In 2011, in the heart of the Governor Kasich’s first tumultuous year in office, I wrote an article titled “Republican teachers are now extinct“.  I took a look back at that article in this past week as we are leading up to the election that we’ve been looking forward to remembering since that time and found that my words ring true even more today than they did back then.  As we enter the final days of the Kasich Administration’s ominous reign over Ohio, I want to once again urge my “Republican” family and friends (yes, I’m talking to you, P) to step back from who they think they are and take an honest look at their political belief structure to discover who they really are in today’s political landscape.  PB readers, please challenge your family and friends to do the same before they cast their votes on Tuesday.

Here is that article that I composed while on the floor of the National Education Association’s Annual Meeting on July 3, 2011:

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.

Speaking as a supporter of public education and public sector employees in general, you need to accept that the Republican Party unambiguously severed ties with you this year.

No issue this year [2011] 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.

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.



  • NY Teacher

    To start the discussion, I am, and have been for all of my adult life, a Republican. I am also a NYC public teacher. I do not approve of what presently is going on in our educational field but also vehemently disagree with the ideal of large government intervention in our personal lives, any actions taken to curtail the 2nd Amendment, I do believe that our government should be smaller, with much more State controls in place as well. These, among other things, are what make up my belief systems politically and, while again I do not agree with the things occurring in education today, there are as many democrats creating the problems in education as there are republicans – Andrew Cuomo in NY for example!

  • irish_monk

    There is still enough of a difference in platforms at the state level that we can discuss Republican and Democrat divides. Any teacher or cop or firefighter that votes Republican in the wake of the last four years must be too misinformed, willfully ignorant, or downright stupid to be voting anyway. These professions will cease to exist in the form we know it under another 4 years of Republican governance. At the national level there is no significant difference between the two parties. The hope generated by the Obama election and re-election were dashed when he appointed the same guys that the Republicans did in the financial crisis, took the same stance on education (thanks Arne Duncan, you’re not a real teacher anyway), etc. Note to Democrats: If you run Hillary and her ilk progressive voters like me will not vote for her. We won’t vote Republican but losing our votes will cost the Democrats offices because we will look to third party candidates. I for one wouldn’t mind a Labor Party since both big parties have taken a walk away from my values. Maybe living under the Theocratic/Plutocratic jackboot rife with anti women and “non-white people” laws will get people angry enough to do something about it. Unless they are not allowed to vote (and there are plenty of folks out there like Husted that would love to make that happen).

  • Jessica Corkie Billard

    There are two major parties these days. But there is no left party any more. One is right, and the other is far right. Too many establishment Democrats like Cuomo care more about power and enriching themselves than they do about public service, and that is a shame. But I do think that the Democratic Party is the only “big tent” party any more–kind of the “Whig” party of days gone by. The Democratic Party will allow you to lean right on just about any issue, whether it is abortion, gun control, and small government. The fact is, on any issue, the Democrats are all over the map. In some cases, they simply need to be talked some sense into. Republicans, on the other hand, simply have to fall in line. Otherwise, they are pressured out of the party like they’re “anti-American”. While Republicans like to call Democrats, politically-correct, this is so much more intense on the Republican side. The problem with the Democrats is that there are too many people who have become conditioned to sell out to Wall Street. They talk a good talk when they are on the campaign trail, but become Republicans on economic issues as soon as they are sworn in. These tend to be your bigger-name Democrats like Rahm Emmanuel, Cuomo, the Clintons, and Obama–basically con artists without souls. But we don’t have to accept this. As a Democrat, I am fighting for my party to get its soul back.

  • john curry

    The sad fact is that I (as a retired public school educator) still know dozens of teachers like this which just goes to prove that a college degree is not necessarily a guarantee of common sense, is it? Even when SB 5 (written and supported by Ohio Republican legislators) clearly involved a DECREASE in the number of accumulated annual public servant sick days many teachers (as well as a few firemen and policemen….BUT MOSTLY TEACHERS) went right out and supported it. Nothing like kicking one in one’s teeth, is there? What REALLY caused the downfall of SB 5 was the tremendous pressure exerted against it by Ohio’s firefighters! They are to be praised for protecting working conditions for ALL Ohio public servants.

  • Spitfiremk1

    Be that as it may, you all (as educators) do understand that on election day there will be only TWO choices. One party will win and one will not. I doubt if there is one person in this country’s history who ever agreed with all (or even most) of any one parties “positions”. The fact is, neither party totally represents us best at any one time. I (and if you are truthful, you as well) have seen friends and family members do things that we knew in our hearts would bring unpleasant results but at the time I (we) felt helpless to prevent. It’s that creepy feeling that “I should have done something to prevent this but didn’t want to offend.”

    In a few days we have the opportunity to do just that – we can vote. We have to do this for our own self interest, since we know that no one else is looking out for us, and we know that Kasich and his party (yes, in Ohio the Republican party draws ALL of its strength and directions from Kasich) will do NOTHING in our interest unless it puts money in
    his pocket. Kasich doesn’t get it, and if re-elected SB 5 will return in a new, more powerful form that will be even harder to overturn.

    Call yourself whatever you wish: Democrat, Republican, Libertarian or Tea Bagger, but please remember that Kasich and the gang are on the side of their own best interest, not yours. If his regime wins, none of us goes to a happy place.

  • Red Rover

    The “big tent” covers a graveyard.

    “The Democratic Party is where progressive movements go to die.”

    Even when they do seem to have the right ideals, they’re too wishy-washy about them to do anything important. How about standing up to the Republican Party and stop making it so easy for them to dominate the agenda. Stop waiting for “filibuster-proof” majorities to vote on anything. If a Republican wants to take a principled stand against equal pay for women, renewable energy, holding Wall Street accountable, a better health care system, etc., then force them to take that stand and put their political reputation on the line. Don’t make it easy for them by giving up the field before the first shot is fired.

  • Clark

    I am a reformed Republican! Why? John Kasich and his henchmen are the reason why!

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