Although I'm not a big fan of his political ideology and think his whole "Make Oklahoma a Top 10 State" is nothing more than a campy bullshit marketing campaign, we'd like to give a big TLO "attaboy" to Governor Kevin Stitt for having the courage to cross the nuts in his own political party and recognize Oklahomans who are not white, conservative Christians.
Oklahoma Muslims flocked to the state Capitol on Monday to get to know their lawmakers and learn more about government.
In a surprise move, Gov. Kevin Stitt stepped into the Senate chamber to greet them during one of the sessions.
It was the first time a governor had visited the group since the Oklahoma Muslim Day at the Capitol program started five years ago, said Adam Soltani, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations Oklahoma.
That's weird. You'd think Mary Fallin would have at least popped her head in the room once or twice to see if there were Saudi princes in the room.
Here's a statement from Stitt's media handler:
“Gov. Kevin Stitt was walking the halls and noticed the group meeting and went to welcome them and introduce himself,” said Donelle Harder, a Stitt spokeswoman. “Every Oklahoma group goes to great lengths to organize trips to the Capitol. The governor does his best to welcome any group in which his schedule permits. He is committed to being a governor for all 4 million Oklahomans.”
That's cool. Usually when we write about an Oklahoma politician talking to members of our Muslim community, we have to use words like "bigot," "asshat" and "Derplahoman." We also routinely share photos like this:
That's our old pal John Bennett. He was the leading member of the Oklahoma legislature's Islamophobia Caucus. He was essentially forced out of office by his own party thanks to the bigoted rhetoric he spewed at the Capitol.
On that note...
[Muslim Day] drew fewer protesters than in prior years, when Muslims entering the Capitol were yelled at and called terrorists by protesters carrying signs decrying Islam.
Soltani noted that former Rep. John Bennett, R-Sallisaw, a vocal critic of CAIR and Islam, is no longer in office. Bennett chose not to run again.
That acknowledgement from Soltani drew some applause from the group.
Soltani said he has seen a difference at the Capitol in the past five years.
“Love and peace will win over hate and animosity,” he said.
Okay, let's not get too far ahead of ourselves here. Donald Trump is still president, but having a conservative Oklahoma Governor acknowledge and interact with a group of people who are routinely – and unfairly – targeted, stereotyped and vilified by a large portion of our state's populous is a step in the right direction. Well done, Governor Stitt.