The Mary Fallin era is officially over! I guess.
Yesterday afternoon, “Have You Heard He’s A Businessman?” Kevin Stitt was officially sworn in as the 28th Governor of Oklahoma during a cold, subdued inauguration ceremony at the Oklahoma capitol.
Although Stitt is an alleged Oklahoma GOP outsider, the event felt like your standard Oklahoma GOP affair. It featured a bunch of white people speaking, a bunch of white people praying, and a bunch of white people celebrating that, despite eight years of Mary Fallin, they still get to run the state. In fact, I think the official theme of the event was “It’s good to be white!”
If you’re lonely and have an hour to spare, you can watch the entire ceremony above. Or you can just read this recap instead.
Naturally, the whole thing got started with a white choir singing some boring Baptist hymnals:
I know the Oklahoma ruling class is whiter than Christina Fallin dressed like a geisha, but you’d think they could have at least found one person of color to be in the choir. I’m white, and I even feel uncomfortable being around that many white people.
After the choir rocked people to sleep, the host of the event – Corbin McGuire – took to the stage. He’s an old college buddy of Kevin Stitt and helped run his gubernatorial campaign. To fit with the event’s overall theme, he’s about as white as a Corbin can be:
Corbin woke the audience from slumber and spent a few minutes kissing Kevin’s ass. I think in Tulsa they call it giving someone an “Oral Roberts.” He shared old memories and anecdotal stories about how the two would travel the country in the 1990s, selling weird books, crashing Promise Keeper meetings, and fighting gang wars against Mormon missionaries, all while dreaming about a future in politics and being banned to conduct business in certain states.
He closed with a tidbit about the moment he knew Kevin was special, and shared this remark:
“Starting tomorrow, and over the course of the four years, you’re finally going to get a chance to see Governor Stitt in action.”
Yep, we’re going to get to see Governor Stitt in action. I’m sure that will get us some page views, especially if it involves eyebrows.
At this point, the ass-kissing segment of the inauguration winded down, and Corbin began to introduce a bunch of old white people we really don’t care about it. You know the drill – former governors, corporation commissioners, lawmakers, judges, “newly elected officials of the executive branch of government,” etc.
After 10 minutes, the honorable Governor Mary Fallin appeared, and as the patriotic tune Stars and Stripes Forever delivered its joyous cadence, she walked down the capitol steps, experiencing for the final time what it’s like to be the most unpopular and disliked Governor in the country. Surprisingly, no one booed, which I guess means there were not any teachers or OSU fans in the crowd.
I think the person who enjoyed that the most was Mary ‘s husband – Wade Christensen. He now finally gets to enjoy spending time with his wife at his Mediterranean lake home.
Mary was followed by the couple of the hour – Kevin and Sarah Stitt. They waved to the crowd, acted gubernatorial, and took a seat.
This was followed by a prayer by a white minister. It was over two minutes long and, hopefully, way more effective than the prayers given at Mary Fallin’s inauguration. Then we were greeted with the standard mix of patriotic indoctrination stuff, like reciting The Pledge of Allegiance, singing the national anthem, honoring fallen soldiers, singing God Bless America, etc. The only thing it was missing was a few fireworks and the Pride of Oklahoma marching on the stage playing You’re a Grand Old Flag.
Following the American Exceptionalism hour, some judge came on the stage and began swearing in all the other elected officials. This led to the highlight of the inauguration: Labor Commissioner Leslie Osborne leaving State School Superintendent Joy Hofmeister totally hanging.
Man. Osborn totally left Hofmeister hanging. pic.twitter.com/9482gqbZ5V
— The Lost Ogle (@TheLostOgle) January 15, 2019
That’s funny. Lt. Governor Matt Pinnell getting nervous and forgetting his lines was a close number two moment.
Following all that, Kevin Stitt was sworn in. He did it proudly and with confidence, like he was about to testify to government regulators investigating his business practices.
He then took to the stage and delivered his inauguration address. It was your standard minor league political speech. It focused on the vague “Make Oklahoma a Top 10” state generalities he promised on the campaign trail and ventured into the standard inauguration speech cliches – we’re going to work hard, Oklahoma people are the best, the future is tomorrow today yesterday, you know the drill.
The Tulsa World has the full transcript here. Some highlights…
I moved around a little bit as a kid — attended first grade in Wayne, Oklahoma, population 700, and then graduated from Norman High School. I spent many summers in Skiatook helping my grandparents on their dairy farm and spent Sundays in church listening to my dad preach.
Kevin Stitt lived in Wayne? I bet the people of Payne are pissed! I wonder if he worked at the Oklahoma Horseshoe School (South Campus) during summers?
Two years ago, the idea of running for governor was still just a small mustard seed. I traveled the country visiting my offices in other states, seeing their economies take off and thrive. They were recovering from our nation’s historic recession. I would then come home to the state that I love to find us struggling, stuck at the bottom in every category that matters.
The idea of running for governor was still just a small mustard seed? Geez. That guy Stitt hired from Sonic has really hit the ground running!
Seriously, what does that even mean? Mustard seed? I get half the metaphor. Seeds are supposed to represent growth, because they grow into something, right? But what does a mustard seed grow into? A bottle of mustard? I’m confused.
In general, the Inaugural Speech was forgettable. It sounded a lot like one of those “rah rah rah” speeches that corporate executives give to front-line employees at some call center, which makes sense, because Kevin Stitt has probably done that at countless call centers. On a positive note, it didn’t appear to plagiarize NPR.
Following the speech, they brought out that Olivia kid that performs at every Republican event to sing Oklahoma! I guess Darci Lynne was booked. Then another white guy came out and lead a prayer for all the (white) people in the audience. Once again, that was the theme.
At that point, Kevin was introduced as governor. He and Sarah walked to the top of the Capitol, and in the spot where they’ll probably try to install the next 10 Commandments monument, waved to the crowd while some guy in a hat tried to hide behind a column like Meg Alexander.
And then, then much like this article, the inauguration ended and everyone partied.
We’d like to congratulate Kevin Stitt on winning the Governor’s race. We look forward to providing extremely fair and balanced reporting of his mistakes. It should be fun. He has large open-toed shoes to fill.