This Is How Democracy Works

WooHoo! Reason #2,348 why I love the Democratic Party. I just left the caucus to choose representatives from our Congressional District to attend the Democratic National Convention in 2016. I was there to support Cara Weiser Posey in her bid to become a delegate for Hillary Clinton in 2016. Predictably, it’s a big tent when Democrats come together. Anyone who doesn’t think Central Ohio can be an exciting place has never dipped a toe in the political waters here. What characters these liberal mortals be. Young and old; Black, White, Asian, Indian and Hispanic Americans — all taking a seat at the table and willing to stand for what they believe in. College students and retirees; exhausted parents corralling toddlers and young teenagers trying to look suitably bored.

Given the luxury of two minutes at the microphone, the delegate-candidates were a microcosm of America. The retired Gay lawyer who was able to marry her long-time partner just last year. The older woman who has volunteered for the Party for years and is ready to state her case nationally.  The two college students bubbling with enthusiasm “we are young Democrats” was their oft-repeated greeting.  The older gentleman who was a delegate to Bill Clinton and who proudly said “now it’s her time and I want to be there.” The aspiring young comedian who said “you won’t forget me, my last name is Arabic you see” and then waited for the laughs (and was content with the chuckles from the assembled.) The University professor who held up a children’s book titled “Girls Can Be Anything,” which Hillary had signed for his daughter in the last go around. “Send me,” he said, “so I can keep my promise to my daughter – that’s her right there (pointing out a standing and cheering youngster)- and support Hillary.” Union members, church members and not all that many looking like they had a lot of money in the bank. And my candidate who said, “I want to support Hillary for those kids sitting right there,” indicating her two kiddos, one of whom was celebrating a fifth birthday supporting her mom.

The Bernie Sanders supporters were rocking and rolling from the beginning and even as we caucused for Hillary, we could hear them making a joyful noise in the adjacent auditorium.  It was hard to not have one ear cocked in that direction. They have a lot to say and it’s important that these things be said. It’s a benefit to all of us when every voice is heard.

Being a Democrat in America can be a messy business. Most of us don’t always use our church manners when confronting injustice, discrimination, oppression . . . and mean people. We speak out, speak loudly and sometimes we sound a little crazy. But as many delegate-candidates said tonight, do you want the party of Trump to install three Supreme Court judges? Not me.  Added bonus?  Not one grey suit and red tie to be seen.

So we came home to await the results. I hope our candidate is elected. But I know her, just like I know all of the others I met for the first time tonight. We are Democrats and in the end, we will support the nominee — and we will continue to squabble and fuss and encourage and lift up and go headlong into the fray. It’s just what we do. ‪#‎ohiodems‬

My Money, My Decision on Merit Based Pay for Public Employees — Legislators In Particular

Members of the Ohio Legislature have a base salary of $60,583. They are paid from $2,500 – $10,000 more for committee assignments. Any leadership position nets thousands more per year. They are paid mileage at least once a week during session to drive to and from home. They have a full health insurance benefit and of course the Public Employees’ Retirement System. They also have campaign funds that they use to reduce their personal expenses for cell phones, computers, cable service, meals and entertainment etc. A veritable slush fund if you will.

The average salary for an Ohio teacher is $56,307. You may recall the recent strife when the Reynoldsburg School District made a move to drastically cut benefits and I can tell you from personal experience that health insurance benefits for teachers have radically changed in the last ten years — not to the benefit of teachers. And the State Teachers’ Retirement System has been jockeyed around by the state legislature until teachers have been put into a position of bargaining and positioning against retirement.

Oh ho, you say! Teachers do not work year-round. I invite you to review the legislative session calendar. They are gone weeks before school breaks and they don’t come back on the first Monday after the holiday. Despite the occasional lawyer amongst them, they are often people with a minimal college degree. Far, far too many of them are career public employees who wouldn’t recognize the private sector if it hit them on the nose. (Witness my own state senator, Kris “girls are just like that” Jordan.)

