Letters to the Editor: Jan. 14, 2015

Ban hoodies?

Republican State Senator Don Barrington has authored a bill to make it unlawful to wear masks and hooded sweatshirts in public places. The bill states that if you wear a hood with the intention of committing a crime, you should be fined up to $500 or sentenced to up to one year in jail. Here is another example of a “limited government” Republican pushing their agenda on the people of Oklahoma. Similar laws are already in effect in other states, including Florida, California, New York and Washington, DC.

Those that favor the measure state that it would help deter crime by preventing people from hiding their identity in public spaces. Shouldn’t people have the freedom to conceal their public identity if they wish? Wear a costume? Celebrate Mardi Gras? Of course they should. The only thing that is “limited” about the Oklahoma GOP is its ideals of freedom. As the party for truly limited government, the Oklahoma Libertarian Party strongly opposes this measure as a restriction of our First Amendment Rights and the people’s right to free expression.

Furthermore, these types of bans would intensify problems with racial profiling. The Oklahoma Libertarian Party advocates for a reduction of government intrusion and promotes individual liberty for all. We call to account Senator Don Barrington and any legislator that misleads the people by claiming to promote limited government while imposing authoritarian measures such as these that deny that individual liberty. Any attempts to legislate clothing styles or types should be seen as an overreach of government authority and a blatant attempt at disregarding the principles of freedom.
Steve Long
Oklahoma City
Long is chairman of the Libertarian Party of Oklahoma.


Happy holidays

Thank the Lord, the holidays are finally over. It’s been a long grueling period of people stressing, people rushing, being bombarded left and right with constant advertisements and holiday music and television specials. Whew!

But not all of us were stressed. I certainly wasn’t — well, not from the “Christmas” rush. And to be honest, it wasn’t stress I was feeling; it was disappointment. You see, Christmas is not the only religious holiday that comes after Thanksgiving.

There’s also Hanukkah. For those of us who are Jews, Hanukkah is a celebration, a “festival of lights” to put it another way. We celebrate Hanukkah to thank our maker for giving us eight days of light from one day of oil to burn in the lamp. What I found most disappointing this year was Christians saying Merry Christmas without even looking at me. If they had looked and taken a moment to think, they would have figured out — from the Star of David around my neck, and in several instances the yarmulke on my head — that I was, in fact, a Jew and replied with, “Happy holidays.”

I did correct several people when they said Merry Christmas. No one seemed to mind being corrected. While volunteering at the information desk at the airport on Christmas Eve, an airport police officer walked by my booth. I was wearing my Star of David and yarmulke. He said it was almost time and I needed to get ready for Santa Claus.

I just smiled and lifted up my star and suggested he look again, to which he muttered about Santa Claus bringing gifts to all those who are good. I just chuckled and could only think to myself, What a schmuck.

That’s my point: Christians want everyone else to be respectful of their religion but seem to fail miserably in showing those who aren’t Christian respect for their religion.

— Solomon “Rosenbaum” Treinen
Oklahoma City

Steve Long

This article was written by an Oklahoma Gazette contributor. To reach an editor, please email jchancellor@okgazette.com with this story's headline in your subject line.

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