Failed promises to fund public education in Oklahoma

When chamber moguls, Democrats and liberal Republicans told us that passing liquor by the drink would revolutionize life in Oklahoma and solve funding problems for public education.

It didn’t.

All it did was end the practice of “byol” – bring your own liquor – and make it easier for hotels and restaurants to sell booze by the drink.

When that same crowd pushed for legalization of bingo, once again we were promised that if Oklahomans could play a harmless game of bingo, we could fund education and make lives better for our school children. Liberal churches embraced the idea because they play bingo.

It didn’t.

Then Gov. Brad Henry announced that if Oklahoma were to adopt a “Lottery for Education,” we would generate $300,000,000.00 a year for common education.

Remember those TV commercials with the sad looking school kids? How could you vote against our children?

Well, actually, the lottery was for “education,” which included common education, higher education, vocation technical schools and a program to help problem gamblers.

That’s right. We passed a government program that we knew would mess people up. Sen. James Lankford said, “We told school children that the only way we could improve education was for their parents to gamble more.”

The lottery idea didn’t work. It produces about 20 percent of what Brad Henry promised. In fact, every year the lottery officials trot down to the Legislature and beg that the percentage of lottery funds that go to education be sliced. They argue that if they had more money, they could offer bigger jackpots and schools would get more money even with a lower percentage of the take.

Then we were told that casino gambling would revolutionize Oklahoma. It has changed the state. We have about 117 casinos. That’s about 1 casino for every 35,000 state resident.

The chamber swore that the casinos would bring in mostly tourists. But surrounding states have legalized lotteries and it looks like most of the gamblers in Oklahoma are from Oklahoma.

Have the casinos paid off? Who knows? The tribes audit themselves, so the state really has no way to check those figures.

The state has gotten millions of dollars from casino gambling but those figures are minor compared to the financial and moral damage done to Oklahoma families. The liberal media, which gets paid off through casino advertising, will never tell the true story of the extent of damage done by casinos.

Now we want to liberalize our liquor laws once more.

The Tulsa Chamber, QuikTrip, Reasor’s and other convenience stores and groceries have a state question on the November ballot that will make it a lot easier to get drunk in Oklahoma.

As the law stands now, you cannot buy wine or hard beer at groceries or convenience stores. The state question would let Reasor’s and QuikTrip sell hard beer and wine out of their refrigerated cases.

And liquor stores would be able to sell refrigerated alcohol.

So, Joe Six-Pack would be able to get an ice-cold bottle of cheap wine at a convenience store after work on a 100-degree summer day. Gee, do you think he might take a drink or two on the drive home?

Okay, he can already do that with beer. But that is 3.2 beer. It’s harder to get legally drunk on that low-alcohol content beer.

This is all about money. Reasor’s and QuikTrip and others want to do what their counterparts in Texas and other states do, which is make tons of money by promoting alcohol.

This will pass because no one is against it.

No one, including me, is arguing prohibition. As a Bible believing Christian, I understand that Scripture teaches that drinking is not a sin. Getting drunk is a sin.

I know wonderful Christians who drink socially and I know others who, like me, don’t drink. They don’t drink because you can’t ever get drunk if you don’t drink. They also understand the devastation that alcohol has had on millions of Americans. Almost every family has been touched by someone who couldn’t control their drinking.

Marriages have been wrecked. Careers have been destroyed. People have gone to jail after driving drunk and people have been killed in accidents.

Society has to draw the line somewhere on drinking. You are not supposed to drink and drive. You can’t buy a mixed drink at QuikTrip or Sonic Drive-in.

Proponents tell us that expanding the accessibility of strong beer and wine hasn’t affect other states and it will have no negative impact on Oklahoma.

These are the same folks who made promises about liquor by the drink, bingo, the state lottery and casino gambling.

When will Oklahoma make a moral stand?

We are No. 3 in the nation in gambling.

Our liberal Oklahoma Supreme Court approved homosexual marriage and the removal of the Ten Commandments Monument on the State Capitol.

The Tulsa City Council and mayor approved giving homosexuals favored status in its discrimination policies.

I thought Tulsa was the “Buckle of the Bible Belt.” That’s not true by any stretch of the imagination now.

Maybe I will calm down if I head to the local multi-million-dollar casino and order a margarita at the bar. I like to get there early to avoid the line at the ATM machine…