Yet these part-time working, full-time earning denizens of the public good are, once again, reviewing teachers’ salaries. House Bill 343, now before the Ohio House Education Committee would once again strip teachers’ salaries. The old “merit pay” argument. They say, “gee, some teachers aren’t very good, so why should they make as much money?” How about this boys and girls: some of you aren’t very good legislators (I call your attention to the barely literate vice chair of the House education committee, Andrew “I love the tea party and I’ve got your phone number” Brenner. I don’t think you should make as much money as a good legislator. In fact, I think you should receive merit-based compensation. And since you are ALL paid with my tax money, I’ll decide who merits what.

The traditional teacher pay schedule might not be required in Ohio anymore – if a proposal in the House Education Committee moves forward. The state Senate…
CLEVELAND.COM

Andrew Brenner has nothing to worry about

motivatorb49773dfb4982aff839776a216ae1c192f7c9007 (2)Andy Brenner, my state legislator in the Ohio House has nothing to worry about.  He can keep collecting that tax-funded paycheck even while screaming about the size of government. He can fulfill his fantasy of public leadership even while using his wife’s crazy train blog site as an unreported campaign propaganda machine.

Today the editorial board of the Cleveland Plain Dealer joined liberal leaning writers (like me) on the internet in pointing out the issue with one of his latest blog posts. If you haven’t read that, you can find it here. However, they, along with so many others, make the mistake of thinking that Brenner ever had an original thought.  He takes his ideas and marching orders from the American Legislative Exchange Council.  Privatizing public schools?  That decree came from ALEC months ago.

Dennis Van Roekel wrote about it last summer for the Huff Post after viewing “The United States of ALEC.”  Here’s a link to Dennis’ article.

Andy is so proud of his ties to ALEC – after all, they fund his vacation yearly (shhhh . . . it’s a conference).  He rates his ALEC participation right up there with the work WE pay him to do.  From his official bio:  “I serve on the following committees: Education, Vice Chairman; Public Policy and Oversight; Financial Institutions, Housing and Urban Development; and, Rules and Reference. I also served on an ad hoc committee on Technology in State Government in the 129th General Assembly. In addition, I am a member of the tax policy task force for the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)”

So no, he is a mental midget and didn’t dream up this privatization idea on his own.  He just used his own deplorable grammar to outline it – and then backtracked that we just “don’t get” his sense of humor.  Believe me, I find him very, very funny — just not the way he thinks.

Delaware County Ohio has a history steeped in GOP politics.  The central committee is adept at creating openings off the ballot process in order to appoint people into seats. They even refer to it as “It’s not his turn yet.” They are the security blanket over people like State Senator Kris Jordan when his wife is recorded on a law enforcement dashcam asking for protection. They are the dysfunctional group that is standing by while a seated county commissioner runs for another seat on the same board. It looks crazy, but if he wins, it opens a seat to which they can appoint a crony.  In Delaware County, we don’t need no stinkin’ elections. If by chance they must (sigh) endure such a public spectacle, they just flood the conservative, young and affluent voter block in the southern tier with “ballot cards” in their mailbox. That way, the voter can just carry that card into their polling place and not have to think.

Andy served his time as the county recorder, narrowly evading accusations of bid rigging and sexual harassment. He traded on gossip and ran local campaigns like the lap dog he is until they gave him the House seat after Jordan moved into the Ohio Senate.  It’s a convoluted story — but it was a gift given by the GOP central committee and given dignity by apathetic voters. The local GOP created and condoned this goofball and if they cringe at his antics now, they know he is their little monster.

 

Brenner a failed apologist

Oh Andy, you are married to a self-proclaimed “editor-in-chief.” How about you have her proof your writing?  Or maybe she does. That’s even more disturbing.  But I just have to tell you Mr. Brenner –every time you open your mouth or take up your pen you are just making your mess a little worse.

For instance, Andy, your on-line whining because people took issue with your Wikipedia-fueled thoughts on public education. I’m beginning to agree with you, if only because your own public education was so lacking.  Or perhaps it was the student.

