“All elections shall be free and equal.” – Oklahoma Constitution, Section III-5
There was a time once, when I thought that phrase meant something. Back when I was going to school learning about the political process in Civics class. You know, when you sit in learn about the American Revolution and what those Founding Fathers committed treason to obtain. They risked their lives and the lives of their families in order to bring about a system of government in which the people of the 13 Colonies could choose the people that represented their interests.
Can you imagine the pure determination and fear that must have run through the hearts and veins of those men as they each signed onto the Declaration of Independence? By signing that letter, they were putting themselves onto the top of England’s most wanted list. A list that was titled ‘Wanted, Dead or Alive.” These men then fought in a war to solidify their determination, their love of liberty, their desire to be ruled by the people for the people. Many people died in support of these treasonous heroes.
What would these men have to say if they were to have witnessed the actions of the Oklahoma government? What would they have said had they been in the room in 1974 when the Oklahoma Legislature wrote into law the Democratic and Republican parties? What would these men have said had they been in the room as those same people who were elected to represent the people of Oklahoma changed what was once a reasonable and fair law regarding the formation of new parties into the bastardization of the idea of fair representation we have now? What would these men have said as they witnessed the Oklahoma Legislature trample, ridicule and ignore the plight of Independent voters in this state? Perhaps they would have said something along these lines:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
That is certainly what they said when the English government repeatedly refused to acknowledge and listen to the pleas and petitions of the American people. Would they have said the same thing as they witnessed Oklahoma’s government do the same to the people of Oklahoma? I certainly think so. At the time, the English Government wasn’t a harsh ruler doling out punishments at will. No, it was simply an apathetic government which ignored the American Colonies in order to focus on building up the English Empire.
What we have right now in Oklahoma is an apathetic government. One that ignores the plight of the Oklahoma people in order to maintain and build up the empire of the two major parties, the Republican and Democratic parties. Let’s pause and think about the poetics of those two names. Both names are derived from the same roots of two words used to describe our system of government. A Democratic government is one in which all the people ruled under it have an equal voice in the affairs of the state. A Republic government is one in which the people elect representatives who represent the ideals of those who elect them. Both systems of government are built around the idea of equal representation. The Democratic government in which every voice is equal; the Republic government in which every person has an equal opportunity to elect a representative.
Think about that as you witness these two political parties usurp the will of the people. Think of that as you watch these two parties continually deny the people an equal voice in the affairs of this state. These two parties have become destructive to the unalienable rights of the people of this state. These two parties have decided that not everyone is created equal. These two parties have decided that they no longer derive their power by the will of the people. It is time we stopped them. It is time that we as a people, united, declared our independence from the rule of tyrants. It is time that we as a people, united, declared that we will no longer be satisfied for second class status.
I am tired of waiting for the Oklahoma Government to decide that it wants to give me back my right to be represented in our government. I am tired of sitting back and waiting for these two parties to decide to invite Independents out of the goodness of their hearts to participate in this Republic. It is time to declare our independence.
We have a system in this state in which the people can propose laws and the people can vote to enact them. This system was designed for times in which the people felt that the government could no longer be relied upon to do its duty. There are over 200,000 registered Independents in this state. We only need a bit over 100,000 signatures to declare a state question in which we can revert our election laws back to what can truly be called “free and equal”. We have the infrastructure to do this. It can be done.
What we need to do is put together an initiative petition to strike out the language that wrote the Republican and Democratic parties into law. We need to then revert the petition requirement to the original 5,000 that was required prior to 1974. Two very simple changes that will bring about a mountain of change in this state. That is my declaration of independence.