Playing Well With Others

PLAYING WELL WITH OTHERS…FOR THE COMMON GOOD - February 1, 2013

State Representative David Perryman

In the early 1960’s as baseball great Yogi Berra watched Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris repeatedly hit back to back home runs, he exclaimed, “It’s ‘Déjà vu’ all over again.”

Over the past several weeks, memories of starting first grade have evoked similar emotions.  You remember the feelings of “anxious apprehension” and the experience of getting a new lunch box, a Big Chief Tablet and an oversized “primary pencil” for the first time.

Entering grade school produced, simultaneously, the exhilaration of following in the footsteps of an older sibling and the stress of change and new surroundings with new rules.

Becoming acclimated as a State Representative carries with it feelings of Yogi’s “Déjà vu” all over again.”  Being assigned an office in the capitol building and a desk on the floor of the Oklahoma House of Representatives and learning the “house rules” is eerily reminiscent of starting to school for the first time.

I am honored to represent the people of House District 56 and as the 2013 legislative session begins this week, I look forward to hearing your views and discussing with you the reasons that you feel the way that you do.

I would also invite you to come to the capitol to visit.  A friend told me today that she recently brought her 76 year old grandfather to the capitol.  Her grandfather was born and raised less than 60 miles from Oklahoma City and had never before set foot in the building.  The capitol building is beautiful and the murals, portraits, sculptures, and other art work are well worth the trip.

As the 54th legislature of the State of Oklahoma convenes and I meet other members, new and old, I am reminded of Robert Fulghum’s 1988 book, “All I Really Needed to Know, I Learned in Kindergarten.”  Relationships that I have formed with other legislators on both sides of the aisle make it clear that bi-partisan cooperation is the only way to overcome the gridlock and angry isolation that partisan hatred has brought to our democracy on both a state and federal level.

Contrary to the poisonous propaganda spouted by talk radio and national news networks on the right AND on the left, there is a Common Good that most legislators want to achieve.  Some of the rules of civility that Fulghum’s book captures are: Play fair… Don’t hit people… Clean up your own mess… Say you are SORRY when you HURT someone…and perhaps the most important, when you go out in life, watch for traffic, hold hands and stick together.

Fulghum’s underlying points are that “we are all in this together and we should treat others as we would like to be treated.” These are the fundamental truths that we hope underpin the deliberations and votes of each and every Senator and Representative.

I am sure that there will be times that my vote will not be identical to the vote that you would have cast, but I pledge that I will be available to discuss with you clearly and respectfully why I voted the way that I did.

There are a number of issues that must be addressed this session, like workers compensation, health care, the debate over second amendment rights, the funding of Mental Health programs as well as a myriad of education issues. That debate should be coherent, civil and well-reasoned.  If it is not, the best interest of Oklahomans will not be served.

The goal of the legislature should not be to favor one group over another.  It should not be to punish corporations or to provide corporate welfare.  The goal of the legislature should not be to redistribute wealth or enact policies or programs that will quash creativity or impair work ethic.  The goal of the legislature should not be to cut the cost of doing business in Oklahoma to the detriment of employees.

The goal of the legislature, plainly and simply, should be to engage in honest debate and enact legislation that is in the best interest of Oklahomans, will best serve the Common Good, and most likely improve the quality of life of Oklahomans.

Sure, there are divergent views on what will be best, but those who refuse to engage in honest debate and who hurl terms like DINO (Democrat In Name Only) from the left and RINO (Republican In Name Only) from the right represent the crux of the intolerant selfish, impenitent partisans who see every issue as their way or the highway.

During and at the conclusion of this session, voters will be inundated by “report cards” produced by special interest groups that purport to grade legislators on how they voted in relation to a particular special interest.  I will provide more on the abuse of those report cards later.

In the meantime, stay engaged, watch streaming video at www.okhouse.gov and track the debate on those bills that interest you.  An informed and educated electorate is imperative to the survival of our democracy.

Thanks for reading this installment of the COMMON GOOD and thank you for allowing me to serve as your State Representative.  I want to know what is on your mind and your thoughts on improving the quality of life in District 56.  Please email me at David.Perryman@okhouse.gov or call at 405-557-7401 or 405-222-3600 or toll free at 1-800-522-8502.