We must ask the question, if our state legislator is incapable of writing a coherent sentence, should he be a member of the House Education Committee.  I think not.  To wit:  “All that mattered to the left was to spread the lie, demagogue me, and rewrite history if they could.”  Andy, Andy, Andy.  No one, no matter how they may try can demagogue you.  Demagogue is a noun, sweetie.  Thus you can be and you likely are a demagogue, but you cannot be demagogued (that’s not even a word but perhaps it will help you understand.)

dem·a·gogue

noun \ˈde-mə-ˌgäg\

: a political leader who tries to get support by making false claims and promises and using arguments based on emotion rather than reason  (Merriam-Webster — try it next time it’s much better than Wikipedia.)

Here’s another: you wrote “It’s a mean, deep-seeded, vindictive hatred.”  Now in Ohio we could perhaps “deep-seed” in our gardens in order to get below the frost line.  You likely meant “deep-seated.”  Generally it is colorfully used to explain that something has gone on for a long time.  Certainly, between you and I there appears to be a deep-seated animosity.  Sorry it just doesn’t rise, at least on my side, to mean, vindictive or hatred.

A final comment for your morning grammar lesson — ease up on the commas.  You will never be able to grasp the ambiguity surrounding the use of the Oxford comma.  Just ease up and you won’t look quite so stupid.

My State Rep Is Almost Illiterate

Andy Brenner, (remember him hiding behind the dumpster?) has done it again.  Pumped up with ALEC ideas — mostly because he never has had an original thought — and egged on by his #tcot pals, has now accused the system of public schools in Ohio of being “socialistic.”

Since Andy used his wife’s blog to deliver his groundbreaking news, I thought I would ask my spouse, a 30-plus year veteran teacher, to lend his thoughts on Andy’s news.  So, as my guest blogger today, here is the perspective of Douglas Joseph, public school teacher and private college adjunct.  Take it away Doug!

In response to your “legislator’s perspective” entitled “Public Education in America is Socialism, what is the Solution?”, I would like to express a 30+ year educator’s perspective.

Mr. Brenner, let me remind you of March 24, 1997, when Judge Frances Sweeney wrote for the 4-3 majority vote (Ohio Supreme Court) – “We send a clear message to lawmakers (I think he meant you and your ilk).  The time has come to fix the system.  Let there be no misunderstanding.  Ohio’s public school-funding scheme must undergo a complete systematic overhaul.”

As of December 2002, the 4th decision was handed down by the Supreme Court that Ohio legislators must do something about the way public schools are financed. Instead of criticizing the jobs teachers are doing, and that is what you seem to be saying, why don’t you do your job?

There are many points in this article to which I take exception, but let me point out to you that one of the biggest complaints I have about this article is the author.  You have been elected by the people of my community to serve the people of my community.  I have never seen you walk through my building during a school day so how can you judge the job I am doing?

You mention that Bill Gates can’t find qualified workers in America?  So you must be saying that the 93,000 people employed by Microsoft  around the world must not be very smart.

You mention teacher unions are running the schools.  Teacher unions do not decide curriculum, schedules, etc.  I have spent more of my time dealing with state initiatives (OGT testing, evaluation systems, OPAPP) in the last five years than ever.  The state mandated OGT testing disrupts the education system for over 3/4 of the students for a week of school.  I and my peers are taken out of classrooms to have meetings, grade practice tests, learn new state initiatives — anything but teach.

Your definition of socialism comes from Wikipedia.  For your information, most professional educators refuse to accept Wikipedia as a reliable source to be used by our students.

You are a product of a public school education.  Were you unfairly educated?  Were you able to achieve a college diploma?  Your parents lived in a specific school district and you attended that school.  Would you have taken the money and run?

You mention privatizing schools – I think you are referring to charter schools, which I know you have a vested interest in.  Are you still receiving campaign money from corporate owners of charter schools?  How about that license plate — that was cutting-edge legislation for schools.  Why are so many charter schools closing?  How many have been successful?  Lets compare report cards of public schools and charter schools.  How long can you protect your contributors.

I have to wonder if your fear of schools, educators and knowledge is something you should have checked out.  At any rate, Mr. Brenner, I invite you into my classroom at any time to teach for one day.  I look forward to watching an expert at work.  Maybe I can learn something.

Thanks, Doug — couldn’t have said it better myself!

 

Disenfranchised – what a hoot — Updated!

