A Little Revolution in Norman
By Shane SmithOn the evening of April 5th, amid an atmosphere thick with the smell of burgers, beer, tacos, and tension, a crowd of fervent supporters of Larry Heikkila’s mayoral candidacy crowded into the overflow room at Red Rock Canyon Grill, eyes glued to the overhead monitor as updated vote totals rolled in for both Breea Clark and Larry. Norman’s new mayor would be chosen that night, and victory, so it seemed at the time, teetered on a razor’s edge.
Larry’s total was down by a few hundred votes at the outset, but as the percentage of counted votes increased, the gap between he and Clark shrank, with Larry eventually outstripping the incumbent mayor. At 60% Larry had a clear lead, and tentative cheers broke out among the crowd. Tensions evaporated as we watched Larry’s lead increase steadily. At 80% it was in the bag. Strangers high-fived and hugged, glasses clinked, and the watch party transformed into a raucous celebration.
When victory was all but confirmed, I lightly tapped Larry on the shoulder, congratulated him while addressing him as mayor-elect. Smiling, he responded, “And who wrote the very first article?” Thank you, sir.
Shortly thereafter, Larry addressed the room to joyous cheer and applause. He then prayed over us, over Norman, and one of his phrases stuck with me: “Lord, banish the evil people.” While the loony Left later boiled over his choice of words, I felt a wave of relief the moment he spoke them. I knew what he meant, as did everyone else in the room. We know who the evil people are, we know their insidious ways, and we know how deeply they’ve reached into every corner of society, infecting it, diminishing in turn the lives of everyone else.
I left the restaurant with the feeling as if a great weight had been lifted. Over the next few days I mulled over the meaning and significance of Larry’s victory.
Equal parts intellect and integrity, Larry Heikkila is the antithesis of his political opponent, and his win augurs a return to normalcy for Norman. It was a jettisoning of the authoritarian agenda that Norman had been rolling towards with every increasing speed. This return to normalcy was the simple message of Larry’s campaign, but amid the militant Leftist ideology that had poisoned the body politic of many blue cities, normalcy is truly a revolutionary message to rally behind. And we did rally. Hours, days, and weeks of door-knocking, sign-waving, all because we loved our city and refused to stand by and watch it slowly decay via the rot of left-wing ideology, as has been the fate of so many formerly-great American cities, captured and strangled by the destructive politics of the Left.
I had a chance to speak with Larry several days after his victory. “Well, I’m completely down the rabbit hole!,” he tells me. In response to my question regarding how his post-election schedule was looking, he joked, “I just got off the phone with a group of people wanting to meet, so I checked my calendar and asked them, would midnight work?”
He marveled at the fact that his victory was so widely covered in the national news. “People talk like I’m some messiah, but I’m just a guy who wants to fix his city before it’s too late.” I responded by telling him THAT is the very reason everyone rallied around him so forcefully and gave so much time and effort into ensuring that he won. Never underestimate the power of the message of normalcy amid the nightmare of Left-wing utopian politics. Norman has been a hive of it, but no longer.
What did mayor-elect Larry see as his immediate agenda the moment he takes office on July 5th? “Police. Get the funding that they need. We have a duty to keep the citizens safe, and we can only do that if the police have the resources they need to accomplish that. Tackle the homeless situation. Take a long look at the budget and fix any deficiencies. Also, the city of Norman is being sued all the time because we make bad decisions. That is something that needs to be fixed immediately.”
I asked him in particular about masks and lockdowns, and what he would do if the medical establishment demanded that he reinstate either. “No, we won’t be doing that.” He went on to say that if someone wanted to wear a mask, they had every right to do so, but there would be no force applied by the city.
I later reflected on the deeper meaning of Larry’s win, the reason for the political earthquake the epicenter of which was Red Rock Canyon Grill at approximately 8pm on April 5th. The meaning is this: the Left is not inevitable, nor is their nightmarish future they openly work towards. They are not invincible, they can be defeated. In the immortal words of Predator’s Dutch, “If it bleeds, we can kill it.”
No more perfect assembly-line automaton of the Democratic Establishment could be found than Breea Clark, and yet she was defeated on her home turf by a band of highly motivated volunteers with some serious grit. The illusion of the popularity of Left-wing politics was shattered by Larry’s win, giving voters hope in other, equally blue cities.
I again found myself thinking of election night. I decided to scrounge around for pictures or footage from Clark’s watch party, and what I found resembled more mortuary amid a wake, a gathering without a detectable pulse, and I got the distinct impression that no one was present who wasn’t getting paid to be. Contrast that with the jubilance and comradery of Larry’s all-volunteer force.
If there ever was a man of the hour, an individual appearing at the very moment of dire need, that man is Larry Heikkila, and the moment 2021-22. Unassuming, straight-talking, courteous to a fault, Larry knocked over a politico-cultural domino that night that will echo through the political landscape for years and elections to come. I’m only grateful I was there to witness it.
Shane Smith is a pro-liberty writer based in Norman, Oklahoma. He blogs at: RepublicReborn.com, and can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org