Sunday, November 29, 2020

10% of Oklahoma population smoking weed!

Weekly Opinion Editorial 


by Steve Fair

     In June 2018 Oklahoma voters approved State Question788 by a 57%-43% margin.   The initiative petition state question legalized the licensed cultivation, use and possession of marijuana for medicinal purposes in the Sooner state.  The ‘specifics’ of how to implement the legalization was vague and confusion reigned.  Elected officials and the Oklahoma Department of Health attempted to restrict weed distribution by requiring dispensaries to have a pharmacist on duty. Several lawsuits resulted and state courts ultimately ruled that requirement was not necessary.  It has been two years since voters passed #788 and legalized medical marijuana.  What has been the result?

     First, Oklahoma’s use of marijuana is the highest per capita in the U.S.  Almost 10% of the state’s population (more than 360,000) have obtained medical marijuana cards since #788 was implemented.  New Mexico, by comparison, has only about 5% of the population with cards.  Because it only requires a quick 5-minute consultation with a doctor and $60, virtually anyone can get a card.  A few doctors write the vast majority of the scripts for medical marijuana cards.    

     Second, retail dispensaries are everywhere.  There are over 2,000 active licenses across the state.  That is more than 25 dispensaries per county.  Even the smallest towns in Oklahoma have a marijuana dispensary. With the relative low cost of $2,500 to obtain a license to dispense, the opportunity to legally sell marijuana has attracted many entrepreneurs.  

     Third, state government are collecting taxes on marijuana sales.  Currently pot sales are generating about $100 million annually, but estimates are that up to $300 million annually could be collected.  Since Texas hasn’t legalized marijuana use yet, dispensaries near the border find a substantial amount of their business is from the Lone Star state.

     What is the long-term impact of legalized marijuana on Oklahoma?  First, it could hurt economic recruitment to the state.  Forbes magazine found corporate America is not prepared to embrace legalized recreational drug use by their employees.  Manufacturers, in particular, are concerned about workplace safety. Tesla’s Elon Musk famously smoked a marijuana joint in a television interview, but said he thought long term weed use hurt productivity.  Clearly, legal marijuana use wasn’t a factor when Musk passed on Tulsa as a manufacturing site for his new pick-up truck for Austin, Texas.  Second, increased marijuana use can lead to increased uses of harder drugs.  According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, marijuana use is likely to precede use of other illicit substances.  Oklahoma already has one of the highest opioid addiction rates in America.  Third, increased consumption of pot could create an increase in social issues, which cost taxpayers.  Oklahoma has high rates of domestic abuse and child abuse.  Oklahoma ranks #46 in the United States for poor health behaviors, with high rates of diabetes and heart disease.  Increasing costs of social issues created because citizens make bad decisions cost money.  If 10% of the population starts regularly smoking weed, it’s a cinch social ill will increase and taxpayers will pay the cost.  Ironically, Oklahoma’s libertarian, freewheeling, open-minded reputation (legalized gambling and marijuana) has earned the state the nickname Toke-lahoma.   That wasn’t what the average Oklahoman was voting for when they voted for SQ# 788, but that is what they got.  Pass the brownies.

Monday, November 23, 2020


 Weekly Opinion Editorial


by Steve Fair

     What is known about the first Thanksgiving comes from a letter written by Edward Winslow in 1621,  Winslow was one of the one hundred people who sailed from England on the Mayflower the year before.  The first Thanksgiving wasn’t in November, but was in September and most of those who attended were men.  Many of the women had died after reaching the New World.  The 50 colonists and 100 natives were celebrating a successful harvest.

       Magazine editor Sarah Hale was the driving force in getting the 4th Thursday of November declared Thanksgiving Day.  She achieved that goal in 1863 when President Abraham Lincoln signed a proclamation establishing that day as a National Holiday.  The holiday was used to heal a divided nation.

     2020 has been a difficult year.  The COVID-19 pandemic, contentious politics, economic chaos, and hurricanes have made some believe we have little to be thankful for.  Four reasons for Americans to be thankful this Thanksgiving season:

     First, Americans enjoy the most freedom on earth.  Clearly individual liberty is eroding in the United States.  Government interference, regulation, and mandates are on the rise.  The founding document is ignored and misrepresented, but in spite of all that, America is still the country people are trying to get to, not leave.  That freedom and liberty comes from the hand of a sovereign God and we should recognize that.  We should be thankful for living in America. 

