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Tuesday, October 15th, 2019Last Update: Wednesday, August 7th, 2019 12:21:15 PM

Schoolyard Bullies Want Your Lunch Money

By: Richard Engle

In the recent GOP primaries and runoffs we heard much about teachers, apples, school kids and all the positive happy images that could be dredged up to make voters turn against those mean spirited conservatives who didn’t want to raise taxes. Funds intended to pay our sweet wonderful teachers what they need and deserve, so they will stay here in Oklahoma with our kids, rather than run off to Texas where they would get paid more.

Not all images of childhood and school are quite so idyllic. I remember bullies. I remember the bigger, older kids who knew their way around pushing little, younger kids who were new to school. I remember those little kids were forced to fork over their lunch money. Then they were told to get more money from home the next day. They were to do whatever it took to bring more money the next day, and the next, and...

Those little victims became little criminals to save their own skin. They went home, searched the house, felt through the sofa cushions, broke their piggy banks, broke their little brother’s piggy bank, even rifled through their mom’s purse to keep up with the bullies “needs.”

Very few ever stood up to the bullies. If they did they would be called into the office for fighting. They would get suspended just like the bully. The bully didn’t mind, he didn’t like school. The bully knew he would be back and nobody would interfere again. The hero would have his heroic tendencies pushed down. It was the bullies school from then on.

In the Oklahoma State House a few heroes stood up. Seniors, Jason Murphey and Kevin Calvey, had nothing to lose as they would be gone next year anyway. They were part of a small block of heroes who knew that the bullies had more than enough money for the needs. The bullies were spending money on candy before they pretended not to have enough for a healthy lunch. They also spent money on other things even worse than candy.

One such bully is of the worst sort. You know the guy. He smiles and is over the top polite to the Principal and everyone’s parents. He acts like he hates the bullies. He openly speaks positively about the heroes until he is behind closed doors. He uses his inside access and his positive reputation to secure that everyone coughs up more and more money to bullies like him. Then he conspires to trump things up on the small band of heroes. This guy wears an offensive military hat, that guy has been against the schools all along, another guy single handedly blocked the bullies and he got expelled for fighting.

Chris Kannady is our modern day duplicitous Eddie Haskell. He weaseled his way into leadership. He pretended to help all the others. He complimented everyone, in public. Behind the scenes he worked to have his “classmates” expelled for being heroic.

“We cannot let members of our own caucus actively be against the rest of us because we disagree on policy decisions,” said Kannady (R-Oklahoma City). Meanwhile he was against his fellow Republican members because they disagreed on policy. His hypocrisy would be humorous if it were not so tragic.

For decades Republicans ran on the idea that half our state budget was more than enough to give our kids a quality education. They admitted that there were many wastes and abuses in the system that could, even should, be abolished to free up funds for the classroom.

They were right. Their rhetoric was right anyway. But in office they did nothing to reform the system and resolve the lack of classroom funding. They admitted that the market was such that hiring and retaining teachers required higher pay. Everyone knew that the classroom teacher is the essential component to a quality education.

But they did nothing to end the abuses. Nothing to make sure the money went were it needed to go. Because they didn’t want quality education. They didn’t want reform. They wanted one thing. Money. More money. They, Chris Kannady and company, wanted to get all the little kids in his class to go home and steal every penny they could find and bring it to his cadre of schoolyard bullies.

Ward Cleaver once said of Eddie Haskell, “He is so polite its almost un-American.” The leadership of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, Republican one and all, are un-conservative, un-Republican, and un-American in their quest for power and money even if they know their greatest victims are the children they are pretending to help.

Richard Engle is the author of the novel, The Last American President. Richard speaks and writes often on political matters. Richard can be reached at 405.640.9219 or

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