Letters to the Editor: Nov. 29, 2017 

Bill of expense

Chris Bliss, renowned juggler, is endorsing alongside former Oklahoma legislator Gary Banz the raising of $850,000 for a statue commemorating the Bill of Rights. Bliss orchestrated another monument of this kind for half the price in Arizona about four years ago. Only in Oklahoma could we take something already done and do it the same way yet make it more expensive.

The idea of the monument is to create a place for visitors, the unemployed and homeless “to contemplate” the first 10 amendments to the Constitution. Presumably, the statue will inspire people to think about their rights in a manner more directly than, let’s say, a decently paid Oklahoma history teacher might attempt. The justification originally proffered by Bliss related his belief that the Bill of Rights were inadequately discussed in classrooms, presumably by underpaid teachers whose curriculum is already micromanaged by legislators like former Representative Banz. The price tag and result is akin to suggesting we remedy veterans’ hospitals with better signage and more parking; it seems to be missing the bigger point.

There is an automatic disclaimer that must accompany any reservation on this, so I’ll say it: Of course, I love the Bill of Rights. I do. Believe me, the idea of fervent second amendment proponents learning that words like “militia” are in their Constitution sparks my interest. But, dare one say it, could that money be spent better? I know the greatest self-parody in America right now is our crowdsourcing. Seeing the volume of money we contribute to band reunion albums and documentaries about documentaries, we have proven we can find the cash if the cause has the right accompanying promotional video. But one has to wonder how much nonprofit groups who have resiliently defended our constitutional rights could use a little of that million dollars in their work. What could the ACLU or any number of legal defense funds established for the underprivileged do with that kind of cash?

I get that we want to put up a big thing someplace to show we care about the big thing, but what if we broadened our idea of monuments to the volunteers and organizations that actually do the daily toil of helping Americans and defending their rights? What if we revered teaching with the same fervor as we revere new statues celebrating ourselves? What if it was monumentally important for us to get those kinds of things done as much as it is to build a monument?

Wayne Hull

Yukon

De-Trumpification

One of the more radical anti-Trump jokes on the Internet is comparing the president to dictator Adolf Hitler. While Trump has yet to cross any of der Fuhrer’s more serious lines, the increase in hate crimes and neo-Nazi demonstrations since his rise to power, coupled with his refusal to condemn such actions, hasn’t helped his image. But regardless of where the president officially stands on the matter, these groups have interpreted his “fine people on both sides” speech and lack of action as a sign that they needn’t worry about punishment. They’re under the impression that as long as Trump is in power, they can get away with discrimination, vandalism and (if the events in Virginia are any sign) vehicular-based homicide, and their movement shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

A friend once told me that “things always get worse before they get better.” I don’t know whether this means Trump’s “supporters” will take over the country or World War III/Civil War II will happen, but the president may very well have another common trait with Hitler sometime in the future: the complete removal of all elements connected to his tenure as leader.

After World War II, Germany underwent a process of denazification. Everything connected to the Nazi ideology and those who followed it were purged from every part of German society, economy, press and politics. Hitler’s staff and followers were tried as criminals, those who followed them had to be reeducated and all instances of gore and violence in media (gun violence in particular) were heavily censored. Based on how controversial the Trumpist ideology sweeping the nation is, we should expect to see similar processes when President Trump eventually steps down from the Oval Office. Some examples include:

  • The entire Republican party will be dissolved due to the massive loss of trust.
  • All instances of people being run over by cars will be removed from mainstream media.
  • The word “trump” will become an obscenity, as well as all derivative phrases (“trump card,” “trumped up,” etc.).
  • All of Trump’s businesses will be liquidated, all money going to the United States Treasury.
But what of the president, his family, cabinet and staff? Will they go back to living their lavish lifestyles or be prosecuted and tried for crimes unspeakable? Well, that all depends on the choices they make in the coming three years. Until then, we’ll just have to wait and hope for the best.

Joe Wright

Oklahoma City

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