Are things so bad in the state Legislature that they can't even pass a bill to name the official Oklahoma rock song?
By now, practically everyone " including Millennials who don't pay much attention to the news or government " knows how the state House of Representatives failed to approve a measure to name the state's official rock song. After more than a year of research and consternation from a government-appointed panel, and a statewide vote of the people, Oklahoma City's own The Flaming Lips were given the distinct honor of having one of their songs recommended for the official title.
This was not controversial. The state Senate approved the measure more than a month ago by a 46-0 vote. That's every senator " Republican and Democrat, excluding two who were absent " giving thumbs-up on the Lips' song, "Do You Realize??"
On the day of Senate passage, the Lips strolled in to thank the Legislature for the humble honor. But one of the band members, bassist Michael Ivins, just happened to be wearing a red shirt with the Communist symbol of a hammer and sickle. Apparently, this was a sign for some members of the state House to get a rope.
When the vote finally came up in the House on April 23, two members spoke against the bill. Rep. Mike Reynolds, R-Oklahoma City, did not like honoring a band that uses foul language " gasp! Not foul language! If anyone has ever heard Lips lead singer Wayne Coyne and his dirty, dirty mouth, they will know what Reynolds is talking about. Rep. Corey Holland, R-Marlow, said he was offended by the commie shirt and encouraged his comrades to vote down the bill.
When the votes were tallied, 48 members voted in favor while 39 voted against. Although a majority approved the bill, it was short of the 51 votes needed for passage and was killed. (Much like any cool points the state had gained from the song choice.) And all of this because of salty words and the symbol of a regime that no longer exists?
Do they realize their stance in the name of anti-communism was over a song? Would they make a stance against "The Grapes of Wrath" in the name of clean clothes and family values?
In the heat of the moment, The Flaming Lips released the following statement:
"As many people around the world know, The Flaming Lips are proud to be from Oklahoma. We want everyone to understand that only a minority of the representatives voted against this law. The facts are that 'Do You Realize??' won over 50 percent of the popular vote in the original poll, passed unanimously in the Senate, and won over a majority of the Representatives in the House. Regardless of what the minority in the House of Representatives wish, The Flaming Lips remain proud ambassadors of the state. We are honored that the majority of the people who voted hoped to have 'Do You Realize??' be the Oklahoma State Rock Song. Perhaps there is still a way it can be."
Wise words, those. And prophetic. Despite the efforts of Reynolds and Holland, Gov. Brad Henry announced plans to sign an executive order this week, effectively making the ditty Oklahoma's official rock song after all.