Now is the time for all to take a breath of fresh air

Eric Steinkopff - Managing Editor

Sometimes our expectations can be quite different than the reality.

I spent some time during my military service at the Marine Corps headquarters.

It was a place all Marines heard about and has a special allure, respect and even awe throughout the ranks.

The vision placed in our minds was one of a well-oiled machine, cranking out precious orders and documents that guide trusted Marines in the performance of their duties. Following orders is extremely important to the warriors, so it may be understandable that the entire complex is placed upon a pedestal akin to something like “Mount Olympus.”

Obviously this is not quite accurate. These are, after all, human beings — even if they are, in my humble opinion, among the best and brightest in the world.

I was there to seek funding and school seats for those in my occupational job field — to train those in the cryptologic and foreign language fields.

Ironically, none of the schools were run by the Marine Corps, so my ability to work with others from different military “cultures” was key.

Sometimes I made mistakes, but I learned early on that somebody from one of our sister services would make such a tremendous blunder that it always took the spotlight off of me in our multiservice conferences.

Those new to that Marine headquarters were often confounded to discover that there was a bureaucracy and that not everything ran as smoothly as everyone would like. The truth is that if it did, the system would not need human intervention.

I remember saying, “but this is Headquarters Marine Corps, it’s not supposed to happen here.” My boss just laughed and said that was one of the stages of being stationed there that included shock, disbelief, denial and quiet resignation to the inevitable.

This may sound a little sacrilegious and irreverent to some, but most of us did our best to accomplish the mission – some even worked so many hours that they were eventually hospitalized with exhaustion-related conditions.

I am reminded that the average person should never watch how sausage is made because it may result in a loss of appetite.

Maybe some Marine Corps processes are like that, but one Congressman said the same thing about making laws.

I had the opportunity to visit the state Capitol in Oklahoma City this week to watch some of our lawmakers “make sausage.”

I’ve been in the media for quite some time and have witnesses the “feeding frenzy” at press gatherings around public figures.

I am happy to observe that “Altusians” should be proud of their state Sen. Mike Schulz (R-Altus).

I first met him during my first week in town last spring at a Legislative luncheon. I’ve met many politicians, but he really stands out. Whether you agree with his politics or not, he’s a very sharp and straightforward guy who seems to grasp nearly everything.

He just knows a lot of stuff about stuff. Pick a topic and he’s well-schooled on it and can give you the pros and cons, followed with his rational for why one position is flawed and why his position is better.

But either way, he seems to respect the person, whether he or she agrees with his position or not. What a breath of fresh air in today’s society.

Thursday, state Senate leader Schulz sat at a table before the lead press organizations in the state and not only shined as he held his own, but used his down-home humor and direct style to win over the skeptical.

Some of the most important things the Senate is considering are the Real ID, judicial reform and state budget issues. It will take some time as all those from both chambers figure out what they can do to compromise while still supporting their constituencies. But with Schulz at the helm of the Senate “herding cats,” I have no doubt we’ll get some of the best results possible.

The important thing, in my humble opinion, you will get a direct, straightforward answer to nearly anything you want to know about the decisions.

That’s your breath of fresh air.

Eric Steinkopff

Managing Editor

Reach Eric Steinkopff at or 580-482-1221, ext 2072.

Reach Eric Steinkopff at or 580-482-1221, ext 2072.

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