The political landscape has shifted and it is time for Americans to step back and re-evaluate their political affiliation. I will readily admit that this is a purely partisan act that is in direct response to the partisan acts of Ohio’s 129th General Assembly and Governor John Kasich, since the very word partisan means beings partial to a party.  The two dominant pieces of legislation to be passed by Republicans and signed by the Republican Governor were Senate Bill 5, the union killer, and House Bill 153, the state’s “budget bill.”  Both bills were prime examples of partisan politics at its best as evidenced by the debates and voting results.

Throughout the process, I’ve heard many teachers begin public statements by stating “I’m a Republican educator and I’m speaking against Senate Bill 5 (or other related topic).” Today I hope I heard it for the last time.

I don’t care what it is that you learned growing up that has convinced you that you must retain that party label, because it no longer applies.  If you believe in public education, the greatest social program in the world, then you can no longer call yourself a Republican.

You are now a Democrat. And it’s okay.  

What major hot-button issue has kept you from redefining?

If you have called yourself a Republican because of strong moral beliefs about abortion and have crossed party lines to support public education and associated social programs, the Republican Party has left you.  You need to change your affiliation for voting to the Democratic Party.  The Republican Party, not just in Ohio but nationally, has abandoned the public education system and you in favor of privatization.

Instead of being a Republican that leans left, you are now a  Democrat that leans right. And it’s okay.  The Democratic Party welcomes your participation.

As a supporter of public education and public sector employees in general, the Republican Party unambiguously severed ties with you this year.

No issue this year has more clearly demonstrated the division among party lines as has public sector employment, including education.   Legislators have introduced bills about abortion, voting rights, oil drilling in parks, and guns in bars.  And yet, none of that legislation has resulted in the extreme partisan debate and voting results that Senate Bill 5 and the State Budget bill produced.  Watch the Senate debate about SB5 and you’ll find that those Republicans that did oppose the bill weren’t doing so in an act of support for public workers, but instead for procedural or legal concerns.

So take down your “Republican Educator Against SB5” sign, throw away your button, and don’t continue to hold it up as a badge of honor that you are somehow going against your party to support public employees – you’re not.  The Republican Party left no doubt this year that public employees, and therefore you, teacher, are not one of their constituents as they heard you speak, read your letters and emails, and promptly ignored all of it.

Sadly, this scenario is not limited to educators.  “Republican” firefighters and “Republican” police officers have also been abandoned and must begin to identify with their new political party.  Like educators, these respected public employees did not choose to be thrown under the bus, but are instead victims of wealthy campaign donors that are now directing the Republican party.

It’s time to let go.  They’ve broken up with you. Cut the cord. Ended the relationship. And lest you think there’s hope of reconciliation, the divorce papers are posted online as evidence of this very messy public breakup (Search SB 5).

So quit using the oxymoronic titles of “Republican” anything.

Today, begin to call yourself by your proper title.

Say:
I am proud to be a teacher.
I am proud to be a firefighter.
I am proud to be a police officer.
I am proud to be a public employee.

I am proud to be a member of the Democratic Party.

 
  • At the very least, we can hope public employees who do consider themselves Republicans will at least look at both candidates a little closer next time.

    I think one of the biggest problems up until recently was that everyone just lied.  They said they supported collective bargaining rights for teachers and fire fighters and police officers.  They said it right to their faces.

    And since no change to came along to vote against those rights came along, everyone just assumed they were telling the truth.

    But when SB5 came along, the majority of Ohio’s republican legislators showed their true colors.

    Hopefully people remember this going forward.

  • Anonymous

    Keep pretending its all about financial issues RGTMWILLY, even though police, teachers, fire fighters all over the state have given up raises and “bonuses” for years now. They’ve given  up  perks and started paying more for their own health care…don’t let those facts bother you. 

  • Anonymous

    Sorry but as long as certain Democrats make it a point to disparage police officers every chance they get, even on here sometimes, I’ll never call myself a full fledged Democrat. 

    I will certainly be voting for most if not every one of them from now on, I guess that’s the part that counts.

