Kirsten Mustain

Editor, Grove Sun

Recently a good friend of mine sent me an email that detailed the travails of the women’s suffrage movement at the beginning of the 20th Century.

Although I knew my great-great grandmother’s generation had fought hard to win the right to cast their ballots, I am afraid the version of the story I knew was drawn more from Mary Poppins than from real life. (Our daughters’ daughters will adore us, and they’ll sing in grateful chorus, ‘Well done, sister suffragettes.’”)

Okay, I know Disney is about as far from real life as the earth is from Pluto, but I had never considered that female demonstrators were jailed, beaten, brutalized, tortured and starved for demanding the rights that American males took for granted.

It is difficult to envision such backward thinking in this day and age.

Inequality of the genders still exists. But the things I complain about, like lower pay for the same work and the condescending comments of certain men who think they are more intelligent than I am simply because I wear a dress and mascara and have different anatomy than they do, seem rather mild and inconsequential in comparison.

I am certain our female forebears would be thrilled to know how far we have progressed, even though we still have a ways to go.

I admit I owe those brave and outspoken women a sincere apology. I have taken the right they sacrificed to give me for granted. And I haven’t always exercised it.

Last week at a meeting of the Delaware County Republicans, a man who spoke to the crowd before gubernatorial candidate Congresswoman Mary Fallin spoke, said something that really rang true. (I hope he will forgive me, because I don’t know who he was.) He said voting is not a privilege. It is a duty.

What a grave and important responsibility we Americans carry. It is the privilege we have been given to participate in the decision-making process of our nation that brings that responsibility with it. You can’t have one without the other.

So, whether you are a woman or a man, I do sincerely hope you will do right by our ancestors who fought so hard for us even though we were not even yet twinkles in our parents’ eyes, and stand up for our privilege as American citizens and go to the polls.

To tax or not to tax?

I am just like any person who works hard and still has trouble making ends meet. I don’t like paying taxes.

However, I know enough about what makes our civilization work to know that some taxes are necessary if we wish to maintain a certain standard of living. It is well and good to pontificate about the unfairness of taxes, but if you drive on the roads and bridges, expect the police and fire departments to respond when you call for help – if you like to turn on the faucet and have water come out - and if you lie to flush the toilet – if you expect amenities like swimming pools and walking paths – then you should expect to pay taxes. Without taxes we would have no infrastructure.

If you have a better way to pay for these things, please share it. I personally don’t know of any.

I look at taxes as a personal responsibility – one of the ways in which individuals support their communities. They are a sacrifice for the greater good.

At the same time, it is the responsibility of elected officials to be prudent and judicious with the money we have entrusted to them, particularly in this struggling economy with so many out of work or working for paychecks that don’t cover their expenses.

It is my personal opinion that an increase in sales tax would be detrimental for Grove businesses at this time.

We certainly do have a problem at the Delaware County Jail, but I am not convinced that it could be solved merely by building a new jail. Possibly we do need a new jail, but it might be done with less expense to the taxpayer.

Oklahoma has one of the highest rates of incarceration in the United States and Delaware County has a high rate of incarceration for our state.

This is probably due to a variety of factors, but it occurs to me that one of those factors may be that Oklahoma is using outmoded reasoning in its approach to crime.

No one denies that there are some people who must be locked away for the good of our society. But a lot of the people who are locked up in Delaware County are there not because they are a danger to themselves and others, but because they are unable to pay their fines.

Others are locked up for non-violent crimes.

This is costing us a lot of money at a time when we don’t have a lot of money to spend. And it is costing families of prisoners who might otherwise work a lot of money in lost wages.

That just doesn’t make sense.

Vote

Whether you are for or against the jail tax, please vote.