When someone tried to tell me that watermelon was the state vegetable, I giggled. Considering myself as someone who always takes the objective approach, I decided to do the research. Google verified that watermelon was the state vegetable AS OF 2007.
I cannot even use time and ignorance as an excuse for this. When Oklahoma had mistletoe as the state flower in the 1800s, it was because mistletoe was not known to be a parasite that decimated precious tree populations. Once politicians found research proving that mistletoe was indeed a parasite, Oklahoma legislature decided to choose a new state flower that properly represented growth instead of poison within the environment. This is not necessarily the case with the state vegetable.
According to Don Barrington, the senator that sponsored A bill proposing for watermelon to be the state VEGETABLE said that the "controversy" had been solved. Apparently, the categorization of watermelon as either a fruit or a vegetable WAS AN IMPORTANT CONTROVERSY FOR THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF OKLAHOMA.
Sorry if you are reading and it feels like I am yelling by putting important phrases in all caps, but everyone needs to be alerted to the fact at HOW PREPOSTEROUS THIS IS. IF I CANNOT GET OVER IT, YOU CANNOT GET OVER IT, EITHER.
Turning back to the main point, we have had many important controversies that the Oklahoma legislature has had to handle with seriousness and wisdom. One includes fracking, and another includes our teachers not being paid enough to teach across the state of Oklahoma. Road construction has been another important issue amongst others. Therefore, there really was not a reason for AN ENTIRE BILL TO BE WRITTEN FOR WATERMELON TO BE CONSIDERED LEGALLY AS A VEGETABLE IN ORDER TO BE THE STATE VEGETABLE.
According to Senator Barrington, he claimed that watermelon was a member of the cucumber family, so it could, therefore, be a vegetable. However, he was met with dissent from a fellow senator who literally pulled out a dictionary and read it, proving that watermelon is considered to be a fruit everywhere else. Senator Barrington also boasted of how watermelon as a state vegetable would boost his "watermelon-growing Rush Springs constituency" since he apparently won a local contest for spitting watermelon seeds the farthest in 1994
Not only is it a problem when politicians ignore definitions IN THE DICTIONARY, but also the problem is cucumbers ARE ALSO NOT VEGETABLES. Senator Barrington claimed that watermelon had to be a vegetable because it is a part of the cucumber family. The issue with this is that scientists have classified cucumbers ALSO AS FRUITS, specifically fleshy fruits that are called Pepos. Therefore, Senator Barrington desired for watermelon to be considered as a vegetable under false claims that it could be a vegetable.
In 2015, Senator Nathan Dahm wrote a bill, Bill 329, to revoke watermelon's designation as the Oklahoma state vegetable. However, watermelon is still the state vegetable because we have many watermelon festivals and some politicians can win competitions for spitting watermelon seeds.
NONE OF THIS SHOULD HAVE HAPPENED.
THIS IS A PROBLEM BECAUSE IT HAPPENED, AND WATERMELON BECOMING A LEGAL VEGETABLE SHOULD NOT BE A PRIORITY FOR POLITICIANS.