Oklahoma! sang, “We know we belong to the land,” but the land has not been too grand.
It doesn’t seem like Oklahoma is doing fine, as the government’s alternative plans have some citizens confused on what force is influencing it. With the state consistently representing itself as a Republican state since 1968, along with today’s governor Kevin Stitt implementing poorly planned laws, it has struck the minds of audiences who oppose his ideas. Thanks to Oklahoma’s “most pro-life governor,” Oklahoma is considered a pro-life state, as stated by Governor Stitt. And it’s not even just health care that is the issue. The education system is questionable, poverty and gun violence are terrible, society is just in a jumble.
Not all opinions go the same way. Stitt believes that a good portion of what he’s doing benefits everyone, while in reality, not everyone is satisfied. Take it from OCCC student, Ises Mathews who does not agree with the government’s motives.
“I wish he could actually look into different things and not just BS and say, ‘Oh, I’m going to do this and do that’ and not do it.” she expresses.
Even this Anonymous Male does not like him, especially after Stitt’s negative publicity.
“I don’t like him man…overall, like, the things that I can actually see that he’s done on the news and stuff. It’s kind of ridiculous,” he states.
Along with that, OCCC student Jasmin Chess believes that “Kevin Stitt has failed us as people in multiple ways”, referencing our education system, abortions, and the Julius Jones case.
She states, “starting with our education system, especially marginalized communities see the worst, I feel like with the underfunding and things like that…And then also, abortion. I feel like that was a decision that’s not in the care of everyone…that decision was not made for the betterment of like women or anything, I feel like it was a decision made for him to feel more powerful…feel like he has more control over women…And also, with the Julius Jones case, I feel like that just showed how little care and how easy it is for people to discard of black lives.”
This shows not everyone is fond of Stitt’s decisions. But what has Stitt done for the state of Oklahoma? Other than signing “every pro-life bill that comes across his desk”, including banning abortions, he’s made changes to the education system by limiting what can be taught in schools, and worked to increase infrastructures as well as job growth. All in hopes to make Oklahoma a Top Ten State.
When it comes to schools, Stitt is all about it. According to the 2021 Annual Accomplishment Report, he’s worked to keep the buildings open for the student along with supporting teachers and keeping track of the funds. He’s even put $3.2 billion into funding education. Although, after the passing of HB 1775, it leaves history at stake.
HB 1775 refers to the ban of teaching critical race theory in schools. It basically eliminates the prejudice of what one race or gender has done to one another throughout history. Truly, this censors history and disguises terror with mildness. It’s altering the story.
Chess believes that the funding could be handled much better, and along with that, she thinks there should be better training in terms of inclusion.
“The education system should be better funded. Not only that, but also, I feel like as far as curriculum and things go, we could do a lot of things that could make our education system more inclusive. To people of different cultures and different backgrounds. Especially like with the passing of HB 1775, which kind of takes away from that. Making school like a more inclusive place, especially as far as like, diversity training and things like that go, I feel like there’s a lot of areas we can grow in.”
In a similar perspective, Anonymous believes that the system is not on point.
He expresses, “I feel like it’s probably not adequate. I remember, a couple of years ago looking it up, and I think our public schools are rated really low. Almost like 50th out of all the states. Really low in terms of public education.”
Stated on World Population Review, Oklahoma is ranked 43rd out of 50 in best education for 2022.
To sum things up, as said by Mathews, for Oklahoma’s education, “It could be better.”
When it comes to healthcare this state crumbles and with Roe V. Wade being overturned, it has caused a complete abortion ban with no consideration to women’s health. Although he has aided with COVID-19 relief, he is still missing areas of opportunities for those that need benefits.
Mathews has been through a struggle with Medicare, where her funds could not cover the full bill.
She states, “I had troubles with Medicare because I went to the ER a couple times, and I had to pay out of pocket because it did not cover all of it…So I think Medicare and also the other health care coverage that covers different people can be better.”
For Chess, she thinks healthcare is “okay”. But in terms of abortion, it should be a “healthcare right everyone should have.”
