Over in Oklahoma, a case study in representation, rights | BIDLACK

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Hal Bidlack



Did anyone miss me? Leaving Miami, I visited a few countries before going through the Panama Canal, then some more sightseeing, to Los Angeles and then home. I was gone for three weeks; Anyone wondering where I went? (Producer: Well…)

One thing about cruising is that you’re more out of touch with the news of the day than most other vacations. Prop HH came down while I was gone (I voted by mail before I left, of course) and it looks like former President Donald Trump is on the ballot in Colorado. He predictedAlthough the final nail is not in the coffin.

And amazingly, the abortion question in Oklahoma was never resolved in my absence.

As my regular reader (and cruising buddy) Jeff may remember, the Out West Roundup is one of my favorites. rooms Colorado politics. It does a great job of informing you of what’s going on in the region and the current edition does not disappoint. I am convinced that we live in a republic, not a national democracy. These days, the two words are often used interchangeably and appear to be the same thing, but they are not.

Democracy is where the people choose. Directly What should the government do? A classic example of democracy is the old New England tradition of town hall meetings, in which people of small northeastern communities gather in town halls to debate and vote at town stop signs. Parks need to drink water, and so on.

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A republic is one in which the people elect representatives to protect their interests and vote in Congress or the legislature. In the United States, we are almost a republic, and we are completely above the city level.

So what should people do after choosing their agents? Another political science theory talks about the agent and representative model. Simply put, if the people we elected act straight representatives And what do you do? We They want, directly, regardless of their own opinion, or should be delegatesEven if we don’t agree at the moment, they do what they see as being in our best interest. The idea is that when we elect representatives, they have the time and ability to study the issues in detail. They may be experts on the tax code or immigration law, as they say, and may offer more insightful voices than “regular” citizens.

Cut to the previous state…

Oklahoma – the name of every high school musical in America – is as red as red states. But even in that hard-fought situation, Support Overall, abortion rights are supported by a majority of Oklahomans, albeit narrowly, 51% to 45%. Nationally Support 85% for the right to abortion.

Recently, the Oklahoma Supreme Court confirmed that abortion is narrowly protected in the state constitution, but only when it is necessary to save a woman’s life. In almost all other cases it remains illegal. The Oklahoma State Legislature has been busy passing in less than 2021. five Identifying anti-abortion laws to close potential loopholes. Those five laws are all on hold because of a stay from the federal courts, but the legislature’s intent is clear: ban all abortions at any time.

So, back to the representative vs. the representative question: Given that the majority of Oklahomans support abortion rights, the Legislature should not, and should not, support it as a human representative. some Abortion rights? Or should they, as representatives, do what they see as the right thing to do in their own eyes?

Of course, there is no single correct answer. One’s views on representation and the question of representation depend on how the issues you care most about are evaluated by elected officials. People who operate on religion and dogma know, in their hearts, what the “right” faith is, and it gets more complicated.

Abortions in Oklahoma will be severely limited in 2022, going from more than 4,000 procedures in 2021 to 898 in 2022, with at least 66 of them performed to save the mother’s life. They were least opposed to the type of abortion.

I agree with Hillary Clinton, who once said that abortion should be “safe, legal and rare,” that the decision should be between the doctor and the woman, and that more support should be given to birth control and other methods. Following the procedure, Rare Unnecessary reason.

But today we find middle-aged men sitting in legislatures all too comfortable inserting themselves and their representatives’ opinions into what has been for decades between a real medical practitioner and patient, and that’s sad. I’m sure those legislators will insist that doctors insert themselves and their views into the daily lives of state legislators, but resist.

In January 2018, I It is mentioned Our politics today, especially on issues like abortion, remind me of the 1850s when the radical divisiveness of beliefs led many to believe that those who disagreed with them were not American and should be deported. In the year I remember the 1856 attack on US Senator Charles Sumner by a Southern congressman with an iron rod. Sumner was badly beaten and took months to recover, and the Southern gentleman marched with canes.

I don’t think there is another issue that divides America as deeply and profoundly as abortion. But at least I hoped we weren’t as bad as we were as a nation on the eve of the Civil War in our extremely divided nation.

But recently, during an actual Senate hearing, U.S. Senator Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma got into a war of words with the head of the National Teamsters Association. Things escalated until Mullin asked the two in person fight, right there in the Senate hearing room. He got up, machismo, and took off the ring (like the tough guys do in a fist fight) until the committee chairman, Senator Bernie Sanders, yelled, “Sit down, sit down! You know you’re a United States senator!”

When I wrote about Sumner, I was confident that we wouldn’t see our elected officials engage in physical violence in the normal course of their work, but perhaps I hoped for too much. Does anyone think that 1856 is visiting us again?

Stay tuned…

Hal Bidlack is a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel and professor of political science who taught for more than 17 years at the US Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.



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