The Edmond Sun


February 11, 2013

You can learn a lot from a fifth-grader

EDMOND — My son, Tyler, attends Chisholm Elementary School in Edmond. This week, the Chisholm fifth-graders present their “living history museum,” where each student has been assigned a historical figure to study. Tyler is studying Nathanael Greene, and our family has been spending evenings together learning more about this incredibly interesting man.

Aside from being called a trusted friend of Gen. George Washington (a feat unto itself), Greene led a fascinating life as an early American hero. A true life-long learner, Greene was known for saving money to add to his library, and he was particularly interested in military strategy. Knowing that war with Great Britain would come soon enough, he organized a militia while in his early 30s. His love of books served him well as his pronounced limp caused some in the militia to challenge his participation. However, no one could deny his keen military mind, and he remained very involved.

I was struck by Greene’s unconquerable spirit. Unwilling to be held back by physical limitations but willing to fight for good regardless of the consequences, he was a dedicated patriot. As I beamed with pride, Tyler then pointed out a statement Greene made after experiencing setbacks during the Revolutionary War: “We fight, get beat, rise and fight again.” Tyler said it summed up Greene’s life and that it was a motto by which he wanted to live also.

The Marquis de LaFayette would later say that in Greene’s very name “are remembered all the virtues and talents which can illustrate the patriot, the statesman, and the military leader....” Undoubtedly, that sort of spirit was a necessity in those times, and thankfully that strength of character that was common in our nation’s early leaders. That same spirit continues to show up in America when it is needed the most, and now is one of those times when we desperately need it.

For many of us, life is pretty good, but some of our friends and neighbors are struggling. Some need better-paying jobs, and some would just be happy with any job. Others are discouraged by schools that are not meeting their needs, and still others are trying to run a business in a climate that sometimes seems to produce more failure than flourishing. So, how can we actually help them without simply perpetuating the problems or irresponsibly spending money we don’t have?

In Oklahoma, the answer is simple:

• Replace our costly, broken, adversarial workers compensation system with an administrative system that will justly compensate workers for their injuries while allowing employers to save money, expand their businesses and better provide for employees.

• Reform our tax code by lowering the rates, and let citizens keep more of their hard-earned money, even though it means we must cut spending.

• Reform our education system so we can stop limiting children and forcing them to attend certain schools, regardless of that school’s performance or quality.

These reforms are not easy. The fight to achieve them may even knock us down. But we are Oklahomans, and we know — just as Nathanael Greene knew — how to rise and fight again. Besides, our friends and neighbors, our children and our state are worth fighting for.

BRIAN BUSH, an Edmond resident, is executive vice president of Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs and a member of The Edmond Sun’s Community Editorial Board.

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  • Loosening constraints on campaign donations and spending doesn’t destroy democracy

    Campaign finance reformers are worried about the future. They contend that two Supreme Court rulings — the McCutcheon decision in March and the 2010 Citizens United decision — will magnify inequality in U.S. politics.
    In both cases, the court majority relaxed constraints on how money can be spent on or donated to political campaigns. By allowing more private money to flow to campaigns, the critics maintain, the court has allowed the rich an unfair advantage in shaping political outcomes and made “one dollar, one vote” (in one formulation) the measure of our corrupted democracy.
    This argument misses the mark for at least four reasons.

    April 23, 2014

  • The top 12 government programs ever

    Which federal programs and policies succeed in being cost-effective and targeting those who need them most? These two tests are obvious: After all, why would we spend taxpayers' money on a program that isn't worth what it costs or helps those who do not need help?

    April 23, 2014

  • Free trade on steroids: The threat of the Trans-Pacific Partnership

    Many supporters of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, trade agreement are arguing that its fate rests on President Obama’s bilateral talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Japan this week. If Japan and the United States can sort out market access issues for agriculture and automobiles, the wisdom goes, this huge deal — in effect, a North American Free Trade Agreement on steroids — can at last be concluded.

    April 22, 2014

  • Can Hillary Clinton rock the cradle and the world?

    What's most interesting to contemplate is the effect becoming a grandmother will have on Hillary's ambition. It's one of life's unfairnesses that a woman's peak career years often coincide with her peak childbearing years.

    April 22, 2014

  • Chicago Tribune: If Walgreen Co. moves its HQ to Europe, blame Washington’s tax failure

    The Walgreen Co. drugstore chain got its start nearly a century ago in downstate Dixon, Ill., before moving its corporate headquarters to Chicago and eventually to north suburban Deerfield, Ill.
    Next stop? Could be Bern, Switzerland.
    A group of shareholders reportedly is pressuring the giant retail chain for a move to the land of cuckoo clocks. The reason: lower taxes. Much lower taxes.
    If Walgreen changes its legal domicile to Switzerland, where it recently acquired a stake in European drugstore chain Alliance Boots, the company could save big bucks on its corporate income-tax bill. The effective U.S. income-tax rate for Walgreen, according to analysts at Swiss Bank UBS: 37 percent. For Alliance Boots: about 20 percent.

    April 21, 2014

  • Sulphur a future major tourist destination?

    Greta Garbo says, “I want to be alone,” in the 1932 film “Grand Hotel.” That MGM film starred Garbo, John and Lionel Barrymore, Wallace Beery and a young actress from Lawton named Joan Crawford. It told the stories of several different people who were staying at an exclusive hotel of that name in Berlin Germany.
    It was critically well received and it inspired more recent films such as “Gosford Park” and television shows such as “Downton Abbey” in that it detailed the relationship between powerful and wealthy people and those who served them. The film opened amidst much fanfare and it received the Oscar for best picture in the year of its release.

    April 21, 2014

  • St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Why poverty across the world matters to Americans

    A child starving in South Sudan should matter to Americans. That was the message delivered last week by Nancy Lindborg, whose job at the U.S. Agency for International Development is to lead a federal bureau spreading democracy and humanitarian assistance across the world.
    That world has reached a critical danger zone, with three high-level crises combining military conflict with humanitarian catastrophes affecting millions of innocents in Syria, the South Sudan and the Central African Republic.
    But back to that child.

    April 18, 2014

  • Government leadership complicit in overfilling prisons

    One of the thorniest problems facing any society is the question of what to do with transgressors. Obviously, the more complicated a culture becomes, the more factors come into play in trying to figure out what to do with those who choose not to “play by the rules.”

    April 18, 2014

  • My best days are ones normal people take for granted

    It is a weekend for working around the house. My fiancee, Erin, and I have the baby’s room to paint and some IKEA furniture to assemble. I roll out of bed early — 10:30 — and get into my wheelchair. Erin is already making coffee in the kitchen.
    “I started the first wall,” she says. “I love that gray.” Erin never bugs me about sleeping late. For a few months after I was injured in the Boston Marathon bombings, I often slept 15 hours a day. The doctors said my body needed to heal. It must still be healing because I hardly ever see 8 a.m. anymore.

    April 18, 2014

  • Instead of mothballing Navy ships, give them to our allies

    A bitter debate has raged in the Pentagon for several months about the wisdom of taking the nuclear aircraft carrier George Washington out of service to save money. The Washington, at 24 years old a relatively young vessel, is due for a costly refit, a routine procedure that all of the 11 large carriers in service undergo regularly.

    April 18, 2014


Do you agree with a state budget proposal that takes some funds away from road and bridge projects to ramp up education funding by $29.85 million per year until schools are receiving $600 million more a year than they are now? In years in which 1 percent revenue growth does not occur in the general fund, the transfer would not take place.

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