POSTED ON APRIL 27, 2011:
Love Letters/Hate Mail
(In response to "Fool Us Twice" in the April 14-20 issue of Urban Tulsa Weekly.)
For someone that doesn't care about a political horserace Ted, you have some very strong opinions about our President and his efforts to get our country back on track. I have to wonder if your expectations were this high prior to President Obama taking office.
Considering the state of things when he did take office -- the country was in the worst economic recession since the Great Depression and we were engaged in two unnecessary, costly wars. It took years of bad leadership to get us here; it will take years of good leadership and hard work by both parties to get us back to where we need to be.
Unfortunately, the Republican Party is not interested in this. All we have to do is look at what the Republicans are trying to do to the American people at every turn and see that they not only want to take America back -- they want to take it back to 1900, to a time before: Workers rights (Republicans trying to kill the unions); Women's rights (their attack on women's reproductive rights -- Planned parenthood); Child labor laws (Maine bill LD1346, raising number of hours they can legally work per week and lowering wages for people under 20 years old); Religious freedoms; Gay rights (Republicans paying outside council $500,000 in tax-payer money to defend anti-gay marriage law DOMA -- which has already been deemed unconstitutional, does this sound fiscally responsible to spend half a million in tax payer money to defend discrimination?); Good Education (cutting school funding and programs nation-wide); Social security and Medicare -- Safety net for American seniors; Medicaid and title X -- Safety net for the poor; Unemployment benefits; Veteran benefits and fare wages for our military and environmental laws.
As you can see the Republicans have been very busy not creating jobs or working with our President to get this country back on track, but busy ensuring the progress of the last hundred years gets stripped away, all under the guise of fiscal responsibility. I wonder why they didn't act fiscally responsible when they were voting on two wars and securing tax breaks and loop-holes for millionaires, billionaires and big corporations.
So to answer your question Ted, yes, our President will get re-elected. The actions of the very radical Republican Party will ensure President Obama gets re-elected!
All For One
(In response to "Developing a New Species" in the April 21-27 issue of Urban Tulsa Weekly.)
One good case of private is better than public. No, let's find a way to make more things private, where people compete and free enterprise proves it is better than government control and waste.
In 1963, Alabama Gov. George Wallace made his infamous "stand in the school house door" where he blocked African American students from the right to enroll in the University of Alabama. Wallace was attempting to ignore the laws with which he disagreed by claiming they were "unconstitutional," and therefore he did not have to follow them. He was wrong.
Sen. Patrick Anderson
Sadly, history is repeating itself, and unfortunately this time it is taking place in Oklahoma. Earlier this week the school boards in Jenks and Broken Arrow voted to "stand in the school house door" and not let children with disabilities leave their schools. The reasoning for their decision is identical to the rhetoric that George Wallace argued 47 years ago. They don't like what the law says, so they choose to ignore it, claiming the statute is unconstitutional. Like Wallace, these school boards are also wrong.
Earlier this year, the Oklahoma Legislature passed and Governor Henry signed into law a scholarship program which allows parents of a special needs child to have a choice in regards to the education of their child. I was the principal Senate author. Wealthy families already have choices as to where they wish to send their children; however, the majority of Oklahoma families do not. This scholarship program is targeted to help single parent and lower income households with special needs children to have options. For example, with this program, an autistic child can continue to attend the local public school, or his or her parents can apply for a scholarship to attend a private school. The scholarship is limited to the amount of funds that a particular school district would receive if that child was enrolled in the local school district.
It should be pointed out that this program does not take money away from schools. This program only affects the funds a school district would get if the child was actually enrolled as a student. If the child is not enrolled in the district then the district would never see these funds in the first place.
Ensuring we are doing everything possible to enable special needs children to access programs that can best help them reach their potential should be everyone's priority. This legislation, based on a tried and tested Florida law, presents Oklahoma with a golden opportunity to better ensure the needs of these children will be met. Therefore, I am stunned that these school boards would so blatantly and callously deny the families in their districts additional educational opportunities.
What an unfortunate example these school board members are setting for the children in their districts. If these school districts truly believe that this scholarship program is unconstitutional, then they should challenge the law in court. Apparently they are not willing to do that. Instead, they have chosen to defy the law just like George Wallace infamously attempted to do in Alabama so many years ago. He was wrong then, and they are wrong now.
--Senator Patrick Anderson, R-Enid
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