I woke up this morning to the sound of WCPN reporting that former Democratic candidate for the Senate, Paul Hackett, was pressured out of the primary by a whisper campaign suggesting he engaged in questionable behavior during the war in Iraq.
I'm not a political blogger and I don't necessarily follow state politics. But I have nosed around to learn a bit about the candidates because I strongly believe Ohio needs a drastic change in leadership. But the recent political machinations, gossip-mongering and character assassination of folks who are sideliners in the process has made me ill. No, not ill, I'm raging!
When did political discourse become so personally vile and so wholly unrelated to the issues facing our state? Makes me want to move and worse, makes me want to disengage altogether from the voting process. I'm worried about what happens in Ohio, but I feel utterly bereft that any of the candidates in the statewide races possess either the understanding of the issues facing real Ohioans or the capacity to improve our state's economic environment.
Karl Rove would be tickled to know that he has inspired a new generation of political operatives in both parties — operatives more content to publicly (though underhandedly) shame private citizens who committed disgusting crimes (but who have nonetheless paid their debt to society) because they have strong opinions. I'm sorry, but don't we all live in one giant glass house? Last I checked, a democracy allows for free speech, even when you don't like the person speaking or the content of what he or she says. From what I saw of the court record, this person has paid his debt to society and now I read that we are so high and mighty and moral ourselves that we no longer believe in rehabilitation? There are no second chances? What a sad, sorry, unrecognizable world this has become.
I was against the war in Iraq, but I come from a long line of veterans and believe they are doing a difficult job with limited resources. I find it impossible to imagine what our men and women face daily in Iraq. I'm not sure what Paul Hackett saw or did in Iraq. I'm sure there are things that happen there that they would never have dreamed of here at home. But the same is true for all war veterans. My grandfather, who was in the Army in Guam in World War II is only just beginning to find the words for some of his stories. The experience causes him great pain. So why don't we help veteran's adjust instead of shaming them for serving?
By now the Republican candidates are laughing all the way to the polls as the state Democratic party implodes under leadership that is immature and vacuous. As a voter, here are my questions, and I don't consider them rhetorical. I want specific answers, nay, I am ENTITLED to specific answers. If you want my vote you damn well better earn it with specifics.
What are we going to do about fostering entrenepeurship in Ohio?
What are we going to do to make higher education affordable for more students?
How are we going to make Ohio an attractive place to live, work, play and retire?
How are we going to address the funding of our state's public schools?
How are we going to engage in budgeting that demonstrates our commitment to education at all levels?
How are we going to take care of the least among us?
How are we going to ensure that more Ohioans are insured?
How are we going to create an inclusive culture that doesn't prey on the prejudices of the small-minded but vocal, but rather opens our hearts and minds to be more accepting of those unlike us?
How are we going to encourage innovations and research that retain and bring in the bright, young talent that helps to stimulate our economic growth?
When is our political system going to encourage true leadership from those other than the lucky dozen with the right last name or family pedigree?
When are we going to tire of dwelling in the sewer of party politics and start meeting the needs of all Ohioans?