An Open Letter to Governor Stitt
Dear Governor Stitt,
Welcome to the “Oil Well Building.” Now that you are there, what are you going to do?
Did you make a list of what you would do for Oklahoma is you were ever Governor? Movers and shakers think a lot about what they’d do if they could be in your shoes. People who wouldn’t even run for library board wonder what it might be like to be in charge. It is sort of like, “What would you do if you won the lottery?”
Well, I have never run for any office, and I am definitely on the low end of most totem poles, but I have my opinions as well. Maybe these topics would be a jumping-off place for some discussions, research, or actions in your office.
First thing I would do is start with the end in mind. Make a list of the 5 most important things I want to be remembered for (as a person and leader): Good character, intolerance of corruption and liars, changing Oklahoma’s standing in the United States, making Oklahoma a place people are proud to live in, and wisdom.
Good character (for those of you who are unfamiliar) means treating people well who can do nothing for you, to paraphrase Malcolm Forbes. I used to tell my sons that it meant using your strength, knowledge, and powers to be good to others, not take advantage because you were smarter. To be kind, fair, unbiased, merciful, generous, brave, and patient—a true leader among the led.
Intolerant of corruption and liars means to rid yourself of people like lobbyists and corporatists who have money as their god, not the best interests of MOST of the people. It means to give new ideas a chance, to listen with an open mind, and not abide liars. Being incorruptible yourself means the bidders know you won’t budge, not for money, not for power, but only for a deal for the best Oklahoma possible.
Changing the standing of Oklahoma means to listen to the experts, not just in your party, but experts on making Oklahoma schools the best, not the bottom. Listen to judges and psychologists to reduce the prison population, especially among women with children, and non-violent criminals. Bring the reservations and other low income places out of the Dark Ages. Address the unsafe and disgraceful roads and bridges. Most people understand that Oklahoma is low in numbers that should be high and high in numbers that should be low. They also understand that education is the ticket to a better life for all people everywhere. It is unconscionable that Oklahoma has 500+ school districts with overpaid commissioners, buildings, and staff to support. There should be 2 in each district, one in the largest city and one for everywhere else, and administrators who travel hard to earn their pay. Right now, the public school system in Oklahoma is a mean practical joke we play on our children: we make them go, teach them little, bore them senseless, graduate illiterates, and repeat infinitely. Go ahead, give each parent $7,000 a child and see if they don’t do better! I surely could.
About being proud of your home, it is a sad joke that most Oklahomans would rather live anywhere else, but choose to live here because rent is cheap. I have lived in dozens of other states, and paying higher taxes and GETTING good roads, good schools, decent school food, clean buildings, public transportation, and smooth traffic is worth it! You get what you pay for, unless your government is corrupt. In Oklahoma, we do not get what we pay for, so no one wants to pay more for more nothing. People in Texas believe in Texas, know their history, brag about living there. Why? It’s just bigger Oklahoma. Learn why.
Wisdom? That’s tough. You get wisdom from making mistakes and gaining from them. If you can’t admit a mistake, you can’t grow. Mistakes include having a low gross production tax on the very thing that makes all of us money. Hello? Not taking the ACA money, so half the state is cheated for political currency. Not encouraging business growth by having the best education system anywhere, but spending too much money on districts. Not selling tourism along Route 66 and in our small towns that are boarded up. Not helping small businesses with cheap loans. Wisdom is difficult to gain, but it’s worth the price to gain it. We all benefit.
Enjoy your four years. Visit the zoo, the science museum, and the Cowboy Hall of Fame while in the capital, then go back to Tulsa where the scenery is better.
Your Observer in Sapulpa,
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