Ooooooooooklahoma where the wind comes sweepin’ o’er the plain….
Oklahomans voted to ban their courts from applying Islamic law. The sponsor called it a “preemptive move,” as if they were dodging a bullet. But there was no bullet to dodge. They dodged a wind that doesn’t exist. (More)
Mrs. Squirrel and the baby and I like movies. I download them from Nutflix and we all curl up in front of the laptop – a theater-sized screen for us – with a bowl of macadamias. We watch lots of different kinds of movies. The baby prefers comedies. We all cheer together for the gopher in Caddyshack, and recoil in horror when Bill Murray’s character proposes to use plastic explosive squirrels. For my part, I prefer action-adventure movies like this:
Mrs. Squirrel likes musicals, so of course we’ve seen the Rogers and Hammerstein classic Oklahoma! And that was the first thought that came to my mind when I read that Oklahomans voted yesterday to ban sharia in their courts.
The vote wasn’t really about banning sharia. And Oklahomans didn’t dodge a bullet.
First, there is no single set of legal principles called “sharia.” Different Islamic peoples apply the Koran and related principles differently. Some think their view of the Koran should be civil law; others disagree. Similarly, many American fundamentalists think their views of the Bible should be law, but not all American Christians agree with that … or even with fundamentalists’ views of the Bible. So they just dodged the wind.
Second, no American courts apply sharia. They may as well have banned SpongeBob SquarePants – one of the baby’s favorite cartoons – from running for any Oklahoma state office. Maybe they’ll do that next. Meanwhile, they successfully dodged a wind that wasn’t sweepin’ o’er the plains in Oklahoma, or anywhere else in the U.S.
The ban also applies to international law, but the campaign focused on sharia. Except it wasn’t really about banning sharia. It was Oklahomans way of saying “We don’t want Muslims here!” And 70% of Oklahomans agreed. They didn’t stop there. Oklahomans (and Arizonans) also banned the provision of the 2010 health care law that requires individuals to buy health insurance. Coloradans had the good sense to reject that.
Oklahoma is one of the most conservative states in the U.S., so last night’s results were were no surprise. But they emphasized what Bill Bishop called The Big Sort: Americans segregating ourselves into ideologically distinct communities that reject “outside law” … not just sharia but also a health care law passed by our own federal government.
If that trend continues, the United States will not long survive as a single nation. E Pluribus Unum will become simply a slogan on the currency, assuming Americans agree to keep using the same currency. Given the widespread tea party opposition to the Federal Reserve, maybe conservative states will soon vote to establish their own money and reject the central banking system.
It’s the kind of story that tore apart Yugoslavia. And that’s not an action movie I want to watch.