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Political diversity difficult to achieve in Logan County

From a political standpoint, can there ever be a fair hearing in Logan County?    A case in point was Examiner Staff Writer Joel E. Mast’s blatantly one-sided reporting in the paper’s Thursday, Jan. 8, edition.

Ostensibly, Mast’s front page article concerned the appearance of Ben Famous, a legislative liaison for recently re-elected Ohio United States Senator Sherrod Brown, at a Logan County Area Chamber of Commerce breakfast. Brown is a Democrat.

What it amounted to was a mash-up of Republican “talking points.”

The litany included debt reduction, instead of the needs of people, an assault on our local schools and what they allegedly teach or don’t teach, too many regulations for businesses, and gun control.

As a former newspaperman myself, I will cut Mast a little slack in consideration of where the meeting took place.

The chamber of commerce is nobody’s idea of a liberal organization.

The C of C is a fiercely anti-Democrat, anti-union, right-to-work outfit. The latter meaning the right-to-work for less.

Some of these chamber of commerce folks are so far to the right they’d make a member of the John Birch Society blush — if we still have a John Birch Society. It’s more likely known as the Tea Party today.

Mast wrote that the above (debt reduction, education etc.) were a “few of the issues broached during a roundtable discussion.”

I’m wondering what were some of the other issues “broached.”

I’m also curious as to why the event didn’t take place before a more diverse group of people.

Oh, pardon me, these are the so-called “community leaders.”

Admittedly, it would be difficult to have a wide range of political thought in Logan County, simply based on long-time voting patterns here.

Nevertheless, it’s worth a try. For the time being, we’re stuck with the status quo, such as it is.

At the meeting, according to Mast, it was purported that “60 percent of Logan County children do not go on after high school” and  are “lacking skills and attitudes that area employers need.”

As a former student, current student, teacher or administrator of a Logan County school, I would be deeply offended by such assumptions.

In the last three decades, private sector corporations and big business have gutted the American economy by shipping millions of jobs elsewhere in order to fatten their bottom lines. Their contempt is so brazen as to now fault the American worker for that guard.

The evidence is that corporations are sitting on trillions of dollars in assets — record highs, in fact — while the American public in general continues to suffer mightily.

We’re left with a whole lot more people for much less of the pie.

The chamber of commerce, keep in mind, is the mouthpiece of business — both small and big.

Also.

I’ve lived in this county most of my life and known countless outstanding individuals and contributors to society, who never spent a day in college.

I never spent that day, either, and feel none the worse for it.

I will be celebrating my 50th Class Reunion later this year (from Riverside High) and still revere many of my teachers, most of whom have since passed on.

Through the efforts of those dedicated professionals and my mother’s good will, I was well prepared for the “hard knocks” of life, so to speak.

I think teachers are getting a rotten deal these days. Their ranks are being slashed to ribbons. For those surviving the purges, their wages and benefits are often frozen or cut.

Here is what I think about deficit-spending cuts and entitlement reform (don’t like the word entitlements).

I’ve yet to read about or have it explained to me by anybody, how balancing a budget, such as the federal government’s, could possibly benefit anyone other than those who don’t need it.

Balancing a household budget is a good thing. But the residents of a home are not responsible, at least in part, for the well-being of millions.

Were it not for the federal government’s assistance, in particular with unemployment compensation, food stamps, anti-poverty programs and the likes, the situation in this country, for millions would reach tragic proportions more often.

Make no mistake about this, however, the people clamoring for unlimited government in this nation care for the future of their children and grandchildren. They just don’t give a d--- about the rest of us.

Who fills that void?

Sometime back, I was addressing some of these matters with a Bellefontaine man I’ve known for years. He’s a decent fellow.

He said to me “from what you write, I’d say you’re a liberal Democrat.”

Fair enough.

He intimated that my opinion of schools and teachers, for example, was influenced by the years I spent as a truant officer in that business (26 years), and that I have a School Employees Retirement System pension. In addition, I was elected to and served a term on the Bellefontaine board (1980-83. I didn’t seek re-election.)

In regard to the school issue, he’s on solid ground again.

Following is where we part ways, however.

He’s a conservative Republican, who now labels himself an independent.

When I asked him, though, for one liberal idea he could embrace, he was stumped for an answer.

Even as a liberal Democrat, there have always been conservative measures I support. I believe in the death penalty and in the Second Amendment’s right of the people to keep and bear arms, to name a couple.

These chamber of commerce types mentioned earlier are like a one-trick pony. And the trick is on us.

I’ve become plenty put out over the years with the ideas that theirs is the only line of political discourse in Logan County.

It isn’t. Nor should it ever be.

Jerry Turner

Quincy

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