Debate Forum Left 10/13/10

The Discourse Of Power

By J.T. Ryder

J.T. Ryder

I was asked to write this forum piece in favor of Ted Strickland in the upcoming gubernatorial race with John Kasich. What follows will not be a direct endorsement of Strickland for the office of governor. I’ve decided instead to use Ted Strickland and the gubernatorial race as a partially painted backdrop to further illustrate the logical processes needed to make the decisions that govern our everyday lives. Too often, these logical processes are muddied by the careening cacophony of shrill voices from those wanting to be heard and who usually have nothing to say.

Hubert Humphrey once said, “We believe that to err is human. To blame it on someone else is politics.” To say that blame is the central tactic of any political campaign is an understatement of epic proportions. If you mention the name Strickland, you are apt to receive an expletive-laced tirade on how he has single-handedly caused all the jobs to leave Ohio…but is this true? One anti-Strickland ad states that our current Governor cost Ohio 400,000 jobs, but one must ask how this number was reached. It is not as simple a process as counting empty seats in a classroom. By tweaking and extrapolating the various data available, one could also make the argument that several hundreds of thousands of Ohioans were potentially abducted by aliens, and it would be equally as difficult to disprove. By the same token, the anti-Kasich camp is running ads detailing the then-congressman playing a part in Ohio’s dramatic unemployment issue by favoring and voting for NAFTA and fair trade issues with China. Numbers of job losses are bandied about, but they are apocryphal at best.

So, we have two candidates blaming each other for the same thing, utilizing almost the same statistics. There is really no way to determine the truth. Perhaps neither one is to blame for the current unemployment crisis. Perhaps, when we look at the larger picture of the problem, it is an inherent flaw within the concept of capitalism that has created the perfect storm, bringing about the situation that we now find ourselves in. Perhaps, just perhaps, if we look at the general structure of capitalistic philosophy, we will find that it is an unsustainable concept that is predestined to crumble under its own weight. Perhaps I could also be put on some sort of list for writing this blatantly un-American poppycock because everyone knows that all we need to do is take our Effexor, wrap up in our Snuggies and sit in front of the television watching the QVC network and everything will be all right.

I feel that the human condition impels us to lay blame in a rather hastily reactive manner, demanding immediate results that are wholly unrealistic, resulting in a raggedly sewn crazy-quilt tapestry of political and social decisions, many of which are never allowed to fully mature into their intended form. Many blame Strickland for the current economic slump and subsequent loss of jobs in Ohio and howl for his ouster, but that is akin to blaming the butterfly for Hurricane Katrina and the populace arming themselves with Raid to eradicate this gossamer-winged rogue. Blame is usually spawned out of fear and is utilized as an engaging parlor game, keeping the masses from really taking a long view of the real issues and their long-term effects.

John Adams once said, “Liberty cannot be preserved without general knowledge among the people.” We are inundated and indoctrinated into beliefs created for the sole purpose of obfuscating the speaker’s true intentions. Do not allow this article or the one next to this to make your decisions for you. Turn down the blathering, blustering bobble heads on the talk radio stations. Turn off the hatefully entertaining politicos on FOX News and CNN. Figure out what is actually important to you and what is the right thing to do for your families and your neighbors. Take a moment to consider enduring consequences that your decisions will make. Take less time in regurgitating other people’s volatile rhetoric and own your own judgment. In turn, when the time comes for blame to be assessed, you will be slightly more reluctant to point a finger as your own hand was, for once, truly in the decision making process.

DCP freelance writer J.T. Ryder covers a wide range of topics including local news, music and comedy. He can be reached at

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