We all know that saying: As Ohio goes, so goes the nation. After all, since 1864, Ohio voters have picked the winning candidate in 35 out of 40 presidential elections. Ohio’s last mistake was notable, however. In 2020 Ohio voters chose loser Donald Trump by 8 points over Joe Biden. Hopefully Ohio’s losing streak is just beginning because Ohio officials, doubling down on being all in for Trumpism, have been proposing some truly hideous legislation lately.
In March, Ohio House Republicans supported House Bill 327, a bill to change the way “divisive concepts” are taught in public schools. As one example, the bill would require teaching both sides of the Holocaust. What does that even mean? State Rep. Sarah Arthur Fowler the bill’s co-sponsor, spoke about it in a March interview: “You should talk about these atrocities that have happened in history, but you also do have an obligation to point out the value that each individual brings to the table [emphasis added].” Like the German soldiers whose perspective might inform schoolchildren’s understanding of mass murder? (Arthur Fowler readily demonstrated why she has no standing to legislate on the Holocaust; after listening to “some audiobooks,” she doesn’t know how many people died and why they were targeted.)
A few months later, Ohio Republicans flirted with giving the government the green light to sexually abuse children. The anti-trans athlete bill, also known as the “Save Women’s Sports Act,” officially called for mandatory genital inspections for student athletes only if anybody — that’s right, any other person — disputed the child’s sex assignment.
What would you call forcing girls to undergo genital and pelvic exams? To some, this legislation brought to mind Larry Nassar, currently serving a 60-year sentence, and a columnist for the Washington Post called it “medical rape.” Republicans in the Senate realized their team had gone too far and pulled the incendiary provision, for the moment.
Even more recently, when SCOTUS overturned Roe v. Wade, Ohio was one of the first states to jump on the anti-female bandwagon. Republican Gov. Mike DeWine had already signed a “trigger law” banning abortion after six weeks, and it went into effect on June 29. Only three days later, a 10-year-old girl who had been raped and impregnated in Ohio was refused an abortion. She had to cross state lines to obtain this procedure in Indiana (where the state legislature will likely ban abortion later this month). Ten years old. TEN YEARS OLD. We don’t know much about the case—as well we shouldn’t—but we do know DeWine’s response: he had none. DeWine had nothing to say about the abuse this 10 year old has endured at the hands of her pedophile rapist as well as the state-sanctioned abuse from a government that should protect her.
There is also Jayland Walker, the 25-year-old Black man who was pulled over for a traffic violation and had eight Akron police officers fire more than 90 rounds at him while five more officers stood by watching. They shot for seven seconds even though the bullets took him down after only one. In response, not only did the police department put the involved officers on paid leave, the city canceled the Fourth of July celebration. Which may be the only thing here that makes sense (even though city officials likely did so out of concerns of the ferocity of protests).
What has happened to Ohio? Females, trans people, Black folk, religious minorities are all being targeted by this state. The home of the Rock and Roll and Pro Football halls of fame may need to add a Best Bigots Hall of Fame to its list.
If you want to bring sanity back to Ohio, support Tim Ryan for Senate.
And keep up with the fight to save Ohio, and follow Rep. Casey Weinstein on Twitter.
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