Update:  woo hoo!  I’ve been miraculously “un-blocked” and can now access the public pages of delawaregop.org.  Isn’t that nice!  Maybe I should have just let someone know.  Sniff.  Feelin’ the love.  Also delighted with the number of people who read my blog overnight.  🙂

There’s been a lot of talk lately about who will appear on the Republican primary ballot in Delaware County.  Gossip is rampant that a fight is brewing between the Tea Party and their local survivalist nut Kris Jordan and the quietly-sliding-to-the-center Pat Tiberi.  Each reportedly has a candidate or two and plans to push them through.  Then there’s the undeviating nutbag county commissioner Ken O’Brien who tells people that he’s running for a different seat on the Board of Commissioners.  Well sure.

So since it’s all so interesting, ahem, I thought I would check out the local website.  Imagine my surprise when I saw that my IP address had been blocked. gop blocked  That’s right, fair reader, the Delaware County GOP Central Committee is so frightened of this soccer mom that they went to the time and trouble to block my IP address.  

Now, some of you may remember that some time ago, Brenner1 and Brenner2 blocked my email address so they wouldn’t have to see my emails pop up in their in boxes.  And Brenner2 blocked me from her Twitter feed so I couldn’t comment on her grammar.  While I have often spoken out about how stupid they appear to be, they were smart enough to know they didn’t want to hear what I had to say.  That part about being one of Brenner1’s constituency notwithstanding.  He doesn’t need any constituents — especially those who disagree with him.  He just needs the sheep-like votes of people who don’t really want to be bothered with their government.

In the last local election cycle I protested — quite nicely if I say so myself — about the candidacy of one of their own who had multiple addresses.  One of those addresses, and central to my argument, appeared only on the local GOP website.  So let this be a cautionary tale to those of you who seek information about elected officials in Delaware County, Ohio.  If the local Republicans don’t like what you have to say, those champions of free speech and government transparency will find a way to pull the curtain.  And I guess they thought that would be okay.  What it is, however, is cowardly and more than a little pathetic.

Some people are just mean

Living in Delaware County Ohio, I’ve grown used to petty politics and attempts at personal destruction.  Through the years, I’ve seen some of the ugliest small-town politics you can imagine — and fallen victim to rumors, gossip and attempts at intimidation.  Even writing a letter to the editor of the local newspaper can result in anonymous letters at my home and personal attacks as the local GOP attempts to hold on to power.

However, the nastiness is often perpetrated by people who are frankly intelligent enough to know better.  They themselves are victims of a culture and a heritage of ugliness and I don’t necessarily hold them accountable becaused I believe they are “true believers.”  The intent doesn’s seem to be more than trying to hold on to the government jobs they have.  Ironic, since they all seem to cry out for smaller government — as long as the government includes them.

Not taking them seriously works for me — until they actually begin to do damage.  The most strident of the group is Powell City Councilwoman Sara Marie Brenner.  Now Mrs. Brenner is the wife of Ohio House of Representatives Andrew Brenner.  My travails with the Representative are well documented on this blog.  Mrs. Brenner even invited me to coffee once to ask “why I don’t like Andy.”  As you can imagine, that didn’t really go well.  Because I don’t like Andy — I think he’s an idiot.

She, however, is the current voice (self-appointed) of the Republican party in Delaware County.  Strident and clamorous.  And although I’m happy to ignore her rants and leave her to her constituency, it was recently brought to my attention that she has now turned her hatred toward “liberal women.”  That I cannot leave alone.  Women in this country – in this time – have enough problems without Mrs. Brenner’s public statements such as “liberal women who want the right to choose to abort a baby in the ninth month, but who don’t want us to be able to choose what size slurpy we order from a food vendor.”  It’s fairly  clear that no one is limiting her slurpy orders.

Her false and ugly attacks published on her blog certainly fall in the realm of freedom of speech.  I’d love to take up with her the argument about the current state of women in this country – but she and her public-sector-paid husband do not return my calls and have blocked my emails (see earlier posts) and indeed, won’t engage me in public.

