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Hard-nosed, Cromwellian approach needed at Oklahoma capitol?

Wikimedia Commons / Oklahoma House of Representatives
"The Lord Protector" Oliver Cromwell had a more "firm" approach to parliament than House Speaker Charles McCall does with the Oklahoma legislature.
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OKLAHOMA CITY -- On April 23, 1653, Oliver Cromwell, who had taken the title of England’s “Lord Protector” after the execution of King Charles, addressed the members of the of what has since become known as the “Long Parliament, that had been in session since 1640 .

The Lord Protector began by telling the assembled parliamentarians that “It is high time for me to put an end to your sitting in this place, which you have dishonored by your contempt of all virtue and defiled by your practice of every vice. Ye are a pack of mercenary wretches. Is there a single virtue now remaining among you, is there one vice that you do not possess?”

After castigating them further for turning the parliament into a “den of thieves,” Cromwell concluded his remarks by commanding. “In the name of God, go.”

And with that, the soldiers he had assembled in the parliamentary chamber escorted the members out and then locked the doors.

Needless to say, some of the commentary critical of the recently adjourned Oklahoma Legislature has been more measured, and is focused more on the lawmakers failure to adequately fund various parts of state government.

This, due to the budgetary problems that were the result, in large part, of a series of tax cuts enacted by previous legislative sessions.

In addition, many fault the lawmakers for waiting until the end of the session to finally prepare a state budget. They did so in part by enacting a cigarette tax that may be of dubious legality that has already been challenged in court by the tobacco companies.

If the tobacco companies are successful in that challenge, a special legislative session may have to be called at significant expense to the state to find additional revenue.

The GOP majority who have presided over the Oklahoma Legislature in recent years has been enthralled by what has been described as “trickle down economics.”

This Reagan-era theory is based on the theory that if taxes are cut for the wealthy, they will use the additional monies they have, as a result of the tax reduction in investments that will produce greater economic growth in the state.

And that, in turn, will improve the lot of the less fortunate by creating jobs for them.

But the application of the theory has only resulted in teachers abandoning the state in large numbers and crossing the Red River into Texas where the starting salaries are higher than those received by Oklahoman educators who have been in the classroom for years.

Some of the state’s primary schools have had to reduce their school week to only four days a week, due to their lack of funding.

The loss of state revenue has also impacted the state’s welfare system, with the Oklahoma Department of Human Services having to reduce the services it offers to the economically disadvantaged .

And it may be time for the Oklahoma electorate to in a sense emulate Oliver Cromwell and tell the Oklahoma state Republican legislators that it is time to end their tenure at the State Capitol.

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About the Author

Bill O'Brien

Bill O'Brien is an attorney based in Oklahoma City.

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Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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