I had the opportunity to attend a town hall meeting by U.S. Rep. James Lankford. With serious issues confronting us today, I'm amazed that my fellow Oklahomans are concerned with when President Obama will impose martial law in America. Or why America surrenders its sovereignty to the United Nations. Do Oklahomans ask why elected leaders are failing the American people? Lankford said he was as frustrated as anybody with the failure of Congress and seems to put the blame for failure on the Senate. He fails to assign any responsibility to the tea party ideology and an insistence on supporting candidates that are so radical that they can't be supported by a majority of Americans.
Obama isn't an enemy of the state. He's a liberal president with whom a majority of Oklahomans disagree. While he may not have won a single county in the state, he did win the election in 2008 with 52.9 percent of the vote and 365 electoral votes.
Scott Willis, Edmond
Federal government requiring businesses to pay for chemical abortions
Leila Abolfazli (Your Views, Oct. 7) said Hobby Lobby is suing the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services because of the mandate to provide birth control at no cost in its insurance plan. Had she bothered to inform herself of the facts, she'd know that Hobby Lobby covers birth control in its plan. Hobby Lobby is suing because of the mandate to cover the morning-after pill and other abortifacients. When these products were first introduced, the abortion industry assured the public that they wouldn't be used for birth control. They were only for emergency situations. Now they're telling us these products are birth control.
Hobby Lobby has no problem with providing coverage for legitimate birth control products. Its only problem is with the federal government requiring it to provide a chemical abortion.
Thomas Day, Mustang
Absence of facts
The tyranny of the majority
Leila Abolfazli (Your Views, Oct. 7) shows a surprising absence of facts. Arguing The Oklahoman compared this employer choice to an individual's right to refuse a vaccination requires more contortions than a circus performer. The National Women's Law Center attempted to link the two topics. The Oklahoman refuted the argument. The foundation of the editorial's argument was that companies are inherently run by one or more individuals whose freedom to exercise religious beliefs are enshrined in the First Amendment.
Abolfazli wrote, “True religious freedom gives everyone the right to make personal decisions ...” Except in this case it doesn't. No employer can prevent a woman from obtaining any form of birth control. Period. End of story. The only freedom being trampled upon is the employer decision not to subsidize that choice. What's next? Mandatory vasectomy coverage? Virtually all employer plans cover the use of birth control when used to treat underlying medical conditions such as endometriosis. The debate centers upon the elective use of these treatments in a manner that employers choose not to support.
The truth is much simpler. The NWLC and others have found a way for their supporters to get something paid for, in part, by someone else. If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's probably a duck. Lord Acton was right: “The one pervading evil of democracy is the tyranny of the majority ...” That's precisely why we have the Bill of Rights, and specifically the First Amendment.
Andrew Oster, Edmond
Relationships with students most important in school district
On behalf of Stillwater Public Schools administration, the Board of Education, staff and students, I would like to thank the citizens of Oklahoma for their continued love and support during our time of tragedy. Throughout these tough times, I was constantly reminded of the caring state we live in and thankful for the support our students and staff received.
As Stillwater Public Schools moves forward through the healing process, we'll stay focused on creating a thoughtful and proactive plan, instead of reactive. We'll examine our current practices as they relate to helping students. The majority of our counselors' time is spent on career awareness, state testing and class schedules. Creating a plan so that counselors are more readily available to students is something we're discussing. Stillwater Public Schools is also reviewing the training our staff receives in the areas of suicide and depression awareness.
Stillwater Public Schools is a high-performing district in academics, the arts and athletics and we'll continue this expectation. However, the bottom line is relationships with students. Our goal is to have all of our almost 6,000 students positively connect with at least one adult in our system.
Ann Caine, Stillwater
Caine is superintendent of Stillwater Public Schools. Eighth-grade student Cade Poulos died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound Sept. 26 in a Stillwater Junior High hallway.
Teen drivers' best asset
Teen driver safety begins with parent involvement
Parents are the key to teen driver safety. The more involved parents are in their teens' driving life, the safer these teens will be on the road. In recognition of Teen Driver Safety Week, which starts Sunday, AAA Oklahoma urges parents to:
Be role models. Our children pick up more from how we act than we know. Kids typically subconsciously mimic the driving behaviors of their parents.
Set rules. Oklahoma has a pretty good teen graduated driver licensing law. It sets limits on where novice drivers can drive, at what hours and with how many passengers. But conscientious parents will take these rules to the next level by imposing guidelines on cellphone use while driving, texting, use of seat belts, highway driving and alcohol.
Stay involved. Communication between teen and parent is vital. Ask your kids where they're going, who they'll be with, what roads they'll be on and when they'll be back. When they return, ask them about their driving experiences. How was it? Any problems? Did you encounter any unusual driving scenarios? Talk it out.
Parents not only have the answers, they are the answer to reducing teen drivers' risk on the road. For help, visit www.TeenDriving.AAA.com.
Chuck Mai, Oklahoma City
Mai is vice president of public affairs for AAA Oklahoma.