Since his election in 2010, fundamentalist bible camp patriarch James Lankford has proven himself to be more concerned with pushing a radical right wing political agenda than with standing up for the interests of the city he represents. Lankford’s disdain for his own constituents was on display last week when he went on a series of bizarre rants at a town hall meeting. Anyone with an internet connection and an interest in local politics has no doubt already seen Lankford blame gun violence on “welfare moms” who, in collusion with doctors presumably, get their kids diagnosed with ADHD so that they can defraud the SSI system. If anyone can show me a single case where someone has been convicted of this kind of fraud, I will buy them a bottle of cheap champaigne that they can use to toast to the savings obtained by kicking poor kids off of disability.
For an encore, Lankford took a question from perpetual walking embarrassment Sally Kern, who feels that a state program to deal with mental health and substance abuse issues for LGBT citizens is a shadowy conspiracy by the president to “indoctrinate” the people of Oklahoma.
Lankford could have dodged this with an “ah, uh, well, that’s interesting.” evasion and moved on to the next question. Instead, he nodded along and responded that he would get it Taken Care Of using the “power of humiliation”. This statement is disappointing in the extreme, if not surprising. It doesn’t matter if Lankford was placating Kern or not, he stated that he wants to humiliate a group of people who already have a lot going against them (mental health and substance abuse problems are no cake walk) and the people who are trying to help them. It’s a sentiment unworthy of the United States Congress and unworthy of the city of Oklahoma City.
If the hype is to be believed, Oklahoma City is a friendly, open city that cares about diversity and progress. If we are truly “Open For Business” as signs around town proclaim, we should not add on an asterisk that says “Except gay people and other people that James Lankford personally doesn’t care for.” This sort of unenlightened, bigoted attitude is bad for Oklahoma City on a number of levels. Like it or not, this is a diverse city, and once one minority group is singled out and demonized, it’s reasonable to ask who will be next. Business leaders and community leaders have been trying to draw in jobs and skilled professionals from other cities, but every time one of these fringe statements by one of our representatives hits the national news, that becomes harder. We can’t be both a thriving, cosmopolitan, modern city and a parochial, intolerant backwater at the same time. We have to pick one or the other. There is a certain viewpoint, held by a thankfully small number of our neighbors, that OKC and Oklahoma and indeed America is a place designed exclusively for the comfort of white, evangelical protestant, straight, male citizens. Everyone else is here by invitation. It’s this attitude that finds it’s elitist values expressed eloquently by the far right fringe of the Republican party, a fringe that James Lankford has revealed himself to be a part of time and time again.
If you believe that Oklahoma City is a place that should welcome everyone, vote against James Lankford. If you already feel the power of humiliation practically every time he opens his mouth, you should vote against James Lankford. If you want to draw more quality jobs to Oklahoma City, vote against James Lankford. If you want your congressman to represent the needs of our district and not his own narrow viewpoint in Congress, vote against James Lankford. He was not qualified to be a congressman when he ran, and he has proven himself not qualified to represent us ever since. The Congressman should take an early retirement.
For your consideration are a few alternatives:
A quality alternative is Tom Guild:
A group working to stamp out “the power of humiliation in our state:
Ready to take action?
Let the Congressman know how you feel: