If the headlines read, “Ohio elections rigged,” the public would be outraged. As it turns out, the “rigged elections” are perfectly legal.
I would wager that most voters in this state have no clue how the legislative boundaries are drawn. They don’t know that every 10 years, after the census, the political party in power controls an apportionment board, which gets to draw the lines.
Republicans stacked a majority of districts with a high percentage of Republicans, to maximize their chances of winning. If there was a high percentage of Democrats in an area, they simply split them into several districts to dilute their voting power.
In some cases, there were too many Democrats in an area, so Republicans packed them all into one, safe district, the surrounding areas left with more Republicans.
These partisan decisions are made behind closed doors. Republicans make no apologies for taking full advantage of a flawed system. They are counting on a majority of Ohio voters to be ignorant of the process.
But what alternative is there? Issue 2 is the alternative.
And who is sponsoring this amendment? Certainly not the political parties. The sponsors are a coalition led by the League of Women Voters of Ohio. Issue 2, the Ohio redistricting amendment, would require the districts to be drawn by a citizens commission.
The independent citizens commission would operate with openness and transparency. All meetings, records, communications and draft plans would be open to the public. No more backroom deals.
By law, the commission would draw the maximum number of politically balanced districts. The districts would have to take into account minority voting rights and geography (as little drawing and quartering of cities, towns and villages as possible).
The commission would allow voters to choose their politicians, instead of politicians picking their voters.
This is a far cry from what we have now. The power brokers and politicians will lie to retain the advantage they have bought and paid for. You will see misleading ad after misleading ad before the election, as Republicans and their allies feel their power slipping away. Just remember what we have right now is inherently unfair. Passage of Issue 2 would put the power back in the hands of the people.
Passage of Issue 2 would change politics in Ohio forever. Your vote will have meaning again. Both political parties will actually have to work to earn your vote. Passage of Issue 2 means the candidate you vote for stands a chance of actually winning. Competitive elections might spark the voters’ interest.
George L. Yerkes
Loss of the American dream
Recently, my daughter and son-in-law sold their house. It was a bittersweet win.
In fact, there was no sense of victory at all, just relief after two long years of attempting to sell their house and resignation to living in bad economic times. They took what they could get: after 10 years of house payments, just enough to pay the bank its 200 percent. They are walking away with nothing.
What is so upsetting is that they lost not only half of what their house was valued just a few years ago, but some very important ingredient in the American dream of the middle class. For decades it has been almost entirely the home equity that has carried most of us to the next rung, to a better next home and life.
With this removed from the equation, what is left for those now starting out? Renters for life, playing the stock market?
These kids have been wronged, I think, no less than at gunpoint. Tens of thousands of dollars of equity have been taken from them. They did nothing risky, nothing wrong to deserve this.
What I want to know is: Where is the retribution?
Where are the laws? Where are the courts? Where are the safeguards?
I know: All this is in the control of those who think capitalism should be given free rein, regardless of the consequence to the “little people.” Money is all.
I wish people could connect the dots and see the fallout of the big lie that big government is not the solution. I wish people would not pin their hopes of the American dream on a big, ruthless, reckless, conscienceless, chew-’em-up-and-spit-’em-out money machine called unregulated capitalism.
Don’t people realize that it’s not 1984 that’s upon us, but Rollerball?
Failures in foreign policy
The past two weeks have been destructive to America, President Obama’s foreign policy and the life of Ambassador Chris Stevens in Libya.
It finally was called a terrorist act, when 100 men attacked the embassy and burned the building, along with killing the ambassador and his protectors. It was not spontaneous, but premeditated and thoroughly planned.
Since that time, there have been demonstrations in numerous countries in the Middle East. Most of them are chanting death to America.
We do not pay allies like England, Canada, France and Germany to be friendly to us, nor should we have to pay countries in the Middle East to be our friends.
Since they need our help, they should cooperate with us without being bribed. If they will not cooperate, then money should not be paid.
To negotiate is a form of weakness. A strong country demonstrates strength by standing up for America.
Our foreign policy under President Obama has failed and cost us the life of our ambassador, the first one in over 30 years. It has incited chaos in the Middle East and hate for America. The election of a young, inexperienced senator with goals of global redistribution has been a drastic mistake.
It was encouraging to hear President Obama in Kent on Sept. 27 say that we can create hundreds of thousands of jobs and cut America’s dependence on foreign oil in half.
During the debates, I need to hear why he didn’t implement those proposals four years ago, when his party had control of the House and Senate.