These two do NOT easily fit together! Yet here in The O-H-I-O it must happen. In November of this year (9 months from now) an election will be held crucial to this state and to the nation. Ohioans will elect a new governor and a new U.S. Senator. The recent Republican Party strangle-hold on this state must end! The newly drawn voting districts for this state are already being challenged in the courts by the Democratic Party, but also independent organizations as reputable as The League of Woman Voters (Update: The Ohio Supreme Court ruled yesterday that both maps for the state legislature’s districts and for our US Congressional Districts were unconstitutionally biased in favor of the Republicans that created them. They ordered new districts to be drawn once again!) A moderate (in some ways) Republican Governor, Mike DeWine, is under fire from the extreme right wing of his own party. The Democrats are fielding a strong candidate for Governor in opposition, Dayton Mayor, Nan Whaley, who has distinguished herself and her leadership abilities during several dramatic events in that city—a mass shooting and a tornado.
Nationally, the Senatorial race in this state is huge. The U.S. Senate is tied, 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans, with Vice President Kamala Harris holding the decisive Democratic vote in a tie. If Ohio goes Democratic with this seat, it will be a shift in this current stand-off (but only one of among a number of decisive races).
I have been working with a local, long-shot, candidate, Traci “TJ” Johnson. I fear the front-running Democratic candidate, Congressman Tim Ryan, will not adequately motivate the crucial Democratic voting bases in the big cities (Black Democrats) and in the suburbs (especially women). Even if TJ does not win the Democratic primary, at least she can help stir up interest, concern and awareness about the significance of this election. She will promote a bigger turn-out. See the earlier post—-https://naturereligionconnection.org/2021/11/28/tj-johnson-for-u-s-senate-from-ohio/
I have mostly been writing for her website and other campaign material, and making phone calls to create a campaign team. I have not gathered many signatures to qualify her for listing on the May primary ballot. I cannot go out in this pandemic, and now the Omicron surge, and interact with numerous and random people. This is not a good situation. I already have lung issues. Yet, here comes this crucial election!
Here is what I have written recently, in response to a Pac’s (Political Action Committee) request for information on these issues, before they will consider donating money to TJ’s campaign: Church and State, and Gun Violence.
The Separation of Church and State
“The right to worship in one’s own way is as fundamental as any Human Right. That our government and its agencies must steer clear of religious partisanship has once again become an increasing concern,” insists TJ.
Unfortunately, we live in a time when some Americans have insisted upon bringing their religious beliefs full square into the political realm. A very vocal wing of the Republican Party insists that they are “Pro-Gun, Pro-God, Pro-Life.” This is inappropriate and maybe even frightening.
First, it is unfortunate that the ownership of a gun has risen to a symbolic level comparable to belief in God and the respect for the value of human life. Gun ownership is not that important. Second, by “Pro-God,” these Americans have shown themselves to mean “Pro-Christian God.” Third, the decision that a human life starts at conception, or at the first audible heartbeat, is not a generally accepted standard. It is not endorsed by the scientific or medical communities. If you wish to believe in those standards, that is your private opinion, and one that often seems based in your specific religious affiliations.
In conclusion, the American Government is not Christian. Abortion is a basic option reserved to each woman in consultation with her doctor and loved ones, with some modifications based on community standards. Gun ownership is now a political issue only because too many gun-holders, sellers and manufactures are irresponsible and in violation of the general welfare of our community and themselves.
“Do Something” About Gun Violence
Once again it’s time for Ohioans to choose: continue with the bloodied status quo, or try to change it. There is no good reason that an 18 year old Ohioan is not old enough to buy a beer yet can buy an AR-15 Assault Rifle. There is no good reason that background checks are not universally required — close the gun show loophole! There is no good reason for our streets to be flooded with weapons easily accessible (often to teen-agers) for the use in robbery, homicide, domestic abuse and accidental discharge.
In recent years, four of our major cities have ranked in the nation’s top 50 in homicides per 100,000 population –Cleveland, Dayton, Akron and Cincinnati. Columbus and Toledo have set new homicide records in each of the past two years. The overwhelming majority of these murders occur by gun.
In 2019, a mentally disturbed 24 year old killed 9 and wounded 17 on a summer’s evening in Dayton in a shooting rampage that lasted less than 30 seconds. Daytonians gathered in the aftermath and shouted to the Governor, who was surveying the scene, “Do something, do something!” The Republican controlled State Legislature has refused. The U.S. Congress has refused.
“A majority of Ohioans have consistently voiced their support for reasonable increases in gun controls. When elected I will recharge this campaign to save lives and restore civility in this state and around our nation,” pledges TJ.