5 minute read

Plenty of evidence already suggests that Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt and the state’s two senators, James Lankford and Jim Inhofe, have taken their eyes off the ball when it comes to addressing Oklahoma’s climbing COVID-19 numbers. 

And now, they all have Georgia on their minds.

Oklahoma more than doubled its COVID-19 cases in the past month, moving from 35,563 for October to 74,983 for November. 

But Stitt, Inhofe and Lankford do not want to hear it, because now they are working to re-elect the U.S. Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler of Georgia, who will face respective challengers Jon Ossoff and the Rev. Raphael Warnock in a January 5 runoff election.

Opinion

Opinion

by George Lang, opinion writer for Free Press

To help alleged coronavirus inside traders Loeffler and Perdue retain their seats, Stitt and the senators will headline “Help Us Keep the Georgia Senate Seats Red” at noon Saturday at Castle Falls Restaurant and Venue, 801 N. MacArthur. 

For just $1,000 to $5,000 per couple, Republicans more concerned with Georgia than their own state can eat Swadley’s Bar-B-Q with Lankford, Inhofe and Stitt while basking in the glow of event co-host and Facebook incarnate Carol Hefner, who posted on Sunday, “4 more years and maybe more! God bless our Patriot President!”

Of course, if Warnock and Ossoff are held off on January 5, then Inhofe gets to retain his chairmanship of the Senate Armed Services Committee and Lankford continues as chair of the Senate Select Committee on (cough) Ethics. There is self-interest and self-preservation at work with “Help Us Keep the Georgia Senate Seats Red.” 

Sure, there are Oklahomans sending checks for Warnock and Ossoff, but most are assuredly not high-level elected officials sniffing around a state that is 850 miles away. 

Furthermore, why are Stitt, Inhofe and Lankford not marshaling their fundraising power to help fund more hospital beds in Oklahoma? Are human lives at home less important than a special election in another state? I would happily buy each of these men a Swadley’s $17.99 Oklahoma Sampler — over one pound of meat — if they would just do their damned jobs. 

Unfortunately, their recent behavior indicates they would prefer to do otherwise. 

Stitt became renowned for tone-deafness from the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, and it is spreading among his staff. On Thanksgiving weekend, Stitt’s chief of staff Bond Payne got ratio’d on Twitter for tweeting that local reporters were “eager to hype” coronavirus numbers. No evidence indicates this is happening at any media outlet — it was a total strawman argument. Reporters and media consumers alike brought receipts. Meanwhile, Payne’s boss refuses to instate a mask mandate when 37 other states have established such measures. 

Inhofe Lankford
Oklahoma Senators James Inhofe, (L) and James Lankford

Then, in an end of the day “dead drop” on Monday, Stitt’s office announced that Dec. 3 will be a statewide day of prayer and fasting for Oklahomans affected by coronavirus.

“Oklahomans have always turned to prayer to guide us through trials and seasons of uncertainty, and I am asking Oklahomans of all faiths and religious backgrounds to join together with me on Thursday,” Stitt said. “I believe we must continue to ask God to heal those who are sick, comfort those who are hurting and provide renewed strength and wisdom to all who are managing the effects of COVID-19.”

So, Stitt is willing to do more for Perdue and Loeffler than he is for Oklahomans suffering through the pandemic.

Praying can be good for some people’s emotional and spiritual well-being, but if you are praying for an ICU bed and one opens at an Oklahoma hospital, it is probably because someone did not make it. 

Also, what kind of dolt would call for a day of fasting when so many Oklahoma restaurants are struggling because of this disease? I mean, God might just ask Stitt for some clarification on that one. 

As for the senators, Lankford brought some health care workers Panera Bread for breakfast and then prayed with them, which begs the question of whether the junior senator might be more suited to starting a Christian Postmates alternative called EatPray. 

Meanwhile, both Inhofe and Lankford spent the month extolling faith-based adoption and sucking up to servicemembers as part of Military Appreciation Month while turning a blind eye to outgoing President Donald Trump pulling the U.S. out of the Treaty on Open Skies. It is all performative patriotism from both men as they saddle up for herd immunity and quietly pretend there was no presidential election.

Perhaps Oklahoma’s governor and senators are too far gone, blinded by political ill will to the real and growing needs of Oklahomans. 

But for those who are breaking out their platinum cards for tickets to “Help Us Keep the Georgia Senate Seats Red,” could I suggest a $1,000 to $5,000 donation to The Homeless Alliance or to a nonprofit struggling through the recession? Maybe pay someone’s rent for a few months while they recuperate from COVID-19? 

Any of that sounds far better than sending huge checks to help two people who allegedly profited in the stock market from COVID-related insider trading. Or just praying the  ‘rona away.


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