Asking a Simple Question to Those Rigging Ohio's Democracy
September 23, 2023
excerpted from the 9/23/23 Pepperspective
As I ate breakfast [on Friday, Sept. 22], preparing to take my kids to school, I had a quiet day planned.
But then I happened to see a schedule for the public hearings for Ohio’s redistricting commission as they push through a map even more gerrymandered than the current illegal one. Like most of Ohio, I hadn’t heard about the hearings. So when I saw there were only three in 5 days, in very inaccessible locations and at very inconvenient times, my day quickly changed. To my kids puzzled looks, I went back upstairs, shaved, and changed.
Because when it’s so obvious their goal is to keep the public as uninvolved as possible as they rig Ohio’s democracy for two more years, and when I had enough flexibility yesterday to get to the 10 a.m. hearing 90 miles away, I decided to personally stymie their cynical goal as best I could. Plus, who doesn’t enjoy a little road trip.
So after dropping the kids at school, I drove my truck those 90 miles to witness that, indeed, they had accomplished their goal of no one attending. There were far more state troopers, politicians and staff in the room than everyday Ohioans.
And all this made me decide that if I was going to be one of the speakers representing the millions of Ohioans who support democracy (I think there were 6 total speakers, versus the hundreds in 2021), I better say something that made them pay attention.
Which is why I started my testimony with a simple question, as you can watch in the video [starting at 1:02:55. Click the ohiochannel.org button below].
So yes, I had a lot to get off my chest in front of the lawless body that has spent 2+ years destroying Ohio’s rule of law and democracy all at once.
I hope they listen.
I doubt they will.
Their looks and general silence as six Ohioans pleaded with them to stop destroying democracy gave all the assurance that the fix is in. And that the new, rigged map—cooked up behind closed doors—that we were all staring at in that empty hearing room is going to be THE map rigging Ohio’s democracy for the next two years. Yes, it’s worse than the current, unconstitutional map.
But as another speaker predicted so eloquently, if they don’t listen to the people of Ohio as we ask for basic and constitutional representation, but instead move forward lawlessly once more, we will fix this process soon enough. As she said, “gerrymandering is itself a lame duck. The people see it.”
And the reform we will pass will start with making sure THEY are fired from it. Because even in the way they cynically scheduled and sited that hearing so that only six of us attended and spoke, the politicians have proven once again they can’t be trusted with the process of shaping and protecting Ohio’s democracy.