OK is not okay
The other negative assessments here are basically accurate. Notice the recurring issues.
I'm from OK, was raised there. I lived in California for about 21 years and made the terrible mistake of returning to OK when I retired. I'm a veteran. If you're a veteran, the Oklahoma City VA hospital is one of the worst. I ended up with third-stage cancer because of their neglect, their incompetence, their indifference. They wanted me to sign up for palliative care. They said there was no effective treatment. Thankfully, I found a much better VA and am now cancer-free. In 2015 and 2016, a federal investigation determined that the OKC VAMC had withheld access to the Veterans' Choice program for veterans.
And it's not just the VA. Their medical school, at the University of Oklahoma, has been referred to as "third-rate" by physicians I know. Outside the VA, I knew of several cases of medical "treatment" that badly damaged patients, and I wondered at the time if they were experimenting on patients, but, no, looking back, I think it was just gross ignorance and incompetence and a state that does not assure decent medical care for it's poor.
The culture of OK is sick. It's mean. They are superficially friendly but very angry and very resistant to change. They don't realize how badly they abuse themselves and each other. There is a long history of tragedy in that state, and I think the whole culture is stuck in grief - especially anger. Huge issues with drugs, alcohol, suicide. I rarely ever met a native who wasn't on anti-depressants.
Part of it is the fundamentalism. Pew Research found OK was one of only three states - Arkansas and Tennessee were the others - where more than half the population identified as church-attending fundamentalists. I repeatedly listened to natives proudly tell me that they beat their children.
And they love the death penalty. Per capita, the state murders by far more inmates than any other state. "justice" in OK is deeply corrupted.
And, yes, they call themselves the "Sooner State," and their favorite university football team is the OU Sooners. They memorialize the criminals, referred to as "Sooners," who illegally crossed the border earlier in the land-run than was legal and took unfair advantage over the settlers who complied with the law. Scott Pruitt, before his appointment to head the EPA, was their attorney general, and he spent millions in state funds - a state that is financially strapped - on frivolous lawsuits before the SCOTUS essentially fighting for the right of Oklahoma not to comply with federal law.
And, yes, they've paid their teachers beans for years, and they leave for other states. But, then, wages in OK are generally very low. And the poverty is grinding.
Partly the problem is what passes for a newspaper in OK. It's stated goal was to convert the state into a bastion of republicanism, and they did it. The oil and gas economy is boom-bust and those with the means leave the state during down-turns - a recurring brain-drain. And, no joke, the average IQ in OK is five points below the national average, per Pew Research. Go figure.
And the climate has become extreme. I was lucky to find an awning under which to park during a four-hour hailstorm. Later, I got caught on the road in a hailstorm. Totaled my vehicle. I used to enjoy the lively weather, but the tornadoes are enormous and horrifying, now, like atom-bomb blasts. And it's intensely hotter than when I was a kid. Native vegetation is dying. And, with climate change burning the place up, there's a witch hunt on to get rid of the native red cedars, which are a colonizing tree that is tough enough to withstand the extreme weather. There's a myth there that they contribute to fire, but I spoke to the head of their state forestry service who told me they'd actually documented that red cedar protected other trees in forest fires. That information will never fly in OK.
And, yes, they trash their state and deny climate change. More than one fundamentalist helped me understand why: They expect the Second Coming of Christ at any time. Only the bad people will be left here - and I guess the innocent animals and plants. The bad people deserve the hell that they'll get, and since the good people will be leaving, why worry about wrecking the planet? Ah, it all make sense, now. Needless to say, recycling isn't exactly trendy.
I think my worst memory is how so many of them presumed to tell me, if I would only pray and get right with Jesus, my cancer would be healed, as if they knew anything about my spiritual life. Whatever one's faith, I can't imagine anything more sacrosanct, more private, more off limits. They are a very wounded people, but they are not open to change. And, yes, there are some wonderful people in OK, for whom I am grateful.
I wish the state better times, but they need to tend their own garden. Or maybe their purpose is to be an object lesson in what not to do.