Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Process and Potential

Last week the Ohio Supreme Court by a 7-0 vote allowed the Ohio Democratic Party and other affiliated groups to move forward in an attempt to petition to place an issue on the state ballot. The issue will seek to repeal the new Congressional districts designed by the GOP-dominated legislature. The Dems and their allies contend that the redistricting was blatantly partisan in nature and was generally unrepresentative. Compounding the problem with the effort to place the issue on the ballot is that because of 2010 Census data, Ohio’s congressional delegation will shrink from 18 to 16. That suggests that running candidates for the coming election, if the petitioning and redrawing have not been completed, will be complicated because the existing districts cannot be a “fallback” position until the matter is settled.

Because the present filing deadline is December 7th, candidates are forced, for the moment, to file in existing districts, but that would mean that too many representatives would be elected from Ohio if the remedy has not been enacted before the filing date and the election. Do you have any doubt that politicians could mess up the simplest task because of their game playing and misplaced party loyalty? They have proven over and over that they couldn’t plan a one-car parade without causing a major pile up on the street. It seems as if there are two probable remedies for this foul up: The first is that the petitioning and voting go forward, and if the voters reject this current plan, a new map is designed by either the legislature or a so-called “independent” committee chosen by the two old duopolistic parties. This method will probably result in a delayed special election for Congress persons from Ohio or at the very minimum condense the process so severely that citizens will find it difficult to properly vet and observe the contenders. This scenario would be a huge advantage for incumbents and well-financed candidates in the open districts. As a result the people’s choices would be limited by the manipulations of the establishment politicians in the two old parties.

The second likely outcome may be more toxic and anti-citizen than the first. Under the threat of the statewide petitioning effort bolstered by polling data suggesting that the people may vote to repeal the newly drawn districts, the Republicans may withdraw their plan and “cut a deal” with the Democrats. In other words….politics as usual. Following dinner and drinks the career politicians assemble together to carve up the state of Ohio into friendly areas where each party can maneuver at will. There may be a couple of “contested” or competitive districts to provide the illusion of fairness and to toss a bone to the Supreme Court of Ohio. All of the attempts to exercise raw political power and the cooperative efforts to shield the game from the eyes of the people may lead to a golden opportunity for Ohio politicians to courageously serve their constituents (sarcasm).

If for some reason (pick one, any one), the district map fiasco hasn’t been resolved in time for a reasonable petitioning/filing date, reasonable primary date and sufficient time to prepare for a general election or special election, then Ohio could claim a “time out” from participation in the federal government until we get the matter resolved. Actually, we might discover that our little breather or suspension of our federal participation might not be deadly. It might even be an occasion for exercising our rights as citizens without fear of Big Government trampling them just because some bureaucrat decides it can. We in the Buckeye state may conclude that we enjoy freedom, independence, self-reliance and the ability to chart our own course without interference from the Nanny state. Freedom can be exhilarating.

It is possible that our small-minded state politicians who are more concerned with holding and exercising power than with following the national and state constitutions have provided us (unintentionally) with a golden opportunity for reclaiming our liberty. If it works out that we become a “free state,” then our first order of business should be to select legislators and administrators who know what they’re doing, who have the interests of Ohio ahead of their partisan desires, and who are NOT seeking a lifetime job at the government trough. Deep in my heart and veneered onto my brain is the hope that our venal self-serving political class has finally shot themselves in the feet. Their faulty marksmanship can set us free. Just a thought for your consideration. I’m going back to sleep now and attempt to recapture the dream.

Tue. & Wed., 6-7:00pm, 1370 WSPD, Toledo.

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