This past weekend I had the mixed pleasure of participating in our Oklahoma Republican Party State Committee Meeting. In the last 8 years since I’ve been more actively involved the OKGOP has been going through many changes, often painfully, and not without upset and turmoil. This weekend’s meeting well illustrated the changes the Oklahoma Republican Party has went through as well as the changes it still needs to embrace.
I do not know how it is in other States but in my experience here in Oklahoma these State Committee meetings have always been cheer leading sessions with dog and pony shows to keep the Committee Members amused as they are asked to rubber stamp the plans produced by the State Party’s administrative structure. Very rarely have I seen indication that the State Committee doing much in actively engaging its authority and giving direction and instructing action on the part of the OKGOP. Oh, there have certainly been Resolutions passed voicing approval or disapproval on various issues but never before have I seen the Committee direct the State organization to action.
Take Common Core, it has been denounced by both the State and National party structures in their respective Party Platforms and yet we in Oklahoma have both a Republican Governor and State Superintendent that have doubled down in their support of that educational program without much consequence or push back from the Party structure and leadership. In fact, most probably have observed that while many in the Republican party statewide are very vocal in their opposition to Common Core there is not so much as a peep coming from the State Party itself that would put Republicans like Gov. Fallin supporting Common Core on notice. In fact often we are told that we should not make waves by standing for our stated principles. It is about our party winning you see. But more and more people are waking up to see that if we win by supporting those who do not uphold our principles then it is not a win a all.
This weekend the State Committee began standing up for some of the principles claimed by the Oklahoma Republican Party. There was an anti-Common Core Resolution passed overwhelmingly by the body but this time it was different. This time the Chairman of the Oklahoma Republican Party is actually directed to act take action in support of our Party Platform though it may make some of our State Republican Politicians unhappy.
There was also more good when the Federal Reserve was called out as needing to be audited which was followed by a great deal of audience cheer.
Moving on to the bad though we have…
The State Party Budget also caused some noise as many in attendance were not happy with the lack of detail given in the report before the Committee was asked for it’ approval. In the future I do not expect the State Party will be able to get away with presenting the proposed State Party Budget to the State Committee as a pie chart. Yes, it was presented as a pie chart.
There was a joke delivered during the one of the reports that exemplifies why Republicans have such trouble with minorities across the country and why we are perceived as hate mongers. It showed that many in the Republican Party still just do not “get it” despite all the studies that have been done by the party as to why it has trouble with minorities. Hearing that joke turned my stomach because I fear too many attending would not mind Muslim women and children blowing up in landmines. Such hate and misunderstanding needs to be called out and corrected.
Now, as horrible as that was and as much laughter as there was I hazard to say that not more than half the room laughed. Looking about I saw plenty of faces that were disturbed and disgusted as those next them them laughed. I say that to contrast where we were 4 years ago when I have no doubt that a great deal more of the audience would have been laughing.
There is a lot of work and educating yet to be done but we have people working together on issues that will enhance liberty in our state, we have the State GOP office holders speaking openly about problems with the Federal Reserve, and we have the State Committee actually standing up and starting to direct the Party. Indeed there is a lot of work to do but in looking back at where we were when I first got involved I have to say that progress is being made, though perhaps not always as fast as I would like.