When it comes to winning or losing, I prefer the former.
However, for some people winning is more than their character can bear. People on the wrong side of a competition tend to become more creative, work harder and try to find a way to win the next round. It is hard for some people to maintain that drive and determination after winning.
Unfortunately in politics, the frequent result of winning is retribution. Lord Acton said, “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
The part of the equation that Lord Acton didn’t factor in is that it takes absolute power to corrupt people of good character. Small people can be corrupted by a minuscule amount of power.
Unfortunately, the Republicans in the White House and Congress have shown that they are more than willing to exercise their newfound legislative majority to discriminate against minorities in our culture, including immigrants, refugees and those whose faith isn’t a doctrine preferred by the majority.
At the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) last week, we were led to believe that conservatives like:
— Donald Trump – the gathering gave him a 93 percent approval rating.
— Fascism – They actually invited Marion Maréchal-Le Pen of France to speak at the event.
— Unchecked sexual abuse and harassment – Conservative writer Mona Charen was booed and had to be escorted out of the building when she mentioned that sexual misconduct claims about the president had gone uninvestigated and unpunished.
Things conservatives don’t like:
— Legal immigration – A speaker was booed when he talked about a beautiful naturalization ceremony for a legal immigrant to become a U.S. citizen. According to Breitbart, 75 percent of those at CPAC would not only like to end illegal immigration, but they also want to limit legal immigration.
— Black people – The CPAC Communications Director stood at a podium and announced that the party had been wrong to select “a black guy” as the head of the Republican National Committee. It wasn’t some hidden tape that was released later. He was at a podium with a microphone. He later apologized to Michael Steele who politely declined to accept the apology.
— Any gun control legislation. CPAC allowed NRA head Wayne LaPierre to speak this year. After another school shooting, LaPierre lamented that everyone blames the NRA after mass shootings simply because they support policies that make school shootings much more likely and easier to commit.
“It’s not a safety issue, it’s a political issue,” LaPierre said. “They care more about control. Their goal is to eliminate the Second Amendment and our firearms freedoms so they can eliminate all individual freedoms.”
I haven’t heard any actual calls to do away with the Second Amendment, but school shootings where children die needlessly do raise the appetite of the voting population for gun control ideas. Even President Donald Trump listed some ideas for gun control last week after the shooting.
But if you want to see how a small amount of power can be abused in a big way, you need to look no further than the Oklahoma State House of Representatives.
Before each legislative session begins, the legislative body still has a Chaplain of the Day come in to give a little devotion, say a blessing or just pray over the House.
The legislator who is tasked with planning the Chaplain of the Day has pretty unchecked authority to determine who will speak to the members each day. There is no committee. The Speaker of the House appoints someone to handle it and they unilaterally decide.
If you don’t see the potential issue there, you haven’t been around politics much.
Rep. Chuck Strohm from Jenks was granted the right and responsibility to handle this year’s chaplains of the week or day — depending on the situation. He proved that there should be a formal set of rules set by the body and not just one representative
Rep. Strohm decided that any chaplain should be from the legislator’s own house of worship. There are many questions.
— How often do I have to attend for it to be my “house of worship?” If I go to a mosque and a synagogue once a year, does that count? I have attended services at an Ethiopian Orthodox church this year. Is that good enough?
— If a representative is an atheist, are they not allowed to nominate a chaplain?
— Why was there a need to set this policy?
Obviously, the intent is fully discriminatory. Rep. Jason Dunnington actually invited a Muslim Imam to be a chaplain. A rabbi could have been included without this rule. The Oklahoma legislature is overwhelmingly made up of those who claim membership in traditional Christian denominations.
I claim a similar background. However, I am confused. I thought representatives were elected to represent all of the people in their district. If the policy said the chaplain had to come from a member’s own district, I would understand.
I don’t see how Speaker of the House Charles McCall can allow this policy to continue. The idea of getting elected isn’t supposed to be to enrich your friends and punish your enemies.
Where are the public servants? We should demand better of those who ask for our votes and claim to represent us.
— Kent Bush is publisher of Shawnee (Oklahoma) News-Star and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org