     Second, Americans should be thankful for their system of government.  Many are unhappy with the recent election results.  Some are elated.  All should applaud the wisdom of our founders in establishing a system of government that allows citizens to change direction every two years.  If elected representatives don’t vote like their constituents want, they can be voted out.  America’s unique system of checks and balances in government work when citizens stay informed, engaged and involved in their government.  The system works only when citizens are diligent and faithful to holding their elected representatives accountable. 

     Third, Americans should be thankful for the first amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  It guarantees freedom of speech, worship and the press.  It also protects the right to peaceful protest and to petition the government.  Many countries, including democracies, do not have a founding document granting rights such as these to their citizens.  Few like protesters who disagree with their position, but all should fight for their right to exercise their first amendment rights.  When the liberties of one are infringed upon, it affects all.  The first amendment is under attack and it is critical it is protected.

     Fourth, Americans should be thankful for their economic system.  The ‘American Dream’ can become reality in the U.S.  That is why people are trying to come to America.  There is no place on earth where a person can ‘pull themselves up by their bootstraps,’ like America.  In spite of growing government regulations, America is still the best place on the planet to get ahead economically. 

     President Theodore Roosevelt said about Thanksgiving: “Let us remember that, as much has been given us, much will be expected from us, and that true homage comes from the heart as well as from the lips, and shows itself in deeds.”  In the coming year, may the walk match the talk.


Sunday, November 15, 2020

2020 RACE WAS VERY CLOSE! 84,000 votes in 3 states made the difference!

 Weekly Opinion Editorial


by Steve Fair

     How the president is elected in America is laid out in the U.S. Constitution.  It states in Article II, Section 1, each state shall appoint, in such manner as the legislature thereof may direct, a number of Electors, equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives to which may be entitled in the Congress.  It also authorizes Congress to determine the day Electors vote, which in 2020 is December 14th.  Thirty states, including Oklahoma, ‘bind’ their Electors to the election results in the state and can replace an Elector if they attempt to be unfaithful.  After the 538 Electors vote in each of the individual state, each state reports the results to Congress.  Those results must be received by December 23rd. 

     On January 6, 2021, in front of a joint session of Congress, the Senate President (US Vice President Pence) will open alphabetically each state’s Elector vote submission and four tellers (two from each chamber) will confirm the votes.  The Vice President will then announce the results.  Members of Congress may object to the returns from any individual state as they are announced. Objections to individual state returns must be made in writing by at least one Member each of the Senate and House of Representatives. If an objection meets these requirements, the joint session recesses and the two houses separate and debate the question in their respective chambers for a maximum of two hours. The two chambers then vote separately to accept or reject the objection. They then reassemble in joint session, and announce the results of their respective votes. An objection to a state’s electoral vote must be approved by both houses in order for any contested votes to be excluded.  Objections to the Electoral College votes were recorded in 1969 and 2005.  In both those cases, the House and Senate rejected the objections and the votes in question were counted.

     In the case of an Electoral College deadlock between two candidates (269 to 269) or if no candidate receives the majority of votes, a “contingent election” is held. The election of the President then goes to the House of Representatives. Each state ‘delegation’ casts one vote for one of the top three contenders to determine a winner.  Two presidential elections in American history was decided by the House- in 1800 and 1824.  Four observations about the 2020 presidential election:

     First, Congress declares the winner of the presidential election, not the media.  The constitutional process is clear.  Until the Electors vote December 14th, there is no president-elect.  For the media, or anyone else, to declare a winner before the 14th is pre-mature. 

     Second, the 2020 presidential race was very close.  Vice President Biden’s lead in three states is razor thin.  Arizona (11 electoral votes) was decided by 11,000 votes, Pennsylvania (20 electoral votes) by 69,000, and Georgia (16 electoral votes) by 14,000 votes.  If those three states’ electoral votes reverted to President Trump, he would win re-election with 279 electoral votes.  Biden’s margin of victory, if it does stand, is being taunted by the media as a landslide, but it was far from that.   

     Third, if the race is thrown into the House of Representatives, Trump will likely be re-elected.  There are thirty (30) states whose delegation is majority Republican.  Democrats know that and are fighting to avoid that.  That is why the legal fight will be waged in the states.

     Fourth, the courts will decide if election laws in the states were followed.  If the laws were followed, then the results will likely stand.  If the laws were not followed, then recounts will follow and possibly even a revote in a state.  A revote has never happened and courts shy away from overturning elections, but it is a possibility. 

