In the great GOPQ tradition of attacking non-existent problems in order to stigmatize minorities and encourage bigotry, the (not-so-)OK House is pushing the Save Women’s Sports Act, which would ban transgender students from participating in girls/women’s sports from kindergarten (got to protect those field days) through college.
Along with 361 voting restriction bills introduced in 47 states this year, anti-transgender sports legislation has been part of the coordinated 2021 Republican agenda. Similar bills have been filed in 20 states.
(A 2019 study by USA Today, The Center for Public Integrity and the Arizona Republic put Oklahoma in fifth place in introducing copy-and-paste legislation, most provided by special interest groups designed to benefit themselves, the rest designed to find somebody to hate.)
The House bill was shepherded through committee last week by Elgin Rep. Toni Hasenback. She ran for state senate as a Democrat in 2014. But, is a thorough-going Republican now. They can have her. Bigotry is a disqualifier under the big Democratic tent.
Reporting on the bill’s progress, Carmen Forman of The Oklahoman, said Hasenbeck’s goal was “to prevent biological female athletes from competing against ‘male-bodied athletes.’ She did not cite any specific examples in Oklahoma where that has been an issue.”
Of course she didn’t. Nor have any of the other hate-mongers in the other states. This is just Republicanism 101: proclaim a non-existent threat from anyone who is different and emphasize any differences over unirace similarities.
On cue, Rep. Justin Humphrey, chair of the House Criminal Justice and Corrections Committee, endorsed Hasenbeck’s action: “Thank you for the courage to run this bill.”
Such bravery! Spread a little hatred; get a little publicity. A 2015 survey found 215 transgender people in Oklahoma. If you want to talk about courage, consider these people living in a state that caters to hate.
Forman added: “Without citing evidence, Humphrey said there are ‘men who are acting as women’ that are shattering women’s athletic records.”
Humphrey cited no evidence because no evidence exists. But there is ample evidence that Republicans just lie and lie and lie.
Joining that chorus is Rep. Brad “Colored Babies” Boles, of Marlow, who was a co-sponsor of the Hate the Transgendered bill. He is the House sponsor of an “advanced recycling” bill, a misnomer, according to Johnson Bridgwater, executive director of the Oklahoma Sierra Club.
“’Advanced recycling,’ is actually ‘chemical plastics recycling,’” Bridgwater points out.
Just as the voter suppression acts have benign or positive nomenclature, Bridgwater remarks, “’Recycling’ makes this bill sound good—but this bill was written by, and is being promoted by, The American Chemistry Council, an industry lobbying group whose members include ExxonMobil, Dow, and DuPont.”
With such backers and similar movements in other states, this bill has the feel of a corporate cut-and-paste job.
Greenpeace calls advanced (or chemical) recycling a “false solution.”
In a Greenpeace report issued last September, Ivy Schlager noted, “Many chemical recycling technologies co-opt ‘circular economy’ language, but upon investigation, these circular claims fall flat. First, waste-to-fuel and plastic-to-fuel using heat processes (gasification or pyrolysis) to combust the waste or plastic into materials such as diesel jet fuel marketed to airlines, waxes, or lubricants, and the engineering nature of these processes, do not readily produce oil or gas able to be used as a drop-in solution for plastic manufacturing. Thus, these products are more likely to be combusted rather than recycled.”
That’s up in a toxic smoke of “dioxins and volatile organic compounds in the places where these facilities are built,” Bridgwater says.
“This is a bait-and-switch,” Schlager continues, “as the world is already awash in oil and gas, and more of it is not needed. In fact, virgin plastic is cheaper than recycled plastic precisely because the fossil fuels used to produce it are so plentiful. There is no evidence that the marketing of the fuels generated from the burning of waste actually reduces oil and gas exploration or production, or demand for virgin plastic resin. Plastic-to-fuel does not solve a plastic production problem, but instead aims to solve a waste management problem. It should be underscored that waste-to-fuel and plastic-to-fuel are not ‘recycling’; rather, they are material destruction.”
No Green New Deal for Republicans. For them, the greening of the Union means getting as many greenbacks as possible into the tills of their corporate bosses.
(Gary Edmondson is chair of the Stephens County Democratic Party: scdpok.us or facebook.com/SCDPOK/.)