Why should I find it disgusting that Republicans would reach across the aisle to Democrats in solving problems for the common good?  When did it become acceptable for people representing the GOP to speak with members in such a condescending and flippant tone?

 

My husband changed his voter registration months ago out of frustration with the general direction of the Republican party.  I chose to stay because I wanted to believe those of us “middle ground” conservatives could bring about change…or even a return to the republican party of my parents.  Now, I’m not so sure.  If healthy discussion is discouraged, if civil discourse is not allowed, this college-educated millennial might just take her ball and go home.

 

And good riddance to the GOP.

File Jun 20, 2 55 20 PM

 

Voting Mr./Ms. Right

your_vote_countsI’m not a big fan of the show, “The Bachelor”.  In case you’ve been living under a rock, I’ll explain the premise:  “The Bachelor” is a reality TV show in which one man dates multiple women at the same time in front of millions of American viewers.  Over the course of several weeks, the bachelor narrows down these women via an emotional, highly dramatized finale to each show called the “rose” ceremony.  During this ceremony, the bachelor gives roses to each lucky woman he has selected to move on in the competition for his heart.  Viewers are kept on the hook throughout the season in hopes it will all end with a proposal.  The whole concept is very weird and kind of gross to me.  But apparently, I’m in the minority.  The show has enjoyed multiple seasons (and very few viable relationships, let alone marriages…go figure).

 

I don’t watch it myself.  But occasionally I’m busy in the kitchen and don’t get the channel changed from Wheel of Fortune fast enough before the opening credits begin.  This is what happened the other night, and it got me thinking:  what if, instead of a spouse, the premise of this show was for choosing our legislators?

 

As opposed to eligible bachelors, the premier introduces a host of candidates.  Instead of winning hearts, they’re vying for votes.  En lieu of romantic dinners and exotic dates, they endure a battery of challenges that examine their true motives and put their leadership skills to the test.  And at the end of every episode, in place of roses, I hand out shiny red apples as an invitation to continue in the quest to win my approval at the ballot box.

 

In the beginning it’s easy to toss the obvious misses.  The guy who loudly touts his agenda to “starve the beast” by consolidating administrative positions.  The guy who works for OCPA.

The lady wearing this shirt:File Jun 08, 6 59 06 PM

This lady:

File Jun 08, 6 58 22 PM

 

This one, too:

 

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I think I peg a decent candidate when swapping stories with a former fellow educator.  A few cocktails later, I overhear her confess to another candidate that public education isn’t worth saving.  I toss her, AND the guy she said it to…just to be safe.

 

The mid-season episode is a shocker.  We discover a front-runner and crowd favorite has been lying all along.  He says he’s an avid supporter of public education.  After all, he knew a teacher once.  But when his voting record is revealed, he can’t answer for his support of three separate bills to tie teacher pay to test scores, end healthcare benefits for educators, and reduce funding to common education for the eighth year in a row.

 

In the second-to-last episode, I put the remaining candidates to the ultimate test:  I introduce them to my classroom.  Can they stand the heat emanating from the stares of a classroom full of hormonal teenagers?  A classroom that now, thanks to budget cuts, contains thirty-five hormonal teenagers, as opposed to the slightly more manageable twenty-eight I taught last year (or the even slightly-more-manageable-er twenty-two I taught…too many years ago to remember…sigh).  Which candidates will crumble under the weight of a dozen demanding parent emails?  Who will survive the hours-upon-hours of state-mandated and only sometimes-relevant professional development?

 

If only we could put our legislative candidates through this grueling process, perhaps we’d be more apt to discover the ones worthy of our support.

 

But that would require people to care as much about who’s screwing us at the capitol as they do about who some random dude on television chooses to…date