Because we are relational creatures, we are comfortable with relationships that we understand and we are wary of those we do not. We perceive that dogs do not like cats, and consequently when we see a family’s feline sunning on top of the family canine, we react with a chuckle or with wonder.
It is therefore natural when we see, for instance, a domestically raised tiger cub socialize and play with actual domestic animals, to wonder how long that tenuous relationship will last. In other words, what event or series of events will snap that scenario back into what we perceive as “reality.”
In the political realm, incivility in the United States House of Representatives and Washington D.C. gridlock in general appear to indicate that Ralph and Sam are at odds around the clock in our nation’s Capital. To the extent that Oklahoma’s two senators and five representatives contribute to the gridlock, voters this year in the Sooner State have the rare opportunity to communicate to both Senators and a U.S. Representative that they prefer civility over gridlock.
Closer to home, there are bright spots. I have been pleased seeing bipartisan relationships established and grow not only among freshmen, but also seasoned rural legislators who have shown the importance of leadership across party lines to protect counties like those in my district.
Yes, there are times that serious and genuine debate is held, but with the exception of 8 or 9 legislators, when the final vote is taken, we are able to go on to the next bill and address it without allowing any lingering ill will to interfere.
While I have only experienced two speakers in my first term as legislator, I can honestly say that Speaker Jeff Hickman is a fair and forthright legislator who manages the affairs of the Oklahoma House of Representatives with honesty, integrity and statesmanship. Speaker Hickman assessed leadership positions when he became Speaker of the House and made some necessary changes to eliminate areas of gridlock and partisanship.