BY JOE DORMAN
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
This is an excerpt from the speech “Citizenship In A Republic” delivered at the Sorbonne, in Paris, France on April 23, 1910 by President Teddy Roosevelt, commonly referred to as the Arena Speech. I believe it goes to the heart of the work done by Oklahomans for Health with their effort regarding two petitions to change Oklahoma laws.
Two proposals were submitted to consider changes to Oklahoma law. One would alter the petition process, making it easier to submit ballot initiatives from the people, and the other would legalize the medical use of marijuana under the care of a doctor.
The Oklahoma Secretary of State’s office concluded their count of those petitions and – while the first fell short by about 6,000 signatures – the second petition saw success in the first step of the process.
State Question 788 received nearly 1,800 signatures more than necessary to achieve ballot access and move to a certification and challenge process.
I am proud of the effort achieved by the volunteers. No volunteer-driven petition has attained the necessary numbers to qualify for the ballot in our state’s history, but this did not dissuade their dedication. The fact this group came so close on one and overcame the obstacle with another speaks volumes to their commitment.
The Oklahomans who spent many hours and quite a bit of their own personal money to collect signatures are to be applauded for their work to implement changes in the law.
I am thankful for the thousands of supporters who signed the petitions to provide Oklahomans the opportunity to vote on these issues. I am also proud of the hundreds of signature gatherers who worked to see these changes made to our system of government.
I applaud those who are willing – as President Teddy Roosevelt said – to climb into the arena to champion an effort. If we had more fighting the good fight, the outcomes we expect of our government would be significantly better.
– Joe Dorman served House District 65 as state representative for 12 years and was the 2014 Democratic nominee for governor. He currently is a board member for Oklahomans for Health.