Last night, the Republicans won control of the Senate. Or, one could say, the Democrats lost what little control of the Senate they had.
Here in Oklahoma, most of the incumbents kept their positions. That is, the ruling party is mostly the Republican party. For my Republican friends, they’re elated. For my friends who are Democrats, not so much.
I’m not happy.
In fact, I’m a little irritated and sad.
Not because my party lost, but because we didn’t have to. We gave up. We forfeited. That is, no one showed up to vote.
Some figures I’ve seen show about 40% of registered voters turned out to perform their “civic duty.”
Just let that sink in.
Only 4 out of 10 of our fellow Oklahomans even bothered to raise their voices.
What’s more, Oklahoma is a “red state.” That is, the state is overwhelmingly controlled by the Republican party.
Or that’s what we’re led to believe.
In fact, it’s not. There are more registered Democrats in Oklahoma than Republicans.
Now let that sink in.
According to the Oklahoma Election Board, the parties are just about evenly split with the Democrats having a slight lead — 43.7 Democrat, 43.6 Republican, 12.7 Independent. There are two things here: 1) Independants and 2) Democrat voter turnout. First, let’s talk about the Independents.
For the longest time, I was a registered Independent. The reason I registered as an Independant is probably close to the same reason others have done the same — they don’t like the two party system! They feel that neither side speaks for them.
And then I went to vote in a local election.
In Oklahoma, Independents can’t vote in local or mid-term elections. The only election a registered Independent can vote in is the national election. This is unfortunate. Oklahoma must change its laws to allow 12.7% of its population to have a voice in the electoral process. Period. The idea that one must be part of the “two party system” is an archaic way of seeing the world.
In my opinion, there’s another reason that Oklahoma doesn’t allow registered Independents vote and it’s quite sinister.
Those in power don’t want them to.
If the other political parties had a voice, those in power could soon find themselves looking for another line of work (and good riddance to them!). So, we’ve enacted laws to silence 12.7% of our families, friends, and neighbors. And that’s really the only reason Independents aren’t allowed to vote. We just don’t want them to voice their views.
However, there’s something we can do in the time between now and when the laws change — registered Independents need to change their party affiliation. While I realize that this may feel like one’s compromising one’s views, it’s really not. It gives one a voice when one didn’t have it before. What Independents need to do is find those candidates who support changes to our voting laws and join their party — whether Democrat or Republican. Once those people are elected into office, and the laws change, then exit that party and sign up as an Independent.
Turning now to voter turnout…
I don’t want to hear one word from the Democrats about the way things are in this “great state”! Not one!
As I noted above, registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans. Sure, it’s not by much but every vote counts and they would be enough for real change to happen. There’s no reason Oklahoma can’t be a “blue state” again.
Oh? Didn’t you know that Oklahoma used to be a “blue state”? According to this article, in 1960 “Democrats outnumbered Republicans 82 percent to 17.6 percent. In 1980, it was 75.8 percent Democratic and 22.8 percent Republican. In 2000, it was 56.7 percent Democratic and 35 percent Republican.”
Of course, this will only work if Democrats get off their collective high horses and vote! I’m so sick of hearing how horrible and backwards this state is when 60% of our fellow citizens don’t even show up when it counts!
I hear it all the time — I even used to say it myself — “Why should I vote? Nothing ever changes.” Let me reply to this as gently as possible — if you didn’t vote, you’re the reason nothing ever changes! Again, 60% of my fellow Oklahomans didn’t even bother to show up. And, I could almost guarantee that 100% of that 60% will be complaining about the government.
I’ve never been one to really get to heavily involved with politics, but yesterday’s election and results have sparked something within me that might just push me over the edge.
Christ have mercy.
In the Love of the Three in One,
Br. Jack+, LC