The Norman Transcript

Columns

June 22, 2014

Back to Iraq: Were sacrifices for nothing?

NORMAN — On a regular U.S. 77 bicycle ride in southern Oklahoma, my thoughts always go out to a fallen Marine who lived nearby in Wayne.

A bridge over the Washita River in Garvin County outside Pauls Valley is named for Marine Cpl. Bryan Scripsick, killed in September of 2007 by a Iraqi suicide bomber.

When I cross that bridge my interview with Bryan’s father, John, a farmer, sticks in my mind. Our sons were about the same age. His son wanted to be a teacher and coach. Mine wanted to be and now is a writer.

Cpl. Scripsick has been on my mind more often in the past few weeks as the President and Congress debate sending American troops back into war-torn Iraq. If the nation fizzles, what will be the legacy of sacrifices of the Scripsicks and other families whose loved ones died there?

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I’ll be among the first to vote in the primary Tuesday morning but this election season seems to be unlike others. I remember looking forward to going into the old Grotts School House precinct with my parents when they cast their ballots.

They were happy about it and wanted to bring their children with them and give them a real life civics lesson. Nowadays, some of us are holding are noses when we get the ballot. The trend this year is to vote against someone and not for someone. Perhaps that’s why fewer than 20 percent of the registered electorate will likely turn out on Tuesday.

Local candidates still go door to door but mostly they’ve turned to slick mailers targeting those voters who will likely turn out Tuesday. Candidates know not to waste their time trying to engage those who won’t bother to show up Tuesday.

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Sujiro Seam, a Houston-based Consul General, for France, passed through Norman this past week on his way to an art show in Oklahoma City. In Norman, he talked politics with some OU political science professors and the Oklaoma City honorary French consul Grant Moak.

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