To Comfort The Afflicted
And Afflict The Comfortable

To Comfort The Afflicted And Afflict The Comfortable

Sunday, October 25, 2020

New Observercast

Absence, Noted

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BY ARNOLD HAMILTON

You could almost feel a collective hold-your-breath-moment developing in the Oklahoma House today.

A resolution marking NAACP Day – and commemorating the 100th anniversary of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People – had just been read by the House clerk. All that was left was for lawmakers to give their endorsement – more often than not, a mere formality.

But given the recent dust-up over the Rev. Scott Jones’ pre-prayer acknowledgement of his “loving partner and fiancé, Michael,” nothing seems as automatic as it once was.

The drama also was heightened because one of the House’s four African-American members was absent – Republican Rep. T.W. Shannon of Lawton.

Rep. Anastasia Pittman, D-Oklahoma City, opened the brief festivities by inviting members of the Black Caucus to join her at the House’s ceremonial front podium. Tulsa’s Jabar Shumate and OKC’s Mike Shelton, both Democrats, moved into position, joining Pittman, the NAACP’s state president Anthony Douglas and an NAACP regional representative, the Rev. Charles W. White Jr.

Shannon had been on the House floor much of the morning. His desk was now empty.

Fortunately, the resolution was adopted without incident – Democrats and Republicans alike standing, applauding the venerable civil rights organization.

It’s too bad Shannon missed the moment.

Arnold Hamilton
Arnold Hamilton
Arnold Hamilton became editor of The Observer in September 2006. Previously, he served nearly two decades as the Dallas Morning News’ Oklahoma Bureau chief. He also covered government and politics for the San Jose Mercury News, the Dallas Times Herald, the Tulsa Tribune and the Oklahoma Journal.