It’s tempting to view this as a temporary situation, that will pass as the virus passes. But, that is a comfortable lie. The grocery clerk, the trash truck driver, the nurse, delivery driver and factory worker — these always have been essential to our society, our economy and our way of life.

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We must fight the urge to become complacent. This is not a time to ignore our faith. This is a time to be more deliberate than ever, and to step out in prayer when we cannot step out in body.

Some readers have asked for a reprieve from some of the "bad news" inherent to the COVID-19 pandemic. They want something positive to read. And while finding a silver lining in this cloud is difficult, it's not impossible – especially with the help of others in the community.

Presidential primary elections and caucuses have evolved over time in the U.S. to become the way in which candidates compete for the nomination to become president, and if you consider that primary elections didn’t even come into general usage until the 20th century, we are really looking at a relatively recent system that has undergone various rule changes by the parties.

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Judging by the TDP Facebook timeline, where the followers number 29,000 and climbing, most area residents aren't yet on the same page about how restrictive the partial lockdown should be, or even what it should be called. Is it a "shelter-at-home" order, or a "stay-at-home" request?

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The death of country music star Joe Diffie due to coronavirus (COVID-19) complications is a truly sad note for country music fans in Jackson County, Vinton County, and Southern Ohio – and around the world.

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In a public health emergency like this one, rapidly changing facts present a challenge. We want to ensure our community of readers is getting the most timely, most accurate information possible—and sometimes that requires a bit of teamwork.

We are living in a very unique time. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the entire world. Seldom in history do disasters such as this impact practically every living human being on the planet. This is one of those special circumstances. Regardless of where you live or who you are, the COVID-19 virus is impacting a part of your life and your world.

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We have a serious problem emanating from Washington, D.C., which is going to engulf and ruin us very soon if we don’t address it. Our government is spending far more money than it is taking in, and that is so, even though a record is set every year in taxes flowing into that city.

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If the coronavirus hadn't pricked our economic bubble, something else would have done the job. No financial system based on fiat (paper) currency has ever been able to survive for long. From the moment President Nixon took the American dollar off the gold standard, we were doomed. The surprising, even amazing thing is how long government officials were able to keep the Frankenstein system lurching along.

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There is a presidential election in seven months. The descriptor notwithstanding, there will be several elections for other offices on the same ballot.

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The dangerous COVID-19 virus continues to spread across the world, and now it has officially reached Cherokee Nation. A Cherokee citizen in Tulsa County was the first identified death from the virus in Oklahoma, and additional cases have been identified within our health system.

One of the key aspects regarding the electability of a presidential candidate – in addition to policy proposals, ideology, and charisma– is the selection of a vice presidential running mate. Until the ratification of the 12th Amendment – as a result of the 1800 tie in the Electoral College, which resulted in the selection of Thomas Jefferson as president by the House of Representatives – the presidential candidate with the second-highest number of electoral votes became the vice president.

As others have noted, at a time when some Americans are dying, this was not a time to engage in surreptitious leveraging to secure pet legislation. It’s akin to pulling up a truck to the backdoor of the Capitol in the middle of the night and loading it up with goods. At least toilet paper hoarders didn’t hide their intentions.

It has never been more important to listen to your elders and authority figures. We’re talking to you, young people of Stillwater.

On Tuesday evening, March 24, local officials decided to impose a partial lockdown and "shelter-at-home" order for Cherokee County, allowing only "essential" businesses to continue operating. That dovetails Gov. Kevin Stitt's earlier announcement that the 19 counties with confirmed coronavirus cases needed to enforce stricter measures.

Hybrids and monocultures are risky. They have a narrowed range of evolutionary survival strategies. Whatever afflicts one plant can afflict plants nearby.

The nonprofit industry is the third largest in America. In Garfield County, nonprofit organizations employ hundreds of people and serve thousands. They provide food for the hungry, safety for the abused, care for our seniors, shelter for the homeless, hope for the discourage and empowerment for the powerless.

With the onslaught of COVID-19, the world has seen what may become a new normal of life in many aspects. Restaurants are offering delivery and curbside service. Stores are offering special hours for senior citizens and those who are more vulnerable to catching this particular disease. Neighbors are checking on neighbors, and many younger family members are checking and caring for older family and friends.

Suddenly and unexpectedly, the world finds itself in need of a spirit of unity. People everywhere are confronted with a common enemy in COVID-19 and an effective response requires agreement as to purpose and accord regarding tactics.

When I started researching "unions," this week's topic, I asked myself why a Christian nation should have such a great need for unions. Then, I was reminded that no nation has ever been in greater need of a mediating spirit than the United States of America.

Although I am and have been a member of two unions – Cherokee County Retired Educators Association and Oklahoma Retired Educators Association – for years, and although these are not the first unions that I have been a member of, I am neither a fan of nor particularly a supporter of unions of most kinds.

Is the limited information we get about positive cases of COVID-19 for our own good? We’ve seen cases, like the first one in Oklahoma, where information was freely given about the patient’s gender, age, that he had traveled from Europe. In following cases, not so much.

In addition to the upheaval of children’s schedules, schooling and activities due to social distancing, parents are coping with their own fears about managing the progression of COVID-19 and keeping their families safe. With their usual routines out of place and the adults around them dealing with ever-changing information, many children will experience elevated levels of anxiety.

I’ve been asked by many to contrast our current pandemic outbreak of a deadly disease in the United States with another in our past.

Journalists are used to mischaracterization about our political bent and bias. It's always been part and parcel of our jobs, and for the most part, we let the unfair allegations roll off like water off a duck's back. It's gotten worse in recent years, with rallying cries of "fake news!" aimed in our direction at every opportunity.

We will be defined by how we use this time. Let us use it wisely, and use it with wild abandon in the cause of beauty and love.

How do we find the immense blessings of Christ in the sometimes mundane, grey, grim and painful aspects of this life? We find those blessings by allowing Christ to infuse our every act, as Herbert allowed Christ to infuse his words.

Despite the two-party system in the U.S., there have been times in our nation's history when some third parties have become quite popular in the midst of the dominance by the two major parties. While it has been vilified by many, socialism was very appealing as an ideology in Oklahoma prior to the outbreak of World War I. Oklahoma's political history is one in which the Democratic Party, especially in rural Oklahoma, held dominance in the state legislature, as well as that of the state executive branch.

Just a short time ago, I and most Cherokees were focused on the plans and activities of everyday life. We could take so much for granted as we enjoyed community gatherings, spent time with colleagues, friends and family, and moved around our social spaces.

As news of the coronavirus continues to unfold, area residents may be concentrating on gathering needed stores of food, medication and other necessities in preparation for a period of quarantine. For some, the outlook is bleak, and that's understandable, since jobs and the economy hang in the balance.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the importance of staying calm in a crisis and the fact it was crucial to disseminate accurate and factual information. As a global society, it appears to me we have woefully failed in those two areas this past week.

Despite complications that arise from my inclination to verbosity when trying to work within a word limit, I'm going to mention how proud I am of my 9-year-old daughter for all her hard work and for helping her Robotix team qualify for the world competition in Louisville, Kentucky, this April.

This Week's Circulars


Benjamin Roderick "Rod" Baker was born Sept. 1, 1925, to Benjamin Silas and Alice Leona Babcock Baker in the town of Rossville located in Lincoln County, Okla. In 1936 the family moved from Chandler, Okla., to Edmond, Okla. Rod played football and wrestled for the Edmond High Bulldogs and gr…