Lakewood OH

Politics plus symbolism equals stalemate

The West Life editorial board is split on the merits of SB5, which governs collective bargaining, and therefore the desired outcome of the Nov. 8 election regarding Issue 2. Is it a useful, if imperfect, tool for cities to manage public unions, or is it an over-the-top swipe at a merely symbolic target.

Know what doesn’t help making that observation? Adding more symbolism.

It cannot be coincidence that Westshore fire chiefs recently gathered in Lakewood near a Sept. 11 memorial to speak their peace regarding SB 5. It plays because Joe Voter likes symbolism as an easy way to decide what is right. (“I like firefighters!”)

State officials have the ready-made backdrop of the state’s capitol to suit their needs, and their suits to show they are important. What is their biggest symbol? The almighty dollar. Find it, save it and damn the process.

Know what? There’s more to it than that. But talk everyone down from their towers first, because if someone says unions should give more, they’re attacking firefighters as human beings. Don’t suggest to budget hawks that the process can be more subtle and, perhaps, more inclusive and meaningful in the long run. Do that and you apparently support some increase in government spending.

What is most broken in the political system is the political system itself. A person might be thankful for the Tea Party simply because each new political fracture draws off extremists to reveal the voters in the middle, disenfranchised by their own lack of interest.

Vote for it or against it, but Issue 2 is big and deserves everyone’s rational consideration of it. Symbolism adds nothing more than emotion, and that can only serve special interests in the end.



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