Thursday, November 3, 2011
I VOTED ON HALLOWEEN
I voted on Halloween, but didn’t wear my “I (Godzilla) Tokyo” shirt
to the Medina County Board of Elections office. As pastor of the
First Church of Godzilla (Reform), I would be violating my deeply
held beliefs if I inserted religion into this election. I believe
in the separation of church and state, as does my Great Scaly Lord
and Master...though, unlike him, I can’t physically separate them
with a stomp of my foot.
Early voting has been a blessing to me. It allows me to avoid crowds
and the occasional idiot poll worker who thinks it’s his job to keep
the “wrong people” from exercising their rights. It’s not remotely
a secret that, across the country, Republicans are working hard
to either disenfranchise voters who disagree with their positions or make
it more difficult for them to vote. It’s a far more real threat to our
democracy than the urban legend of “massive voter fraud” included
in the right’s fear-mongering playbook.
Voting rights are under attack in Ohio with the Republicans trying
to rewrite the rules to their benefit. Their redistricting map is
coming under legal challenge because it so egregiously stacks the
deck in the GOP’s favor. If the Republicans have their way, there
will be less absentee and early voting.
Sans Godzilla shirt, I arrived at the elections board around nine
in the morning. There were only four or five other voters there.
Once I filled out the paperwork, there was no wait for one of the
voting machines. It’s a system that works exceedingly well, except
for the Republicans who believe greater voter participation hurts
their chances of winning elections.
The city of Medina has a “nonpartisan” ballot, which I don’t much
care for. I like to know the political affiliation of candidates.
When I’ve contacted The Gazette - local newspaper - and requested
this information in their coverage of the candidates, they recite
“nonpartisan” as if they were prohibited by law from reporting it.
It’s not a good newspaper.
On the other hand, the political affiliation of the candidates is
not a huge issue in conservative Medina. They might as well all be
Republicans. Some offices only have one candidate.
I voted for a former mayor for Member of Council At Large because
he had a decent record as mayor. I mentally flipped a coin to vote
for my own council person because there wasn’t much of a difference
between the two candidates. I voted for the incumbent clerk of our
municipal court because she’s been doing a decent job in the office
There were three candidates for the two open seats on the Board of
Education, including two women running as a team. With no terrific
difference separating the candidates, I voted for the one male and
one of the women. I don’t have much faith in the school board and
didn’t see any advantage in voting for both of the women. As much
as possible, I don’t want the members joined at the hip. Let them
fight it out from time to time.
There were three state and three local issues on the ballot. The
first state issue would, if it passes, increase the maximum age at
which a person could be elected or appointed judge. I’d normally
vote in favor of this because I don’t think age alone should be the
main factor in determining someone’s fitness to do a job. But the
intent of those who put forth this issue was to keep various right-
wing judges on the bench. Given the power the GOP has in Ohio at
present, I voted against this issue this time out. I’d be willing
to revisit it in a few years, especially if two extraneous clauses
are stricken from the bill.
Issue 2 was the big one. It calls for the approval or rejection of
a bill that would strip public employees of their bargaining rights
and - it’s a long bill - enact into law other things that would be
bad for the middle class and the poor. In other words, a typical
Republican bill to increase the power and wealth of the obscenely
powerful and wealthy. It’s telling that the GOP is so far out of
touch with the 99% that it decided to vilify policemen, teachers,
and firefighters. I voted against it.
Sidebar. The GOP is so mendacious in its lust for this bill that it
took footage of a woman in a political ad opposing it and re-edited
her footage to make it seem she was in favor of it.
The third state issue calls for the state to illegally opt out of
the national health care plan that recently became law. It is an
absurd issue that was put on the ballot to get the brain-dead Tea
Party lunatics to come to the polls to express their hatred of all
things Obama. Even it is passes, it would not stand up to judicial
scrutiny. However, while making its way through the courts, this
issue would cause chaos to our state health care and real damage to
those least able to afford and survive said chaos. I voted against
this one, as well.
Sidebar. My main problem with the national health care law is that
it doesn’t go far enough. That it was the best we could get is wee
small comfort. We won’t get the health care this country requires
until we get corporations and their paid-for politicians out of the
debate. I’m not holding my breath waiting for that.
Two of the three local issues were for renewals of tax levies for
the Medina County Home and the Medina County Health District. As
both of these organizations do good work for the entire community,
I voted for both of them.
The remaining local issue was a proposed income tax for the Medina
City School District. I hated to vote against that one. Up until
recently, I never voted against a school levy. But, as in the past
two years, I couldn’t vote for it.
I have absolutely zero confidence in the superintendent of Medina’s
schools. He is a partisan hack who has often made decisions based
on what the local Republican Party tells him to do. I can’t think
of a single interaction I had with him when he was the principal of
Medina High School where he did the right thing.
I have almost as little confidence in the school board. Whenever
cuts are made to the school system, those cuts seem to impact most
severely on those who can afford it the least. It’s pretty much
the 1%/99% dynamic on a local level.
If and when this lousy superintendent is gone, preferably against
his wishes, if and when the school board starts acting for all of
Medina’s students and not just the elite, then I will happily vote
in favor of more funding. Not before.
My kids were fortunate in that they had some amazing teachers while
in Medina schools. Many of those teachers took early retirement.
They saw the system and especially the state’s governor as hostile
to their profession and their ability to truly educate the students
in their classes. They weren’t wrong in that assessment.
After the votes have been counted, I’ll let you know the outcome of
these races and issues. In the meantime, because you have been so
patient with my political commentary, I’ll be back to writing about
comics for the next several days. The rest of those “New 52" debut
issues aren’t going to review themselves.
I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.
© 2011 Tony Isabella