Why am I continually surprised at the lack of knowledge our government officials possess about the principles of good government?
Today, as I watched a live feed, the Senators in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee voted to PASS SB83 (video from a life Facebook feed below). This bill by Senator Ervin Yen ORIGINALLY revoked the exemption for children to attend public school if their parents didn't want to subscribe to the precise vaccination schedule as dictated by the CDC and Oklahoma State Department of Health.
Today - just moments before the Committee hearing - Senator Yen provided a Committee Substitute in which he mandates that parents seeking vaccine exemptions log on to watch a video extolling the virtues of (and yes we're assured the risks will also be explained as well) vaccinations.
Oh, but wait! That's not all. Parents will also be required to provide PROOF they've seen the video before they'll be 'allowed' to exempt their own children from the regular vaccination schedule.
Okay, apparently now our government wants to add MORE government mandates to FIX an already egregious government mandate to make a government mandate more palatable. How does one square that?
Though questions from legislators during discussion on the bill were certainly interesting (Senator Joseph Silk should be a hero to all liberty-loving and intelligent people), I found one comment during the debate portion of the amended bill to be most fascinating.
Senator Adam Pugh asked to debate the bill. Before uttering a word about the bill, he began to upbraid Oklahomans for Vaccine and Health Choice PAC (OVHC-PAC) for a series of postcards he thought they sent out (Liza Grieve of OVHC-PAC has told me that their group did NOT in fact send out the mailers and their group has made a public statement to that end) utilizing memes including various Communist dictators. Channel 9 did a nice hit piece on the mailouts here, calling the postcards 'offensive' and 'racist'.
Here's the deal. We live in America - the place where its Founders thought so much of the concept of Free Speech after colonists were imprisoned or worse for speaking out against their government (the Crown) - that they made it the FIRST AMENDMENT in the Constitution.
Isn't that EXACTLY what this group was doing with this campaign? Speaking out against the government - in particular one legislator who authored a bill stripping parents of their right to determine the best course of healthcare for their children? Apparently, taxpaying citizens should be railed against and told what they are and aren't to do when interfacing with their government in a taxpayer funded Senate Assembly room by people who are paid with their tax dollars to PRESERVE their LIBERTY?
Senator Pugh continued to upbraid OVHC-PAC for several minutes - complete with desk banging as his ire increased - telling them, how, if they are a Christian group, they should 'hold their tongue' along with similar comments.
These actions of Senator Pugh harkened me back to last summer's primary elections. I remember very well how he conducted his Senate campaign. In fact, though he didn't enter the fray himself, he let one particular public education group, its founder and a State Board of Education member condemn his opposition for him on numerous occasions. While they impugned the character of others in public on social media - including his rival for senate - Pugh simply thanked them for their support.
If you can't read the small writing in the screenshot of this post, here's essentially what General Baxter says:
"ROPE is an extremist, wrong-minded and ugly enemy of public education in Oklahoma. It's candidate, Paul Blair, is a clone of the ROPE founder, Jenni White. They want to undo all this group cares about. Adam Pugh reflects my values, my attitudes and my love of education...Blair is a disaster waiting to happen, supported by names like Brecheen and Fischer..."Then-candidate Pugh simply says in reply to this screed:
"Thank you Gen Baxter and thank you Angela as well...I appreciate your support and I'm honored to have you on my team."Apparently it's okay to actively impugn the character of others while in campaign mode through other people - but it's not okay to use examples of other dictators to provide parallel to the dictatorial actions of a taxpaid representative of the people during a legislative session.
Or is it that OVHC-PAC DARED to speak out against a fellow legislator - someone on Pugh's 'team'.
It was sad so see so many senators actually vote for this bill after the amendments - especially when they voted for a video when NO VIDEO WAS AVAILABLE TO REVIEW BEFORE THE VOTE - using phraseology like, "We're so glad you were willing to compromise Senator Yen" - as though compromising liberty was somehow not only an acceptable, but worthy posture.
Then again, recently I opined about the spirit of esprit de corps in the capitol among some legislators which seems to allow them to feel it acceptable to make outsiders of the very people whose rights they were put in office to protect.
Toward the end of the video you can hear Senator Yen talk (and talk and talk about how he was so good to compromise on his bill) about how this bill preserves parental rights because the vaccine exemption is STILL an OPTION - we're just making parents "jump through some hoops". Why should parents have to jump through hoops to do what they feel is right for their children?
Yen then opines at length about coming to America for the American dream.
I think it's perfectly acceptable to ask Senator Yen what the "American Dream" means to him. Is it a concept that includes citizens having the liberty to make decisions about what is right for themselves and their families? Is personal liberty something one should have to "jump through a hoop" to get here in America?
Government is to PROTECT the rights of its citizens - NOT make them JUMP THROUGH HOOPS to get them. I am very, very disappointed in this Senate Committee, their words and their votes. Everyone desiring the proper role of government should be as well.
According to the Declaration of Independence:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
TO SECURE THESE RIGHTS, GOVERNMENTS ARE INSTITUTED AMONG MEN, DERIVING THEIR JUST POWERS FROM THE CONSENT OF THE GOVERNED...