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Open letter to the Thunder: I have never been a basketball fan, but all that changed this season. The reason for the change was not because the team was winning; it was because I could not bear to miss out on sharing the devoted enthusiasm of my fellow Oklahomans.
I was amazed to see strangers speaking boisterously at the 7-Eleven drink fountain: “Did you see that shot from Durant last night?” The beaming man in front of me in the Wal-Mart line talking to the smiling cashier: “Collison is such a great wingman!” The overheard conversation at the mall: “Westbrook is an animal!” Or my 9-year-old son’s favorite: “Fear the beard!” Oh, yes, I joined the bandwagon — not because we were winning, but because I longed to be a part of this local camaraderie. I wanted to be part of the excitement you brought to our town, our city, our state. No Bedlam. No orange versus crimson. Only your blue and orange.
Thanks for all your sweat, tears and heart. Through it all, you brought Oklahomans together and did the unthinkable: converted this girl into a diehard Thunder (and basketball) fan.
We may not have won the biggest trophy out there, but fellas, I will take second in the land any day. In the hearts of Oklahomans, each and every one of you is No. 1. Thunder proud!
—Rachel Anderson Yukon
As a lifelong Democrat, I unfortunately have to mostly agree with Mike Brake’s assessment (Commentary, “Wherefor art thou, Democrats?” June 20, Oklahoma Gazette) of the Oklahoma Democratic Party: It has simply become irrelevant. He’s not the first person I’ve heard say that, and the others were all Democrats themselves.
But I think he’s missed the mark when he tries to analyze the cause of the irrelevance. It’s certainly not because the state party has been “seized by wild-eyed leftists.” Mostly, it’s because the party seems stale and moribund. I personally tuned out after the whole Mike Mass debacle, but I don’t think old-school McGovernites like me are the problem. The problem is the party’s inability to attract young voters.
Most young liberals (or progressives, or whatever) in this state have simply written off the whole state legislative system as a worn-out old wreck, whose partially functioning parts are now being fought over by theocrats on one side and millionaires on the other. Young progressives feel like there’s nothing there for them, nor will there ever be.
I personally don’t endorse milling around in parks and doing “mic checks” at Wal-Mart as ways of effecting change, but these events are symptomatic of the general disdain young Oklahomans feel toward a system that, even before Citizens United, seemed to have degenerated into a cynical scramble for lobbyist dollars.
But young progressives are still out there. They’re working at a level that’s even below what politicians usually refer to as “grass roots.” And I’m not talking about just the Occupy movement. They’re building community gardens, and involving themselves in arts, sustainability and neighborhood improvement projects. But they’re doing it, as much as possible, outside the governmental process.
For the Democratic Party to flourish in Oklahoma, it’s going to have to find a way to engage these young progressives.
—Mike Carpenter Oklahoma City
Opinions expressed on the commentary page, in letters to the editor and elsewhere in this newspaper are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of ownership or management.