Stephens County Republicans are hosting a coronavirus superspreader event at the Fairgrounds Saturday. With COVID-19 deaths on the rise again and a Southern summer surge predicted to follow a Northern winter surge, Duncan-area Republicans are welcoming what they remind us is the second largest gathering of Republicans in the state – behind only state conventions.
Last month, the Coachella music gathering in the California desert preceded a 78 percent increase in daily COVID cases in Riverside County, with the realization that most festival goers returned home elsewhere.
Among those scheduled to eat fish, press the flesh and put everyone at risk is Gov. Kevin Stitt, who has demonstrated zero concern for the public welfare during the pandemic – or in his removal of qualified medical experts from state health panels.
Two questions for our governor:
(1) How many folks did you kill with proud disinformation, your Trumpian refusal to acknowledge sound science?
(2) What did you accomplish with your foolish loyalty but unnecessary death?
But, don’t expect answers. Republican disdain for science and facts is as much a part of their dogma as repeating their Big Lie that Republican officials in Republican states stole the presidential election from the Republican candidate. Since then, they and allies at Faux News and other propaganda outlets have weaponized that lie to set the groundwork for their very real efforts toward future fraudulent elections.
Along with spreading coronavirus variants, we can count on fish fry attendees to be spreading their big-hate bigotry. President Donald Trump’s anti-Chinese wording fueled a greater than 300 percent increase in hate crime against Asian-Americans. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s anti-Hispanic actions exacerbated the supply shortage by stopping Mexican trucks at the border and keeping them idle until perishable produce perished.
Not to be outdone, Gov. Stitt, evidently an enrolled Cherokee, has waged a constant war against Oklahoma’s First Nations, working to undo what had been successful bipartisan cooperation between the state and the tribes. Gaming compacts, hunting/fishing agreements and mutual cooperation for public safety have gone from well-meshed productivity to limbo.
I guess we should expect some bigotry from a party which elected Islamophobe John Bennett as state party chair. Now running for Congress, Bennett once called Islam a “cancer in our nation that needs to be cut out.” He also wants to disestablish tribal sovereignty.
Republicans love to find scapegoats – even if it means creating straw-bogeys such as transgendered people, who form a miniscule portion of the population. They consider human rights to precious to share.
The virus of misogyny will also be in the air Saturday. You can’t find much greater hypocrisy than that exhibited by politicians who screamed like disgruntled toddlers against life-saving masks or vaccinations as invasions of their private and personal space – and then turned around and told women that they and their doctors have no say in personal medical situations.
Of course, they claim that their anti-woman, anti-choice votes are grounded in religion. But, it is their particular religious brand that they are legislating. Other religions have different standards for the beginning of life.
“Originalist” interpreters of the U.S. Constitution should see that this violates the First Amendment prohibition against “an establishment of religion,” but, considering that some current members of the Supreme Court LIED about Roe v. Wade during their Senate hearings, we can expect their established hypocrisy to continue.
And Gov. Stitt’s defeated school voucher plan was yet another effort to force all Oklahomans to tithe to church schools – regardless of our individual beliefs – to promote indoctrination instead of education.
So, a super-red county in one of the reddest states is inviting the faithful to congregate.
At the end of March, Arielle Mitropoulos reported on Good Morning America that, “An ABC News analysis of federal data found that on average, the death rates in states that voted for Trump were more than 38 percent higher than in states that voted for Biden, post widespread vaccine availability.”
Yeah, prove your unswerving loyalty to dangerous ignorance – even if it kills you.
And, along with sharing their deliberate vulnerability to a still-deadly coronavirus, Republicans will be sharing their anti-intellectualism, their disdain for human rights, and their propensity for scapegoating, misogyny, propagating propaganda, fraudulent elections and an intolerant theocracy – viruses identified by Lawrence Britt in 2003 as seven of the 14 characteristics of fascism, and as deadly to republics as COVID-19 is to people.
(Gary Edmondson is chair of the Stephens County Democratic Party. Longer versions of his columns can be found at scdpok.us or facebook.com/SCDPOK/.)