Voter activism can work; more needed


The successful effort to block Gov. John Kasich’s attempt to shove Senate Bill 5 down the throats of working Ohioans is an example of the citizen activism needed to rein in extremism that targets the middle class (“Senate Bill 5 remains an emblem of Kasich’s extreme agenda,” op-ed column, Aug. 17).

But we’re living at a time when the new generation is marked by indifference. Young people — if they care at all — acquire news and information on social media, without a filter to help determine fact from fiction.

As imperfect as our political system is, the polling place is still one of the last forums we have to make our voices heard. In this way, we can guard against corporations and the wealthy — who do not have to answer to voters — from gaining extraordinary power by helping to get laws passed that can benefit their interests.

Our elected officials have become objects of disdain. In many cases, that disdain is well earned. The vote can work to get better lawmakers in office and to guard against despotism.

That may sound hyperbolic, but apathy can be scary. Without initiative and voter participation, public employees in Ohio — and maybe all workers — would have been stripped of the right to bargain for better wages and working conditions. What’s next?

As a history teacher, I implored my students to take an interest in their world and to get involved. That’s what it took to get SB 5 on the ballot, to defeat a bill that was clearly opposed by the majority.