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Restoring Sanity on the Washington Mall November 1, 2010

Posted by makingyourdashcount in intolerance, legislation, Ohio Politics, politics, Thoughts.
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“No problem, I am trying to quit, anyway.”  That response after a woman in line politely asked  the man in front of her to put out a cigarette was indicative of the experience at Comedy Central’s Rally for Sanity and/or Fear.  Young and old, probably more liberal than conservative, but as Jon Stewart pointed out “all with disposable income,” gathered on Washington’s Mall this weekend to… well, gather. We crammed onto the morning’s first metro train to get to the mall early enough to get a decent spot.  No problem.  We will get coffee and food once we get there. (Mistake)

Metaphoric sardines in a too small can, we got a great spot, in the second public section, by the Museum of the American Indian. The draw to DC to stop the bickering and shouting and have some intelligent civil conversation was a strong one for many.  Although the “official” estimate of the crowd was 215,000, the Washington Post reported

(DC) Metro officials said a new Saturday ridership record was set, with 825,437 trips taken. The average number of trips taken on a Saturday is about 350,000.

Hanging around the stage the day before, workers said that they planned for 150,000.  The permit was for 60,000, however the streets leading to the rally were filled with people who never got in, because there were just too many people. Gathered. For reasonableness.

I really did not have any expectations of this rally.  I knew it would be fun and entertaining;  it was Comedy Central.  It was not political, although there were smatterings of anti-teaparty and anti-CNN/MSNBC/FOX/ and even NPR news signs.  Peoples’ presence seemed to say,

We want our elected leaders to talk to each other to figure out solutions to our problems. There is middle ground on all issues; can’t we just find them?  And not yell?

Perhaps the root cause of this frustration is that we think we are electing leaders.  However to get reelected the politicians have to pander to groups who will financially support their next campaigns. To get re-elected politicians have to demonize their opponents because our society has become black and white with no one willing to commit to shades of grey until they are in their final term of office. Governance requires listening, consideration and compromise : all of which are missing from American politics.  Discussion means tuning out the 24 hours news talking heads and their name calling.

The signs seen at the rally seemed to reflect the desire to look past the emotional rhetoric, discuss facts and then work together to draw conclusions and make decisions.

Someone asked me how this rally compared to a rally that I attended in 2004 on the mall that was decidedly political.  My answer?  That one was empowering, it showed me the amplification of one voice when joined in harmony with others.  This rally?  It was reassuring.  I know that I can now sleep better tonight knowing that I stood with thousands of others for dialogue, that I am not the only one whose head feels ready to explode in this era of acerbic commentary and rash generalizations.  At the very least, it let me escape the cavalcade of meanness masquerading as politics until I vote on Tuesday.

As Jon Stewart mused,

If you amplify everything, no one hears anything.

It’s time for America to open her ears.

Postscript:

  1. Comedy Central:  next time plan for more people.    AND, instant coffee??    What were you thinking?  Ugh.
  2. There were lots of Ohioans there.  Wonder why.
  3. Of the thousands of people at the rally, I happened to stand in line for coffee with two women. Of these two friends, one grew up in Westerville, Ohio where I now live and the other knew someone that I did in her hometown of Casco, ME where I spent my childhood summers.  It is a small moderate world.

(Metro Statistics)  Maria Glod and Chris L. Jenkins, Malfunctioning escalator injures 4 at L’Enfant Plaza station ,Washington Post Staff Writers Sunday, October 31, 2010; 7:45 PM

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Why I am voting NO on Ohio’s Issue 3 and why it matters (to me) October 19, 2009

Posted by makingyourdashcount in ohio, Ohio Legislation, Ohio Politics, politics.
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This weekend I had the privilege of being in a small audience listening to John Harwood’s (CNBC &NYT) slant on politics in the age of cable news polarization and grass roots movements. In all honesty, it was a bit disheartening as he talked about what it takes to get a legislator to vote for any bill introduced by the other party. As I heard it, even if one party introduced a bill where all of the points stood on the side of the other party, the other party would never vote for it, because it was not theirs. Party Loyalty.

So much for the American public’s desire for collaboration.

It takes acts like 9/11 to bring both sides to agreement across the table. So sad because it tells me that I’ve wasted a lot of time on the letters sent to legislators (although there are a very few, who have some backbone while not running for reelection, seem to break that mold.)

In polling, as I learned in a political science class the day before, people cross party lines when asked about issues although they barely cross when asked about candidates. On issues, people of different political persuasions find common ground. Sounds like a much more promising area to make a difference… state and local issues, because people do not pigeonhole their political identification as readily.

This is particularly visible on the current battle over Issue 3, Gambling in Ohio. Pushed heavily by labor unions in the state on the hope that it will generate jobs, key Ohio politicians (both Democrat and Republican) have stayed out of the discussion. God knows Republicans would never publicly agree with Unions.. and Democrats would never go against.

So here is MY .02 on why I hope that all of you vote no on Issue 3
.
To me this issue isn’t about jobs or preying on those least affording to gamble false hopes, taxes or the evils of gambling, although if those reasons propel you to vote no, I’m good with it.

I am against Issue 3 because this is our state’s constitution and I have a problem with specifically entitling locations and particular people with ANYTHING, let alone a monopoly business!

To me a constitution is about affording rights and codifying policy. If one wants to codify gambling in the Ohio Constitution, then don’t limit it to particular locations and numbers. The free market system should determine that. Say: Ohio allows the following types of gambling.. yada yada and then let investors dook it out.
Read this issue for yourself to see the following language: (The casino in Cleveland, Ohio will be located on one or more of the following properties: (a) the property situated south of Public Square, east of Superior Avenue, west of
Ontario Street and north of W. Prospect Avenue; (b) the property situated south ofW. Prospect Avenue, east of West 6th Street, north of W. Huron Road and west of Ontario Str«1; (e) approximately 7.91 acres of property located south of W. Huron Road, west of Ontario Street, nonh of Canal Road and lying east of the prolongation of the centerline of the Bridge of West 6th Street; (d) approximately 11.22 acres of property and water lying east of the prolongation of the centerline of the Bridge of West 3rd Street, south of Canal Road, northwest of W. Eagle Road and bounded by, and including a portion of, the Cuyahoga River to the soulh and the southwest; (e) all air rights above the approximately 0.87 acre parcel… etc etc etc… Is THIS what SHOULD be in a Constitution. Think about it.

If you decide you are FOR this Issue, let me know. I have a few business ideas that I, too, would like to have codified. I have two more years of tuition to cover and need that guaranteed income.