BY DAVID PERRYMAN
It’s hard to believe that it has been 40 years since our nation’s Bicentennial, but it was in 1976 that my Mom crocheted and gave me one of my most cherished items. It is a red, white and blue afghan. She actually made five seemingly identical afghans and gave one to me and one to each of my four siblings.
I say that they were “seemingly identical” because they all had alternating red and white stripes surrounded by a wide blue border containing white stars. However, each afghan contained a small imperfection. Some were missing a row of stiches and some had an extra star. Mine was unique in that among all of the five pointed stars, Mom had somehow managed to crochet a single six-pointed star. A Star of David.
I think that the “flaws” in Mom’s artistry were similar to the “flaws” in many Native American crafts and in Persian rugs and in Amish quilts. Imperfection keeps the artist humble and distant from the pride that would result from perfection.
Not so at the Capitol. The legislative session is over and Oklahoma’s citizens have been left in a precarious condition. Many tasks were left undone and few who could have done anything about them are contrite. Humility is a trait not often observed under the dome.
Nothing was done to address the fact that Oklahoma drivers’ licenses do not meet the security guidelines of Homeland Security. The state continues to bury its head in the sand and hope that the federal government will grant us another extension so that we can fly or enter federal buildings or installations with non-compliant identification documents. Let’s fix this.
Nothing was done to find a solution to the fact that hundreds of thousands of working Oklahomans are uninsured. Hospitals are drowning in the red ink of uncompensated care because they are required to treat patients regardless of the ability to pay. Those who are opposed to bringing federal tax dollars home to cover the uninsured and rescue health care should propose an alternative for the men and women of Oklahoma who work one or two jobs, neither of which provides insurance coverage and neither of which pays enough for them to purchase insurance. Let’s fix this.
Nothing was done to eliminate the 2017 automatic trigger that could decrease available revenue further at a time where teachers are paid among the lowest wages in the nation and roads and bridges are crumbling. Let’s fix this.
Nothing was done to roll back the 2016 income tax cut. Oklahoma income tax cuts have taken over $1 billion out of Oklahoma’s budget over the past decade. Corporate tax breaks, credits and incentives have cost the state nearly $2 billion during that same time. We all want young parents to have jobs but it is extremely difficult on them when child care subsidies and the earned income credit are cut just to protect tax credits for corporations. Let’s fix this.
The errors and imperfections in Mom’s afghans and throws did not detract from our ability to use them to keep us warm. The same cannot be said of the omissions of this legislative session. They harm citizens for years to come.
– David Perryman, a Chickasha Democrat, represents District 56 in the Oklahoma House