By Len Harding
I read a wonderful opinion piece the other day – right here in the Sun.
Paul Schwietering’s guest column was a bracing look at a hidden agenda that is slowly but surely removing “for the people” from state government. He was far too lenient regarding ALEC’s nefarious plans.
A look at their website shows that they have more than 280 proposals for legislative action which cover every aspect of our lives as citizens of the various states. For example: they have proposed initiatives that take management of public retirement funds away from professional neutral managers with fiduciary requirements and place them instead in the hands of the state legislature. In case you missed the subtlety, this means would allow the legislature to borrow from public employee retirement plans to cover their budget shortfalls.
SB5 was an ALEC proposal that Governor Kasich rammed through the legislature. I’d bet that the current proposals to reduce the state’s financial role in local government are ALEC-inspired. What better way to get back at the public unions than to steal their retirement funds.
Our Republican Legislature has no qualms about destroying those whom they rule. And rule us they do because we elect them without question. As long as they protect our guns and restrict abortion, they get voted into office time and again.
Speaking of voting, the Ohio Republican Party would rather you didn’t. This is especially so if you are a minority, working poor, or a single mom. In fact, thanks to the Supreme Court, you may have already voted in your last election.
The Supreme Court has decided that states no longer need to worry about whether or not they limit people’s access to the polls – so long as such restrictions are fair. It’s like saying that laws which prohibit rich and poor alike from begging on the public sidewalks and sleeping under bridges are fair because they don’t discriminate. Believe me ALEC knows just how to make laws of this sort work.
Ohio Republicans have been striving mightily to restrict minority voting since 2004, when Ken Blackwell was Secretary of State. He did all he could to keep black people from having easy access to the polls and to limit their registration, even though it was the black community that first brought him to prominence in Ohio politics – he was a Cincinnati hero and his wife was superintendent of the Cincinnati school system for a number of years. Once he got famous he apparently decided that his minority identity wasn’t as important as being a Republican sycophant and he was off to the races – or at least off of his racial identity. Not unlike a certain supreme court justice I could name.
Election years 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, were all years that Republicans attempted to limit minority participation in the election process.
Republicans want to be in control because they do not trust democracy. Because demographics are always against the one-percent rich, Republicans depend on political machinations to maintain control. They are not unlike an autoimmune disease: they destroy the body that hosts them – in this case Ohio’s working people.
Mr. Schweitering your column was wonderful. But you ended it too soon.
Len Harding is a retired consultant, technical writer and historian. He lives in Clermont County.