So here you go — Sara Marie you are out of control.  Your strident and ugly rants aimed at women in this country do no one any good.  Entering the public realm and promoting your beliefs is your right — a right ensured by people who put their lives on the line — even for the likes of you.  However, when you fling accusations such as the one above you risk having another woman — in this case me — throw it back in your face and tell you to calm down the rhetoric.  Your profanity, your mean-spirit and your persistence have no place in civil discourse.  Grow up, shut up and learn to fight for your point of view with a modicum of grace.

Rick Santorum is wrong

Earlier today I was cut off in traffic by a male driver, who shared an obscene gesture with me as he whipped around my car on the highway.  Lately I have noticed that men step in front of me to get on the elevator, shut doors in my face and barge in front of me in line.

You know what?  I’m good with it.  Clearly, the world is full of boors of many sexual persuasions.  Being a feminist, I do not expect unwarranted niceties from men.  I don’t expect civility from people around me and that allows me to be delighted when I receive it. I try to be courteous to everyone, say please and thank you and hold the door.  I’m even guilty of telling complete strangers to “have a nice day.”  But hey – I want to be a nice person.  Not everyone does.  I believe that people can choose to be civil beings – ladies and gentlemen if you will – but I am responsible only for what I choose to be.  I am not responsible for the jerk who cuts me off on the highway, only for my response to his rudeness.

Enter Rick Santorum, presidential candidate and very conservative guy.  He made the news earlier this week with his comments on “women in combat.”  In an interview with Ann Curry, Mr. Santorum said, “(It’s) because of that reason of a sort of natural inclination to not focus on the mission because of the natural inclination to want to protect someone because it’s natural within our culture,’’ he told Curry. (really – that’s direct quote)

Curry asked the former Pennsylvania senator whether he believes women are not capable of fighting alongside men in the fiercest parts of the battle.

“No, that’s not the issue,’’ he said. “I’ve never raised that as a concern. The issue…is how men would react to seeing women in harm’s way or potentially being injured or in a vulnerable position and not being concerned about accomplishing the mission.’’

Oh dear.  That old saw about how the boys want to protect us.

In 2003, Dr. Leonard Wong, associate research professor at the U.S. Army War College’s Strategic Studies Institute said the paper “Why They Fight: Combat Motivation in the Iraq War” validated the popular belief that unit cohesion is a key issue in motivating soldiers to fight.

Wong and a team researchers from the War College went to the battlefield in Iraq for interviews because they wanted to speak with the soldiers while events were still fresh in their minds.

Their findings followed conventional wisdom, finding in part that each soldier is responsible for group success and protecting the unit from harm. As one soldier put it, “That person means more to you than anybody. You will die if he dies. That is why I think that we protect each other in any situation. I know that if he dies, and it was my fault, it would be worse than death to me.”

Hmmm.  So soldiers in the field report that protecting fellow soldiers is their first, best priority. 

The other role is it provides the confidence and assurance that someone is watching their back. In one infantryman’s words, “You have got to trust them more than your mother, your father, or girlfriend, or your wife, or anybody. It becomes almost like your guardian angel.”  Let me see . . . guardian angel . . .

I’m not sure where candidate Santorum has been for the last few years, as women have worked, died and killed on the front lines in the Mideast.  In 2009, the New York Times covered it fairly well — http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/16/us/16women.html.

In the most dangerous, fragile circumstance I can conjure in my mind, the people I would choose to have my back are not chosen based on sex, but rather on their love for me.  Help me, protect me, save me . . . and I will help you, protect you, save you.

But more importantly, perhaps when Mr. Santorum looks at his own little girl, he feels a parental surge of protectiveness and can’t imagine her in combat.  If so, he and I have common ground.  Perhaps what he can’t connect to is that parents of boys feel the same.  Here’s an idea for political debate:  instead of spending time trying to figure out what to do with women, let’s put that time and effort into figuring out how to avoid the lunacy of war and protect all of the children — girls and boys — on both sides of the guns.

These two chumps need to stay out of womens’ bodies

The twin misogynists of the Ohio Legislature – Delaware County’s Ohio Senator Kris Jordan and Ohio Representative Andy Brenner just can’t seem to figure out that they are on the wrong side of the street when it comes to controlling women’s right to health care. 

Last July, Jordan just flat-out lied about Planned Parenthood’s work in Ohio — telling a reporter from the Mansfield News-Journal that,  “They say they do a lot of other things, but their business is really abortions.”

Really, Kris?  More than 96% of what Planned Parenthood does in Ohio is life-saving cancer screenings, birth control, prevention and treatment of STDs, breast health services, pap tests, sexual health education, information and health counseling.  In 2010, the organization recorded more than 218,817 client medical visits, including:

  • 27,129 pap tests
  • 24,302 breast examinations
  • 36,157 pregnancy tests
  • 121,816 STI tests.

Funny enough, it was also last July when Kris’ wife, Melissa Jordan, called 911 from the couple’s home.  The official Sheriff’s office transcript contains the following.  ”

Sheriff’s Office:  Okay, so is anybody else around you?

Melissa:  No, I don’t know what to do.

Sheriff’s Office:  It’s okay. It’s all right.

Melissa:  This is the first time I ever called you.  He’s done this a lot.  I can’t put up with it anymore.

Sheriff’s Office:  Okay, we just wanted to make sure that there is not – where’s the weapon at?  Is it locked up or does he have it on him.

Melissa:  I don’t think he has it on him.  He took it off.

Sheriff’s Office:  He took it off where?

Melissa:  In, it’s in here.

Sheriff’s Office:  With you?

Melissa:  It’s right here.  I see it.

Sheriff’s Office:  Okay

[Background talking]

Sheriff’s Office:  [Inaudible]

Melissa:  He’s walking away, he’s had some drinks, he was pushing me around, throwing stuff.  Because I called you he wants; he says it’s over.”

Nice.  that puts this pretty couple right up there with all of the ugly domestic abuse calls that go down each day.  Except, of course, our pro-gun legislator Kris Jordan had his little friend in his pocket or right near by.

So what did Jordan say to the cops?  “She got a little upset.  Girls do that.”

Silly girls we are . . . getting upset about little things like this fool pushing his wife around . . . carrying a concealed weapon . . . yikes!

I have long said that I believe he is capable of great violence — sadly he proved it.

 

And then there’s Andy.  He’s so proud of his stance on reproductive rights that he put this out this week.

“I am honored to share the news with you today that I have been endorsed by Ohio Right to Life for the 67th Ohio House District for the 2012 primary. My opponent in the primary was not endorsed.  (Of course, his opponent is Craig Schweitzer, who clearly states on his website that he is 100% against abortion.)
During my time in the House, I have fought early and often for legislation that protects the rights of the unborn, including the “heartbeat bill.” Earning the support of Ohio Right to Life is very important to me, and I am truly humbled to have been recognized by this endorsement. Through supporting the CORE Center in Delaware and other pro-life causes, I am doing all I can both as a legislator and a citizen to promote this important cause.”  Gee thanks.
But how does this little guy reallyfeel about women?  Well, when the company owned by him and his wife, SaraMarie Brenner, was first discovered to be in default of federal trust taxes, the big-ole, brave boy had this to say:  (from The Columbus Dispatch 8/25/11)

“Asked about the lien, Rep. Brenner downplayed his role with the company, acknowledging that he is vice president “but I don’t have any say in the company.” He said he helps when needed and is not paid.

His position with the company is listed on both his official House biography and his campaign website.

“There are a lot of companies that owe back taxes. Are you going to write about them as well?”Rep. Brenner said, before directing questions to his wife.”

Really Andrew?  You directed questions to your wife?  So, let me get this straight.  You want to be in charge of my uterus, but you don’t want to take responsibility for a business you are trying to build a career on.  What a guy.

These two yahoos (Jordan and Brenner) are all about ducking responsibility when it comes to the women they married.  But they are Johnnies on the Spot about what other women should be doing.  It’s ironic.  Two middle class, publicly-education white boys who have not publicly claimed fatherhood for any children are all about protecting cells in utero.  Perhaps they should just shut up and keep their sperm.  That’s really the best idea for protecting Ohio’s unborn.

 

Epic Fail

State Representative Andrew Brenner staged a door-to-door campaign today in Delaware, Ohio, to promote Governor John Kasich’s legislative agenda.  He wanted to have a “Super Saturday” event to “instruct” people on how to vote on two of Ohio’s upcoming ballot issues.

