BY KAREN WEBB
State Rep. Sally Kern, R-Oklahoma City, and I have a few things in common: We were both born the same year as George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and the Donald, but Sally was born in November which meant she was probably behind the rest of us in school. We are both female. We were both born in the south – she in Arkansas and I in Texas. We were both raised Southern Baptist and we both went to college in Texas. I went to the most liberal BaptistCollege in Texas and she to a public college.
Watching the streaming video of Kern’s debate [on affirmative action] was an exercise in self-control. I stopped twice to call her office and my representative’s office, but got only recordings. Twice, I got through to the speaker’s office and his secretary was very nice.
I was stunned that Moore Rep. Paul Wesselhoft, my representative, was asking a question so he could let everyone know that his daughter had been accepted to Yale – not because she is female, but because she is from Oklahoma. He wanted to make sure it was OK to push diversity with respect to state cultures, but not gender or race.
But Sally was the nauseating icing on the cake. It would have been funny had she not been serious. She began by quoting Martin Luther King Jr.’s I Have a Dream Speech and then did a character assassination on the people he was referring to – while self-righteously promoting herself as some sort of an icon of womanhood.
“Color and gender are not the only reasons we get ahead in life or not,” she said in every way possible. No, Sally – law, convention and tradition could have and still can keep you from getting ahead.
Only if you don’t care about equal pay for equal work, job security or health care can one live in peaceful bless.
Yes, personal initiative, personal drive, hard work and being willing to pay the price ought to be all anyone needs, but when Sally and I were growing up and graduating, there was one other thing you had to have that hardly anyone was offering and that was a sex change.
I wanted to take drafting in high school, but was limited to sewing, cooking or secretarial courses because drafting was for boys. I was on the volleyball team and broke or damaged several fingers so my typing teacher offered to give me a “D” if I promised not to take it again. It was the only secretarial type class I took.
Sally was seeing elephants in the room. There are too many elephants in that room and most of them are Caucasian males who can’t stomach any sort of discrimination after Caucasian males had been forcing it on the rest of us for centuries. I have never seen so much wheeny, whiney poor-me attitude displayed in one sitting. She said there had been a lot of cases before the Supreme Court regarding reverse discrimination.
The Supreme Court is a good example for this debate. They are the ones who decided in Minor vs Happersett  that the Constitution does not guarantee the right to vote. It is a state’s rights issue, they said, which created poll taxes and all sorts of things to deny voting rights. It took only 178 years, a Civil War and who knows how many lynchings to get a person of color on the Supreme Court and another 14 years to get a woman on the Supreme Court. Opportunities abounded.
I have been crying all day over all of those Caucasian guys Sally mentioned, who wanted to be fireman in that un-named town and were overlooked. I know how they felt since women and minorities had been dealing with it for centuries.
I have a problem with preacher’s wives who use Martin Luther King to impugn the character of the people he cared most about and claim that most of their problems have nothing to do with discrimination and everything to do with their lack of gumption. They have had a whole 40 years or so to come up to snuff in Sally’s eyes after several centuries of Caucasian male domination. She just doesn’t understand it. The Caucasian guys can’t stand it for 40 years. By the way, my husband is a Caucasian guy and all of my male blood relatives for centuries were also Caucasian.
Sally hopes it is obvious she is a woman, but from the back during her speech with her hair tied at the neck in a pony-tail and what looked like a brown backwoodsman type jacket, she looked like Davy Crockett addressing Congress without his coonskin cap.
She said she had compared herself to no one and certainly not that gal over there, me, who took the tests to go to work at Ma Bell. They declared me too qualified to be an operator so I got stuck in accounting for seven of the least interesting years of my life. I was told I could not be a frame attendant because I would have needed a sex change. It was $30 more a week, but Sally says she didn’t care if people doing the same level of work were not paid the same.
She was Suffer in Silence Sally, but won’t shut up now.
She thanks God that he gave her two ears to hear both sides, but she keeps the non-crazy listening ear stuffed with self-righteous platitudes and has missed a lot. Everyone can become what she wanted to become back in her day and I agree. If you were a woman and your dream was to go to college, marry a preacher, have two children and be a teacher, nurse, secretary or housewife you had all the opportunity necessary.
Then she started the rambling, bizarre tangent about women and their demands and work habits which was part of what got her into so much trouble. She came very close to impugning the character of good Christian Caucasian men when she went on and on about their materialistic bent to “commit their whole life to their jobs” and their lack of concern about their families with regards to being a part of their children’s lives.
She started back-peddling because she was getting some flack from her audience.
Praise the Lord and start celebrating – after only 222 years since the Constitutional Convention, for the FIRST time, there are more women with advanced degrees than men. Women had limited equal opportunity to go to college with men in the late 19th Century and have apparently achieved more than equal results. She kept pounding her mantra that we should get equal opportunity, but expecting equal results was some sort of pipe dream.
She doesn’t believe we will ever have true equality because of our sinful nature, but she thinks we can become all we can be without it. “Everybody should have the opportunity to advance as long as we are willing to work hard and have personal initiative,” she says – unless you are gay and your dream is to become a spouse.
“It is going to take some sweat, it’s gonna take some effort,” she declares, but most of all I think it is going to take a lot of votes to get her out of office or cash donations to get her a full frontal lobotomy.
I was very proud of two Oklahoma City Democrats, Rep. Richard Morrissette [we don’t always agree] and Rep. Mike Shelton [we agree most of the time], and others who tried to make the point that the entire exercise was just a ploy to get votes because state and federal laws make this entire bill just another piece of litter on the House floor.
I really liked the part where a Republican accused Shelton [not Caucasian] of impugning the character of GOP Rep. T.W. Shannon of Lawton [also not Caucasian] when he pointed out that the bill was misleading the people of Oklahoma by giving them the idea that this sort of discrimination in contracts was actually happening.
There are rules about being respectful to your fellow legislators, especially if the impugned is the only African-American Republican and he is introducing a bill he did not author in order to make it look like the Oklahoma GOP is racially diverse. If there were an African-American female legislator she could have done it and covered all the bases. The vote on SJR15 was 56 yeas [1 D], 25 nays [All D], 20 not voting [5 D, 15 R].
I see only three possible explanations for Rep. Kern’s behavior:
No. 1: She was looking through rose-colored glasses while living in Pollyannaville on the Planet Virtue for the first 25-30 years of our lives. No. 2: She is suffering from early onset dementia and has forgotten the first 25-30 years of our lives. Or No. 3: She is actually demented and lying through her teeth to get votes.
Guess which one I think it is?
– Karen Webb lives in Moore, OK and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer