Written by Tom Deighan, LPS Superintendent
When I first heard about it on the radio, I couldn’t believe that Fists of Fury 7 would be bringing such a lineup to Lawton. The eyes of the nation would be on our community. National and international media would descend upon the Coliseum. I cleared my schedule immediately in anticipation of history in the making. Not only would it be the first Presidential debate in Lawton, it would be the first debate ever governed by Mixed Martial Arts rules. Some genius had finally combined national politics and cage fighting, and I couldn’t wait for Fists of Fury 7: Hillary V Donald!
As you can imagine, I’m embarrassed to realize my mistake, but I am a terrible station surfer, and somehow mashed a commercial for this weekend’s MMA fight with a newscast about the national Presidential debate. On the bright side, it made me pay more attention than ever to politics, but honestly, I am a little relieved to be wrong. I am not eager to sully the reputation of mixed martial arts fighting by throwing presidential politics into the octagon. The Trump-Clinton debate might be too barbaric for Fists of Fury.
We have all seen national politics bleed into other areas of our life, so it was an honest mistake. Far too often, people react locally based on the national attitude and confuse unrelated issues. Oklahoma is not perfect, but common sense still prevails more often than not. If nothing else, we Okies balance our budgets. That is not only true at the state level but also at the local level. It is tough at times, but it does ensure that we do not kick the can of additional debt down the road. Oklahoma may be a little dysfunctional, but I would much rather face this modern world with a bunch of Okies than just about anyone else.
Aaron Mendelson, a senior from Lawton High School, reminded me and the LPS Board of Education how great Lawton and Oklahoma are when he spoke Thursday night about Youth Leadership Oklahoma. It is the youth version of the very same Leadership Oklahoma Program that also visited Lawton-Fort Sill this weekend. The Fort Sill leg of the LOK program is consistently the highest rated portion of the trip, which means they like Lawton-Fort Sill best! And likewise, Aaron said he is now proud to say he is from Lawton, Oklahoma after his tour of the state.
That attitude in our coming generations is the key to our future, not only in Oklahoma but also Lawton- Fort Sill. This community is doing amazing things that are catching the eye of the state and the nation. We should do all we can to ensure that coming generations feel love and pride for our state and community. As a newcomer to Lawton, I am continually amazed how people outside of Lawton are impressed with Lawton, but people inside Lawton are not. Let’s emulate Leadership Oklahoma, Aaron, and others who admire Lawton-Fort Sill. Let’s ensure our next generation is proud to be from Lawton, but let’s also ensure that they do not have to leave Lawton to appreciate it. And during this divisive political season, let’s not allow the national attitude to determine how we act or how treat each other. Fists of Fury: Hillary V Donald is shaping the national mood right now, but it does not have to shape ours. For the next few months, let’s endeavor to be neighbors and friends first, putting national frustrations aside. And for our children’s sake, let’s be proud of Lawton, Oklahoma.