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Chicken-Fried News: Ninjutsu politics

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INGVARD ASHBY
  • Ingvard Ashby

When NBC’s extreme obstacle course competition American Ninja Warrior returns to film at the state Capitol in April, may we suggest that the show’s producers consider upping the difficulty by requiring competitors to complete a site-specific challenge? Rather than merely having them run across a spinning log or scale the infamous warped wall, why not have aspiring ninjas show off their real, ultimate power by dressing up like Oklahoma taxpayers and attempting to discuss their concerns and grievances with elected officials inside the Capitol?

While typical American Ninja Warrior obstacles require contestants to race the clock while battling gravity and other physical forces, Oklahoma voters attempting to talk face-to-face with state officials must first face recently amped-up security measures put into place by Oklahoma legislative leaders. Public access to stairwells has been banned in the state Capitol and guard stations have been erected in hallways, the Associated Press (AP) reported earlier this month. House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka, said the measures had nothing to do with the highly visible teacher protests that took place at the Capitol last year, but Rep. Harold Wright, R-Weatherford, didn’t seem so sure, reportedly telling AP that the additional security was intended, at least in part, to “provide for a little more decorum in the House” following “some of the issues that occurred last year.” If the 2018 midterms weren’t enough to convince lawmakers that they ignore angry constituents at their own peril, maybe seeing people parkour up the walls will get their attention.

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