BY DAVID PERRYMAN
There is the joke about the man who thought that he was a chicken. He acted like a chicken. He sounded like a chicken and sometimes he even tried to look like a chicken. It literally drove his wife crazy.
Finally one day she took him to a psychiatrist and begged for a cure. The doctor examined the husband, sat them both down and explained that this was the most serious case of identity psychosis that he had ever seen. When he asked the wife how long her husband had thought that he was a chicken, she broke down in tears and said, “Three years, and I would have brought him in sooner, but we needed the eggs.”
The dictionary defines expediency as “the quality of being convenient and practical despite possibly being improper or immoral.” While this story illustrates an extreme example of personal expediency, political expediency runs rampant in America and Oklahoma is no exception.
One phrase that often denotes political expediency is, “Politics makes strange bedfellows,” and describes the phenomenon of two people or two groups of people who are diametrically opposed in terms of philosophies but who may be brought together to reach a common goal, good or bad.
A Latin term that defines a related concept is “Hostis, Hostis, Noster.” The English translation is, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” Whatever the verbiage, the concept is the same … political expediency routinely results in one faction overlooking distasteful or even repulsive characteristics of another faction to form a majority coalition.
While most Oklahomans are begging for their elected officials to work together, it is important voters understand that, in times of deep division, political extremism runs counter to civility in government.
Both Oklahoma Democrats and Republicans have long been considered conservative when compared to other parts of the country; however, the ability to define political philosophy using the term conservative or liberal no longer exists. Today, many Republicans who consider themselves conservatives are scorned by a purist wing of their own party which refers to them as Republicans In Name Only [RINOs].
While both parties have purist wings, extremism tends to disrupt the ability of a government to function in the best interest of its citizens. Governments tend to be more stable when the moderate elements of both parties exercise greater influence than their wings.
In fact, when a wing of either party becomes more influential than that party moderates, the instability that results is often similar to the current national scene. Thus, it becomes incumbent on the party moderates to either distance themselves from extremist elements or to concede control of the party to the extremists because the party can no longer exist without the wing.
Democrat or Republican, any party seeking to lead our state must strive for stability in government by working across the aisle and realize that partisan political expediency is the reason that Oklahoma is in the shape that it is.
Until then, the egg on the face of state leaders does not come from some guy that thinks that he is a chicken.
– David Perryman, a Chickasha Democrat, represents District 56 in the Oklahoma House