In the State Rep’s own words, “Historically, the “no” vote wins referendums. It is essential that we get out an instruct people to vote YES!!! on Issues 2 and 3.

Both issues are essential elements of bringing jobs and economic prosperity to Ohio. I was so proud to be your Representative in this historic year for Ohio. We balanced our budget, lowered taxes and eliminated an $8 billion budget shortfall left to us by the previous Democrat-controlled government. The economy is back on the right track after decades of mismanagement.”  (He hates when I quote him, but I would hate for you to think this was my grammar.)
 
So, knowing that he was going to be at the Tim Horton’s in Delaware to greet his supporters and fellow campaigners, and knowing that, according to his website, he was looking forward to seeing me there, and having heard that the local Democratic Party members had decided to stage a peaceful protest in front of the place to show their dislike for his decision to not remit taxes the the IRS according to the law, I decided, what the hey . . . I could use some coffee.
 
Arriving at the coffee shop, making my way through the 20 or so peaceful supporters with signs that said “tax cheat” and “Andy pay your taxes,” I went in for my cuppa.  Inside, my State Rep. was at a front table with a young man I soon learned does not work for him whose name is Justin.   Andy, the aforementioned State Representative, was taking pictures of the peaceful protesters with his camera phone.  That looked interesting, so I took my french vanilla and stepped over to the table.  After all, I am a constituent of his, having lived in Ohio House District 2 for more than 20 years and having voted in just about every election during that time.
 
As readers know, I’ve had a hard time reaching the Representative, so wow, what a great opportunity to share some thoughts and ask some questions.  After all, according the the website of the Ohio House of Representatives, “A State Representative is an elected official whose job is to serve as a direct link between those Ohioans he or she was elected to represent and state government. In order to best fulfill this role, a representative responds to constituent concerns and works to provide solutions through legislative action. In order to best serve their constituents, a state representative attends meetings of their local civic, social and business groups in addition to responding to mail, email and telephone correspondence from constituents in their district.”
 
So I asked Andy why he was taking the pictures.  He didn’t like that.  I asked him why Prestige Music, a company for which he serves as vice president, had not remitted the taxes they had withheld from employees.  He really didn’t like that.  I asked him what he had against teachers, firefighters and cops.  That was a real low in the conversation.   I tried to stay positive.
 
He said he didn’t know who I was.  I was aghast that we had never been properly introduced.  After all, this is a man who authored a blog in 2006 saying that I would look good in prison stripes and insinuating that Jail Break was my favorite show.  He made some wild accusations on the internet at that time about my personal and professional life, until the then-chair of the Executive Committee of the County GOP told him to take it down.  I reminded him of that.  Again . . . not a happy man.
 
Among the things our gallant State Rep told me this morning were that he didn’t have to answer to me because he works only for the “majority of the voters.”  Guess he checked my voting record.  Oh that’s right — he doesn’t know who I am.  He has “had enough of me.”  But I thought he didn’t know who I am.  He said I made anonymous posts about him on the internet.  Now that’s just plain silly — how could they be anonymous if he knows who made them?  Besides, I’m proud of my writing.
 
The best part was when he grabbed his phone and took my picture.  I waved and smiled.  I told him I would go to the car and get my camera and then we could have pictures of each other.  But when I got back from the car, he was gone.  I saw him later, out beside the dumpster with four other guys.
 
Before I left the coffee shop, I ran into a retired military man who was looking for Andy.  He had come to walk with him.  We debated the various aspects of the legislation in question.  This gentleman was so nice and I completely understood his point of view, although I don’t agree with him.  We agreed to disagree.  When he told me he had never actually met our State Rep, I offered to introduce him — explaining I had only recently met him myself.  I sincerely wished that his gallantry and manners would rub off on little Andy. 
 
I explained that Andy was back hiding behind the dumpster so he and I walked slowly across the parking lot, enjoying the sunshine and the conversation.  I led him up to the group and introduced him to his elected representative.  I wished them a good day . . . and I meant it.  Everyone’s point of view deserves to be heard.  That’s a part of this great experiment in democracy.  Now if we could just find a way to teach that to our politicians.