We Don’t Need Another Hero - April 10, 2016
State Representative David Perryman
From just Mad Max in 1979 to the Road Warrior in 1981 and Beyond the Thunderdome four years later, Max Rockatansky, played by Mel Gibson, pursued revenge in a not-too distant future where societal institutions provided no protection from raw selfish ambition.
Some writers consider the original Mad Max as the most influential movie of the past forty years. While the plot opened eyes to how society might exist without social safety nets, it and a number of more recent movies conjure visions of vast areas of wasteland. Some of the wasteland is urban, industrial and rusted; some are rural, arid and unproductive. All are devoid of hope and human compassion.
Vacant storefronts in Oklahoma communities are disturbing to those of us who remember that it was not too long ago when those buildings had businesses in them. No one can point to a single reason why most of the small town retailers went out of business and it dwelling on that or placing blame at this point would serve little purpose.
What we do know is that across rural Oklahoma we have public schools that are frugally educating our children, with higher graduation rates, lower per pupil expenditures and greater success than most urban schools, regardless of type.
What we do know is that to live in rural Oklahoma, citizens must continue to have access to locally controlled schools. They must have quality health care in their communities and adequate fire protection for their homes, businesses, property and lives.
Citizens of rural Oklahoma have many of the same needs as urban areas when it comes to mental health services, law enforcement and water systems.
Just like rural Oklahoma needed electricity last century, it needs broadband today. There are many ways that a society might lose its infrastructure and those institutions that support a healthy and vibrant civilization. Some may be unavoidable, others are not.
In Mad Max Beyond the Thunderdome, Tina Turner sang a song pleading for hope for the future. “Out of the ruins, out from the wreckage/ Can’t make the same mistake this time/ We are the children, the last generation/ We are the ones they left behind/ And I wonder when we are ever gonna change it/ Living under the fear till nothing else remains/ We don’t need another hero/ We don’t need to know the way home/ All we want is life beyond the Thunderdome.
Questions and comments are welcome. David.Perryman@okhouse.gov or 405-557-7401.