The people of Ohio stood up and said to Gov. Kasich and the Republican controlled legislature in a loud and clear voice, “We are mad as hell and we aren’t going to take it anymore!” The referendum on SB 5 was defeated across party lines by 61% to 39%.
The fight over Issue 2, which would have stripped collective bargaining rights from many hard-working middle class people, proved to be a battle ground for rights and dignity for the Ohio workers. It was a battle that was far more than just Republicans versus Democrats, or union versus non-union, or even the haves versus the have-nots; it was a battle for the right to be heard. Ohioans and the American people in general are fair, intelligent and reasonable when treated with respect and given the opportunity to participate in problem solving sessions.
Gov. Kasich’s bus finds a roadblock
When Gov. Kasich rode into office a year ago he came with an arrogant attitude that said it is my way or the highway. He literally told a gathering of reporters and lobbyists that if you aren’t on his bus he is going to run you over. What he didn’t consider is—if you get enough people surrounding the bus then it isn’t going anywhere. Some tried to get on his bus but found the doors closed and others began looking for another mode of transportation. Now the people have found their own bus and are driving it straight toward Kasich and his buddies.
At his concession speech Gov. Kasich said he will take some time to listen but then defiantly announced that local governments should not expect a state bailout. People don’t want bailouts. They want to work. They want the opportunity to bring management and workers to the table to discuss among themselves their problems and work out a solution benefitting all. It is called negotiating and compromise.
Ohioans won’t tolerate disrespect
Former Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland noted how state workers took 20 furlough days and pay freezes to help him balance the budget. “The impression that was given to the public was that public employees aren’t willing to participate. I think they have been and will continue to be,” Strickland said. “But they are not going to take disrespect, and they aren’t going to tolerate name-calling. If this administration understands that, then I think there could be the ability to work together.”
Bill Leibensperger, vice president of the Ohio Education Association said, “There has always been room to talk. That’s what collective bargaining is about. You bring adults around a table to talk about serious issues.
Support crosses party lines
These issues were important to more than just the people directly affected by SB 5. We Are Ohio, the organization behind voting no on Issue 2, raised $30 million, four times that of the Republican Building a Better Ohio. In addition, more people voted against Issue 2—about 2.1 million—than voted Kasich into office in 2010—1.89 million. In a Quinnipiac Poll two weeks before the election, 32% of Republicans were opposed to SB 5.
Vice President Joe Biden issued a statement saying, “By standing with teachers and firefighters and cops, Ohio has sent a loud and clear message that will be heard all across the country: The middle class will no longer be trampled on.”
Grandma Quinn—“We showed him!”
But Grandma Quinn, the great-grandmother who unwilling became the face of the campaign, said it best when she said, “That showed (Kasich). We showed him.” Short, sweet, and to the point. I like that Grandma Quinn.
Yes, Ohio’s voice regarding treatment of the middle class was clear last night and loud enough to be heard across the nation, “We are mad as hell and we aren’t going to take it anymore!”