For a liberal lost in the wilds of Ohio, the political process in 2011 is a scary thing. Conservatives control the Ohio Statehouse. Not particularly smart conservatives, either. Further, if you are a liberal with a child in public school, more terrifying still in an identified gifted track, and your household income depends on a career in public education, honey you’re shaking in your shoes. Add to that a growing trend toward misogyny and an elected official who refuses to speak with you and you may stay in a dark room with the covers pulled over your head. Or not.
Let’s begin with Ohio State Representative Andrew O. Brenner. You may remember him. He has forbidden me to contact him. He considers my contacts in any form to be, in his words, “harassment.” Interesting in that we have never spoken directly. This may be because we are often at different ends of the political spectrum. It may be because I think he is a jackass. Whatever. Last week, this appeared on his Twitter page:
So, it’s certainly not that we disagree that there is a possibility for a parody in this situation. After all, the freshman legislator who is for concealed carry in bars and restaurants and for drilling in public parks and against women’s health rights makes more money as a public employee than many of the public employees he decries and clearly the public school teachers who had him in class were unsuccessful in teaching him some basic vocabulary. However, we think that he meant parity. According to the Economic Policy Institute, When annual hours worked are factored in, full-time state and local employees earn 3.3% less in wages and salaries than similar private sector workers. Looking at total compensation (wages and nonwage benefits) Ohio public employees annually earn 6% less than comparable private sector employees and 3.5% less on an hourly basis than comparable private sector employees. So yes, there is a “parity” problem Rep. Brenner. You just don’t understand it. I would tell him this, but I’m not allowed to talk to him.
Then there’s that whole drilling in public parks. Makes me crazy. Fossil fuels . . . we love ’em. Did we learn anything last year watching oil defile the Gulf, billowing into the water at millions of gallons a week? Are we so greedy that we have forgotten Billy Nungesser’s face as he worked so hard to clean that mess up? One American standing against the tragedy? Apparently not, because now, the Ohio Legislature is going to drill in Ohio State Parks for shale oil and natural gas.
I wrote a letter to the editor of our local newspaper last week in response to State Senator Kris Jordan, however, it hasn’t yet been printed. I find that fascinating. Documentation about shallow drilling and the dangers inherent in doing so abound. Many of these dangers were shared with members of the State Legislature. They were soundly ignored. The short-term profit from the fossil fuels proved far too valuable to them, allowing them to ignore the long-term cost to the environment. Even as a neighboring state is polluting Ohio with water left over from the process there.
On one day last week, three bills went through the Ohio Legislature that weakened women’s right to dominion over their own bodies. Even as it was revealed that the architect of one of the bills was caught in a typical bad-boy act (you know the one . . . aging drunk married guy, viagra, stripper, ad nauseum). That particular legislator is now pleading for privacy. The same privacy he’s not willing to extend to me.
Now we hear that Ohio Governor John Kasich is going to hit the road telling others how his union-busting, dog the public employees, drill on public land, damn the women full-speed ahead approach is the right one. How he gets things done. How despite the fact that he was not allowed to — get this — put his friend who lives in another state on Ohio’s payroll (damn shame) he gets. things. done.
Does the political process work in Ohio? Not for me. Oh, and by the way . . . could someone forward this to Andrew Brenner . . . I’m not allowed to communicate with him.