OPINION — Hulu’s adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale returns for its fourth season this week. For those who can stand watching a hyper-realistic depiction of life under a sociopathic government that exploits the many for the benefit of the few, it is a compelling experience.
Or, you could simply watch the past couple of weeks of Oklahoma legislation and get the same story of subjugation, one that could lead to the loss of National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) events like the Women’s College World Series (WCWS) and their positive economic impact.
One day after Oklahoma paused to remember loved ones who were killed in one of the worst acts of domestic terrorism in American history, the Oklahoma State Legislature committed something akin to legislative domestic terrorism when it passed Senate Bill 2. This bill, which serves no purpose other than to exclude and subjugate, bans transgender girls and women from participating in sports at the elementary, secondary, or post-secondary level that reflect their gender identity.
Conservative legislators who voted overwhelmingly in favor of SB 2 claimed they passed the bill to protect women from supposedly being overwhelmed by competition from transgender athletes. This would scan if it weren’t for Gov. Kevin Stitt signing into law anti-abortion, anti-woman legislation that will go into effect if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.
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Another new law signed by Stitt, HB 1674, grants immunity to those who run over protesters blocking streets, who now have so much to protest and so many opportunities to get killed through sanctioned vehicular manslaughter.
We should oppose oppressive legislation like SB 2 on principle, but if arbitrary cruelty is not enough, look at the economic impact. Based on a wide range of analyses, the WCWS brings $13-$24 million into the Oklahoma economy each year, and about 70 percent of those dollars come from out-of-state visitors.
We felt the pain with last year’s cancellation due to COVID-19, and now Oklahoma seems to be moving toward what was an entirely avoidable, completely elective loss.
Recent and substantial improvements to the USA Softball Hall of Fame Complex could all be for nothing if Oklahoma loses the WCWS.
Restaurants, hotels and other service industries must still grapple with the economic slowdown that resulted from COVID-19. Now, Oklahoma’s most conservative politicians, who supposedly support economic development, are slashing the tires on the Oklahoma economy before it can even get rolling again.
Despite setbacks during the Trump Administration, American jurisprudence generally moves toward providing more rights for more people. Even when progress moves slowly, as it has for people of color, indigenous people, people of non-Christian faith and LGBTQ+ Americans, our nation rarely takes rights away from its citizens.
This is why, despite 50 years of battle in the courts and in the streets, Roe v. Wade is still the law of the land, and despite fear-mongering by National Rifle Association propaganda over the same time period, the Second Amendment still stands.
The NCAA seems to know this, and that is why Oklahoma could lose the WCWS.
I sincerely wish our state did not elect malevolent theocrats to the legislature or the Governor’s Office, but these hateful absolutists win every time Oklahomans stay home en masse on Election Day. We now see just the latest results of that apathy.
In the Handmaid’s Tale adaptation, we see an America, renamed Gilead, that has become a pariah state and is treated as such by most other nations, which no longer do business with it and conduct the kind of diplomacy usually reserved for countries like Myanmar. It has committed multiple genocides in an effort to hand enormous power to a few “commanders.” Anyone who does not at least pay lip service to the gross, hateful and exploitative government is sent to the “colonies” to die. Other countries see Gilead as a government to shun and a people who lack basic civil rights.
In the hands of Stitt, OKGOP director John Bennett and Speaker of the House Charles McCall, Oklahoma is setting itself up to become a Gilead.
Last Updated April 28, 2021, 6:20 PM by Brett Dickerson – Editor