     Even if President Trump is not successful in challenging the results of the 2020 election, Americans are now aware of the differing voting rules across the states.  When some states are counting ballots a week after the election, it’s clear standardized rules for electing the president are needed.  Congress should establish uniform, identical voting timelines for states to follow for electing the president in future elections.

Monday, November 9, 2020


 Weekly Opinion Editorial


by Steve Fair

     It appears last week’s presidential election results didn’t turn out like most Oklahomans wanted.  President Trump appears to have lost to former Vice President Biden, but in Oklahoma two thirds of the voters choose Trump.  Ten lessons from the 2020 presidential election:

(1)    Democrats have a history of cheating.  Starting with the 1960 presidential election(Kennedy vs. Nixon), Democrats seem to wait until the election results are almost in and then ‘discover’ more ballots for their candidate.  It always happens in large urban areas under Democrat control.   This year, it was Philadelphia, Detroit and Atlanta.  In 1960, it was Chicago.  The U.S. Constitution says STATES conduct their election for president and report their results to Congress.  It is past time for STANDARDIZED rules across all 50 states for the presidential race.  When Oklahoma- and most other states- can report their results in 2 hours and it takes some states 2 weeks, it’s clear some shenanigans are going on.

(2)    Trump should have let Biden talk at the first debate.  If the strategy was to rattle the former VP at the first debate, it didn’t work.   Biden is not a strong public speaker.  He gets confused and he makes mistakes.  Think of the material that could have been gleaned from Biden’s own words on a radical agenda if he would have been allowed to talk?  Trump missed an opportunity.

(3)    Conservative principles and ‘the cause’ are bigger than one person.  Trump is a cult of personality and his policies did advance many conservative causes, but the movement should be more than one person.  Time will tell if Trump supports believe in the cause?  Ron Paul was a cult of personality and some of his followers have stayed ‘hooked up,’ but the vast majority gave up political involvement.  In our ‘instant gratification’ culture, most will not stay with politics.  The payoff isn’t quick enough.

(4)    Confidence in the integrity of an election is fundamental.  Without honesty and integrity in the election process, we don’t have a country.  This is probably the single most disturbing lesson from the election.  When a major Party will send out unsolicited ballots and not verify who is sending them back in, then how can you trust anything they say or do?  The Democrats have advocated for same day registration.  They oppose voter ID.  Why?  Because they know that many of their voter base are illegal and not eligible to vote.

(5)    President Trump’s re-election strategy was wrong.  Those large rallies fired up his troops, but it also fired up the opposition.  Voters were voting for Trump or against Trump.  Few were rabid Biden fans.  A stealth campaign targeting voters wouldn’t have awakened the anti-Trump crowd.  Pappy O’Daniel’s  ‘mass communicating’ didn’t work.  It would have been difficult with a pandemic underway, but local Republican candidates did it.

(6)    Lack of faithful engagement in the political process by the vast majority is why we are where we are.  The vast majority of voters in America are low information voters.  That has to change if America is to be changed.  People have to pay attention all the time- even on off election years.  Putting a Trump flag on your car or truck and participating in a Trump Train shows support, but staying engaged in the political process- particularly at the local level- will result in a longer lasting impact.  

(7)    Allow those who invested in the campaign time to mourn.  Monday morning arm chair political observers who have never put up a political sign or knocked a door telling longtime political activists to accept the results is irritating.    It’s inappropriate.  These so-called experts now tell people who have invested time, talent and treasure in a cause are supposed to simply accept the results with a smile?  Few can do that, even if they do believe God sets up kings and is in control.

(8)    The Republican Party needs a reboot.  President Trump is not a traditional candidate or president.    Many of his supporters are Trumpers first and Republicans second.  It remains to be seen who will take up that mantel?  The GOP could be more divided than ever.  Those who want leaders who are more traditional and those who like the Trump style.  Bear in mind that under President Trump the national debt increased to 27 trillion dollars.  He didn’t reduce the size of government.  That is an important issue to most traditional Republicans  The Republican Party- at all levels-needs to find a way to be relevant ALL THE TIME, not just on election years.  That requires hard work and dedication that few are willing to take up.  We should be engaged in school board and city council races and policy, not just statewide and federal races.  That takes leaders who are willing to do more than take selfies with elected officials and make speeches.  It takes leaders who will get in the trenches with the troops and lead by example. 