    I have to say it makes me feel good to be aligned with teachers who I’ve always felt are truly dedicated to the betterment of their communities. In the rough times it always seems like the main supporters of law enforcement end up being regular working class people, I love them for that. People like kasich feel  no shame in publicly calling cops idiots etc. Phony patriots and phony supporters of law enforcement.

  • Anonymous

    More class warfare rhetoric from the GOP liars and minions who brought about the financial crisis. Screw the working class and public employees – is their battle cry. It’s been Columbus Dispatch dogma for decades, but the GOP never had the guts to run on it, but enacted it with haste once they won the 2010 election.
    Paybacks are hell and your GOP is priming for several of them in due time.

  • Beca117

    A friend of mine has always said that it was during a Democrat’s reign that supported more education friendly legislature.  Her statement never made much sense – It does now.  In fact, it screams loudly why one shouldn’t vote against their best interest.

  • Xx

    Dump the mother fucking republican party already – with a tip of the hat to Dan Savage.

  • Xx

    Huh? 

  • Anonymous

    Excuse me?  John Kasich said, “I will break the backs of the teachers’ unions”.  How much clearer could he have been?

  • Anonymous

    Yes, those wonderful banks didn’t do a THING to bankrupt this economy, nor did George Bush’s tax cuts in 2003 or his giveaway to pharmecutical companies or 2 unfunded wars!  What were we thinking?  All this time we should have been pointing out it’s all the fault of these GREEDY public employees!!!!

  • Anonymous

    Yes, those wonderful banks didn’t do a THING to bankrupt this economy, nor did George Bush’s tax cuts in 2003 or his giveaway to pharmecutical companies or 2 unfunded wars!  What were we thinking?  All this time we should have been pointing out it’s all the fault of these GREEDY public employees!!!!

  • Real Get Real

    Maybe OEA has something there.  But to speak the obvious…

    In the past, the FOP felt it had a special relationship with the Republican party because, frankly, the police protected the assets of the wealthy and maintained the social order.  The IAFF rode the coat tails of the FOP.  The OEA was left to fend for themselves most of the time and considered less important.  After all, the immediate fear of harm is a stronger motivator for elderly voters and those living in stable communities in contrast to the more nebulous benefits of a good education which many voters without kids no longer feel the need to support (and some with kids).   Frankly, sexism plays a role as teaching is still seen as “woman’s work” by many conservatives and most teachers are women – a demeaning attitude of the past.   Many still hold this sentiment towards educators and feel that if SB5 excluded public safety forces as in other states and only affected teachers, it would pass.   Sadly, maybe so.    

    I’d look for the GOP to come back in December with a bill that does exactly that and look more like Wisconsin or New Jersey and only target teachers.  Divide and conquer coupled with “I’ll get mine”.    After all, with one party rule, there are no checks and balances anymore.

    Hopefully, the FOP and IAFF have realized that Franklin said it best:

    “We must, indeed, all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately.”

    (I’ll bet ole Ben would think Kasich is an idiot)

  • Anonymous

    Someone told me that their neighbor, a former Republican who just happened to be a teacher, was in tears over what the Kasich administration rolled out in SB 5.  Kasich & Co. might not realize the power of teachers, firefighters, police officers, and public employees.  They are out there meeting citizens everyday.  When these public employees lose pay raises and the right to bargain for safety issues, the community will lose.  How will a city councils across the state tell police officers that they don’t see the necessity to fund better bulletproof vests, protective fire gear, better health care for teachers who are exposed to every known cold and disease?  Kasich has demonstrated his disrespect for the people who have worked and built their communities.  We’re mad as hell……

  • Anonymous

    Someone told me that their neighbor, a former Republican who just happened to be a teacher, was in tears over what the Kasich administration rolled out in SB 5.  Kasich & Co. might not realize the power of teachers, firefighters, police officers, and public employees.  They are out there meeting citizens everyday.  When these public employees lose pay raises and the right to bargain for safety issues, the community will lose.  How will a city councils across the state tell police officers that they don’t see the necessity to fund better bulletproof vests, protective fire gear, better health care for teachers who are exposed to every known cold and disease?  Kasich has demonstrated his disrespect for the people who have worked and built their communities.  We’re mad as hell……

  • It’s about time.

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