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David Boren wants Oklahomans to do the right thing. Unless it involves stolen artwork.

12:15 PM EST on February 25, 2014

After all these years, OU President David Boren is trying to remain relevant.

Last week, the former state governor, US senator and OU tuba player strike buster penned an excellent editorial in the Tulsa World that criticized our lawmakers' obsession with cutting taxes for the rich while struggling to fund important things like education, roads and bridges, and tax subsidies for energy companies. Just kidding. We'll always find a way to help out energy companies.

From Boren's editorial in The Tulsa World:

Our future is at risk. The current state budget now before the Legislature will put us on the wrong path.

It is time we asked ourselves some basic questions: Who are we as a people? What kind of state do we want to be? What kind of state do we want to pass on to our children and grandchildren?

It's good to see David Boren using his clout and influence to ask such important questions. Here's another one he should ask. Do we want the little ones to grow up in a state that fights to keep valuable artwork that was stolen by the Nazi's during World War II, or a state that does the right thing and returns that artwork to its rightful owners?

From The Oklahoman:

Four lawmakers are calling on University of Oklahoma officials to return a painting that Nazi troops stole from a Jewish family in Paris during World War II.

A resolution directing OU officials to return Camille Pissarro’s “Shepherdess Bringing In Sheep” to the Meyer family was introduced Monday in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. Leone Meyer, a member of the family, is suing OU in New York federal court to recover the painting, which is hanging in OU’s Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art.

Rep. Paul Wesselhoft, R-Moore, said he hoped the nonbinding resolution would encourage OU officials to do “the right and moral thing.”

Wow. Our state owns artwork that was stolen by the Nazi's and we're refusing to give it back? I can see if they were old CDs or tools or something, but that's ridiculous.There has to be some sort of legitimate reason for that, right? David Boren's not that big of an asshole. He wouldn't try to keep the painting based on a technicality:

OU President David Boren said the resolution was unnecessary. Boren said the university would comply with whatever decision the court reaches.

OU officials have cited a 1953 ruling in Switzerland that denied the Meyer family’s claim. That ruling was based in part on a finding that the family waited too long to make its claim. The fact that Nazi troops stole the painting from the family is not in dispute.

“The university does not want to keep any items which it does not legitimately own,” Boren said. “However, the challenge to the university, as the current custodian of the painting, is to avoid setting a bad precedent that the university will automatically give away other people’s gifts to us to anyone who claims them.”

Wesselhoft, one of the bill’s four authors, said the fact that the painting is hanging in the museum is an embarrassment to Oklahoma residents and insulting to the state’s Jewish community. Wesselhoft also has passed out fliers in front of Moore’s Warren Theatre calling on the university to return the painting to the Meyer family.

Edie Roodman, executive director of the Jewish Federation of Oklahoma City, said she hoped the painting eventually would be returned to the Meyer family.

“I think it’s certainly of concern within the Jewish community that a painting that was plundered under the Nazis was not returned to its rightful owner,” Roodman said.

Roodman noted that other, more prominent museums have returned works of art when they found themselves in similar situations. Last year, the Louvre in Paris returned several Nazi-looted paintings to the surviving relatives of their pre-World War II owners.

Outside of national merit scholars enrolled at a public university, I don't think there's anything David Boren loves more than that art collection. Let me take that back. Outside of national merit scholars enrolled at a public university, power and money, I don't think there's anything David Boren loves more than that art collection. If you've ever watched an OU football player hold a ballerina on television, you know what I'm talking about.

Obviously, Boren is wrong on this one. Even if the courts find the artwork legally belongs to OU, why would we want to keep it? Oklahomans are generous people who want to do the proper thing. At least that's what I gathered from reading the final paragraph in Boren's Tulsa World editorial:

I am proud to be an Oklahoman. In national surveys over many years, Oklahomans have been ranked at or near the top in generosity. Oklahomans are not greedy. Oklahomans are unselfish. Oklahomans believe in fairness. Oklahomans believe in giving opportunity. We are as willing as our parents and grandparents to make sacrifices to help our children and others who deserve our help. It is our turn, and we as Oklahomans are ready to do the right thing.

Yeah, unless it has to do with a valuable piece of stolen art that was given to us. If that's the case, screw you.

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