I have friends in Oklahoma and am used to hearing about some of the ass-backwards things that go on down there. Having grown up in Texas, not far from the Oklahoma border, not much surprises me about the state. But the extreme measures that are being pushed there amazed even me.
The Republican-dominated Oklahoma legislature is defining the frontier of xenophobic immigration laws, anti-Muslim bigotry, gay bashing and encouragement of gun-toting students -- with Democratic legislators often too timid to resist.
Rep. Randy Terrill, Republican chairman of the Revenue and Taxation Committee, has emerged as a hero of the "protect our borders" crowd by authoring a law, known as HB1804, that makes it a felony even to give an illegal immigrant a ride.
You also can't provide education, health care and many other services to undocumented immigrants, including infants. And, police are required to check the immigration status of anyone "suspected" of being in this country illegally.
If you thought such a draconian measure might face stiff opposition -- or at least a drawn-out political battle -- you'd be wrong. The bill sailed through the Oklahoma House, 88-9, with 35 of the 44 Democrats joining the Republicans, and then passed the Senate on a 41-6 vote with two-thirds of the Democrats lining up with Republicans.
And before we pat ourselves on the back, talk to anyone from a marginalized community that lives in or comes from southern or eastern Oregon (or rural New York or Pennsylvania, for that matter. Pick a state, and then look at what goes on in its more rural areas).
And here is the rest of it.