BY JOE DORMAN
It seems far too many voters suffer from Stockholm Syndrome. This was made famous in the 1970’s when Patty Hearst went from a kidnapping victim to sympathizing with her captors, even helping them accomplish their goals.
Citizens often grow angry with policy decisions by elected officials, but when it comes to Election Day, they cast a vote for that person or simply do not vote. The reason for this is because elected officials often convince voters that even though they voted against a sound policy that might drastically improve their lives, they are the better choice because of a popular stance taken over ideological policies.
Politicians are often times masters of misdirection. We see legislation filed with the intent to distract from real problems, such as a $1 billion shortfall in the budget. Some legislators even file bills with no goal of seeing them become law. Instead, these are intended to create good will with social agenda items or “trap” the other side with an unpopular vote. They know this is something that will not hold up to legal scrutiny, but the passion to keep their perceived power and position overcomes the logic to not promote bills that will cost millions in wasteful lawsuits.
Politicians also give false hope through legislation. They encourage people to believe some significant change will happen, despite the track record pointing otherwise. I have seen thousands come from across Oklahoma to lobby elected officials for needed changes. As soon as the visit is over, the solutions are quietly shelved for another year and the finger-pointing begins.
Blame is given to “the other side” or “because the budget will not allow” for a solution. If that were the case, then why give false hope by dangling an unlikely policy out there?
The answer is so those officials can keep their jobs.
The problem is too many voters help them by re-electing them.
March 1 is the presidential primary. Republicans will vote for their filed presidential candidates. Democrats and independents will vote for their favorite Democratic presidential candidate.
The deadline for registering for this vote is Feb. 5. The deadline to request an absentee ballot is Feb. 24 by 5 p.m. Early voting is at your county election board on Feb. 25 and Feb. 26 from 8 a.m. – 6 p.m., and Feb. 27 from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
If you are reading this, you are probably not a part of the problem. You can help though by taking an infrequent voter with you to the polls. You can also find friends not registered and sign them up. Encourage them to make educated decisions for leaders who will work for solutions, not rhetoric which simply sounds good.
Otherwise, we will continue to experience the old adage defining insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.
Patty Hearst eventually recovered. I have faith these voters will also – hopefully by Election Day.
– Joe Dorman served House District 65 as a state representative for 12 years and was the 2014 Democratic nominee for governor of Oklahoma. Currently he is the community outreach director for Heart Mobile and a member of the Rush Springs Town Council.