Like a lot of Ohioans right now, I too am staying home and I’ve found myself catching up on some good TV series. One of them is “Better Call Saul” and recently an episode titled Bad Choice Road where Mike and Saul are rehashing the previous 36 hours spent on a desert road. Saul is complaining to Mike about how he arrived in the predicament he finds himself in now. Mike tells him that the road they find themselves on now is because of the choices that they made, even if they appeared small at the time. Mike tells Saul he can at some point get off this road, but regardless, he’s still going to end up right where he is now trying to figure it all out if he doesn't make better choices. In other words, learn and get on with life.
Right now Ohioans are learning, perhaps for the first time, about the choices made by their elected leaders over the last twenty plus years. They do not like their present circumstances or the road we’re on. They’re discovering their healthcare system is unprepared in dealing with the pandemic due to bailouts passed by Republican-dominated legislatures or the profit-driven hospitals that down-sized the number of beds in order to lift their bottom lines.
We’ve found ourselves on this road due to a lot of bad choices done by our elected leaderships and we cannot afford to repeat the same mistakes by going back down the same road.
People are seeing the overcrowded conditions in our state’s prisons due to cost-cutting, privatization and mandated sentencing for non-violent crimes and in Marion where COVID-19 has infected inmates and corrections personnel alike it’s hitting close to home for many of us. Others are experiencing firsthand how the state’s unemployment compensation computer system is outdated and how it has crashed under the enormous influx of claims due to years of avoidance by our General Assembly to modernize it.
They’re listening to Governor DeWine essentially say the Compensation Fund for workers is empty again because GOP leadership declined to make it more solvent after the Great Recession broke it. In 2008 Ohio was forced to borrow from the Federal government during a crisis and will have to do so again in this one. All these choices have put us on the road where we now find ourselves.
What is to be done? First, we have to decide to get off this road and make better choices going forward to ensure we stay on the right road. That means exposing the gaslighting by those who’re desperate to divert attention away from their own negligence and shift the blame to the workers and People. Next, we elect legislators that won’t stand for corrupt legislators who’ve for far too long and at the expense of our communities have kept their real budget priorities locked away from public view.
What will Ohio look like five, ten, twenty years from now? That discussion should’ve started years ago. This pandemic is giving us a rare opportunity though to rediscover what we stand for and how we can better impact our communities and our environment in a truly beneficial way. Ohioans can take this time to figure out how to restructure our financial issues, strengthen our safety nets and build for future generations.
We’ve found ourselves on this road due to a lot of bad choices done by our elected leaderships and we cannot afford to repeat the same mistakes by going back down the same road. Our communities must demand better of our leaders and together choose a better road for Ohio.
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