When I was in college, it was a felony to possess marijuana in any amount. If the cops caught you with it, you could go to the state penitentiary for a very long time.
When I was a child, Oklahoma prohibited the sale of hard liquor. Okies could drink 3.2 percent beer (usually Coors), but they couldn't buy a bottle of whiskey or order an Old Fashioned in an Oklahoma restaurant.
When I was growing up, there was no legal gambling in Oklahoma: no lottery, no casinos, no slot machines, and no video poker.
My, how times have changed!
Medical marijuana has been legalized, and you can buy it in special dispensaries all over the state. The dispensary in my hometown of Anadarko is on Main Street.
Once considered a grave sin in the Sooner State, gambling is now legal. The Native American tribes have casinos all over Oklahoma. One does business just two miles outside my hometown.
If you want to drink while you gamble (and who doesn't?), you don't have to find a bootlegger anymore. You can order a cocktail at the casino bar.
Ain't life grand?
Even better, hardly anyone goes to church now. When I was a child, I got up on Sunday mornings, shined my shoes, put on my clip-on bow tie, and trotted off to Sunday School.
My teachers kept track of attendance, and if I had a perfect attendance record for one year, I received a lovely ceramic pin for the lapel of my little sports coat.
Everyone went to church in those days, and adults dressed up for the occasion. Most men owned one suit, which was reserved for weddings, funerals, and church.
Of course, a few people still attend church on Sundays in my hometown--primarily old people. But the church parking lots are no longer full.
Anyway, what do the pastors preach about now? Don't drink? Don't gamble? Don't do drugs? Oklahoma's politicians tell us all that stuff's OK.
When I was a child, some evangelical ministers preached that going to the movies was a sin (and they may have been right!). But there are no movie theatres in my hometown anymore, so why bring up the subject?
I wish I could say Oklahomans are happier now that they can drink, gamble, and smoke marijuana. But I don't think they are.
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