Although I like to criticize our crazed right-wing legislators for the nutty, usually-unconstitutional law proposals they flood our state with each legislative session, I do like to give them credit for being experts at the craft of legislative grandstanding.
Seriously, I don’t think anybody does it better. If there’s a nutty idea out there that will rally their base, troll their adversaries, and get them a lot of media attention in the process – good or bad – they’ll have it packaged into a bill, heard before a committee, and pitched to a tipsy legislative aide at a bar before they knew what hit them.
For as good as Oklahoma Republicans are with this process, our Democrats seem equally as bad. That being said, some of them are now taking on their right-wing edge lord colleagues and coming up with their own grandstanding laws.
For example, State Rep. Forrest Bennett – the nice and chummy state rep from OKC with flowing locks and cornfed good looks who can charm the socks off any grandmother – thought he would prove some point, and get a lot of positive attention and “you’re so cool” love, after he introduced a bill that would make child support start at conception.
Naturally, it backfired. Check this out:
In 2013, the ironically named Custer County police not only brutally murdered 18-year-old Mah-hi-vist Red Bird Goodblanket—a Cheyenne Arapaho living in Oklahoma—but actually received medals for the senseless slaying a few days later. It makes you disgusted to be an Oklahoman, if you weren’t already.
I remember interviewing his mother Melissa a short time after the killing and, hearing the absolute pain in her voice as she described the traumatic events, I began crying too, unable to speak. Her story of what happened that night has always haunted me and, quite frankly, always will; no mother should experience what she has.
Almost a decade later however, her living pain has been replaced with a deeper love for her son, as she has actively tried to keep the intense memory—and, of course, wavering investigation—of Mah-hi-vist’s death alive. It’s chronicled in the startling new documentary Savage Land, which played recently at the Rodeo Cinema.