(9)    Democrats will move the U.S. further left?  Biden has already said he would rescind Trump’s executive orders on immigration and the Keystone pipeline.  Get ready to pay higher taxes and higher gasoline prices.  Socialism is on the move.  If you don’t believe it, read Biden’s acceptance speech.  If the Democrats get both chambers of Congress, they will push through a radical agenda on the environment that will make Obama Care look like child’s play.

(10)God wasn’t taken by surprise at the election results.  He sets up kings and brings them down.  All authority comes from Him.  Believers need to recognize He will give us what we need- even if it’s a good starving.   If a lesson is to learned from this election, it is that no matter how hard you work, sometimes God doesn’t give you what you want.  The good news is what He gives us works out for our good.  Jeremy Fair (my son) preached a sermon on Sunday November 8th every American believer should listen to.  The link is for the whole service.  Jeremy’s sermon starts at 30:00

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Four Examples from Scripture of positions on politics!


Last week, Jeremy Fair(full disclosure- he is my son), pastor of Christ Presbyterian Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma delivered a sermon that every American Christian should listen to.  The link below is of the entire Sunday morning service.  If you want to listen to just the sermon, go the the 32 minute mark.


Sunday, November 1, 2020

Misbehavior of believers in political arena not a good testimony!

 Weekly Opinion Editorial


by Steve Fair


    Last week, John Piper, a prominent evangelic pastor and author of Desiring God, wrote that he couldn’t vote for President Trump or Vice President Joe Biden.  Piper wrote Trump’s “Flagrant boastfulness, vulgarity, immorality and factiousness are not only self-incriminating; they are nation-corrupting.” Piper wrote he could not support Vice President Biden because of his support of, “baby killing, sex-switching, and socialistic overreach, so it appears he will not vote this election.  Several Christian leaders disagreed with Piper including his longtime friend, Wayne Grudem.  Grudem wrote Biden and the Democrats would pass laws that infringe on religious liberty and the sanctity of life.  He said millions of Americans agree Trump’s behavior is sometimes over the top, but have chosen not to imitate it.  “Piper’s argument fails to recognize that people can decide not to imitate the sins of a leader, but they cannot do that with laws,” Grudem wrote. “Laws require obedience.”   

    Another long time Piper friend, best-selling author and OKC pastor Sam Storms, says sin is most often hidden and discerning character is not always easy.  “Bad character, destructive character, does not always manifest itself in bombastic speech and overt arrogance,” Storms wrote.  “A person can be soft-spoken, courteous, and guarded in their speech while at the same time be as wicked and dangerous as the loud-mouthed jerk.”  Three points:

     First, sitting an election out is a cop-out.  That’s not leadership.  Until Jesus Christ is on the ballot, voters are always be choosing between two flawed candidates.  Piper has a right to not participate in the political process, but that attitude by prominent Christian leaders is not being ‘salt and light’ to a lost and dying world.  It is a reason America is in the shape it is in.  Piper is an effective gospel preacher who has not historically engaged in the political arena.  In 2008, when the GOP national convention was in Minneapolis, my wife and I attended Bethlehem Baptist on Saturday and listened to Piper preach.  I spoke with him after the services and he wished me well, but said politics was of little interest to him.  Perhaps Piper should have paid more attention and encouraged his congregates to participate more in the political process.   

        Second, no matter who wins this week, God will still be in control.  He was in control in eternity past and He has eternity future firmly in hand.  The scripture says a sovereign God ‘ordains’ civil authorities.  Sometimes we don’t like His choices, but believers can’t lose, no matter who wins.  That doesn’t relieve believers of their responsibility to be good citizens, be involved in the process, and stand for God’s principles.  Believers keeping politics at arm’s length has gotten us to the place we are.  God uses human instrumentality and conceding the political arena by believers was and is a mistake.

     Third, believers in the political arena should behave like believers.  Many quote scripture and spout church lingo, but lie, cheat and steal to win an election.  They post insulting remarks and engage in name calling on social media.  They justify the misbehavior by saying the other side does it.  Two wrongs don’t make a right.  The inconsistency in their lives makes you wonder about their spiritual condition.  There is no love toward their fellow man.

     In 1962, Peter Scholtes wrote a well known hymn titled, ”They’ll know we are Christians by our Love.”  Scholtes was inspired by Christ’s words in John 13:35.  In today’s America, they’ll know whether you are a Christian-or not- by your Facebook or Twitter post.