She expresses, “…especially in marginalized communities, and like women of color and stuff like that. But I feel like health care overall for Oklahoma, I feel like it’s pretty okay. But whenever we’re talking abortion rights, I feel like that is a healthcare necessity that we’re taking away from people who are really going to need it.”
In another perspective, Anonymous sees health care more as a tough balance in terms of the support being provided.
“I think overall, it’s still partly accessible. Whenever people can’t get a job or something like that, it’s a little bit more difficult for them. Or if they earn a little bit too much, they’re not able to get free health care. And then they have to pay premiums and stuff on top of that. So, I would say overall, it is a pretty hard issue to balance out. It’s going to take a very long time to really solve it.” Anonymous explains.
According to the Healthcare Rankings from US News, Oklahoma comes in at the 48th spot. Healthcare can be seen in a gray area, but it truly depends on the situation. It could be better.
Even though these two subjects are impactful to the state’s function, there are still other matters that are not addressed as often as they should be.
For instance, Anonymous sees climate change as a big deal, especially with the extreme heat this summer.
“There’s not a lot of focus on that in the political sphere. They will talk about it, but it’s not very emphasized…in terms of burning fossil fuels, people are not really paying attention to it,” he expresses.
Another one, quoted by Mathews is human trafficking. She sees it “go over a lot of people’s heads” as this is a nationwide problem. Reports from World Population Review show that Oklahoma suffers from 2.72 traffics for every 100,000 people. It’s better than Nevada with 7.5, but there should not be any cases to start with.
In all honesty, Oklahoma is O.K., but it still needs improvement. Certain parts of living are adaptable, but the little satisfaction does not benefit those who are on the other side.
Stitt came in as the governor in hopes to make Oklahoma a Top Ten state, but the sources and citizens disagree with his claim. Matter of fact, it seems Oklahoma is recognized in the bottom ten more often than not.
For Anonymous, he is “pretty dissatisfied with Oklahoma’s government”. Between abortion rights, the overwhelming amount of red influence the state carries along with the traditions it remains, he believes “we can’t really fight it if you’re on the other side, per se.”
Mathews believes the system is corrupt. She’s witnessed the system take more control over society, and believes most of their actions are unnecessary.
She expresses, “Oklahoma can be better, especially with the new outright of abortions, you can’t have an abortion no more now…they’re having an opinion on same sex marriages, and now they’re trying to incorporate birth control and all this other stuff. Why come in and change something when it was already set in stone? It’s making this a whole disastrous thing.”
In a similar perspective, Chess does not agree with the ideals the government influences, and presumes the lack of inclusion and the government’s closed mindedness.
“We’re obviously like a red state, which I don’t really agree with a lot of Republican ideals…But I feel like we should have people that represent more diverse perspectives and outlooks. Oklahoma’s government is very uniform. We’re very conservative, not open minded…they can grow in ways that are going to help more communities, outside of what’s been normalized…Oklahoma’s government really only works in the favor of white males…There’s a lot of things our government can do to make Oklahoma more inclusive and more open minded,” she states.
Out of the three interviewees, none of them believe Oklahoma is a worthy Top Ten State, and it’s understandable why.
For those who are unaware, Stitt’s term ends January 9, 2023. There’s a chance someone can replace him in office, as well as redirecting Oklahoma’s path. Such as Democrat Joy Hofmeister who is running against him.
But before elections get started, Stitt still has months left in the capitol. It’s unknown what his plans are before this time, but he could use some considerations.
First off, Mathews thinks he should do more research on his lawmaking as well as investing more into being a man of his word.
Since it feels like “we’re going backwards,” Chess believes he should not take any more action in office.
Even though Anonymous is aware “he’s stuck in his ways,” he wishes for more attention on schools and the economic system.
It’s hard to have an opinion at times, but people learn to recognize when enough is enough. Business is one thing, but the health and quality of humanity is another. The future politicians need to keep personal values out of the office. Then hopefully, Oklahoma can rise to the Top Ten.