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Opinion: DeWine Has Always Been a “Problematic Fave”

Walker Evans Walker Evans Opinion: DeWine Has Always Been a “Problematic Fave”
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Over the past decade, society has learned more and more frequently that all humans are flawed (sometimes very deeply) and with the deluge of documented information and trackable online conversations, we’ve quickly learned that every celebrity, politician and average Joe has said or done something wrong. The reaction to these discoveries can produce a wide variety of responses… from total cancellation to a temporary public shaming.

Regardless, the act of holding anyone in high esteem that has committed any level of societal (or criminal) offense has rightfully acquired an aptly descriptive term: Problematic Fave.

Urban Dictionary defines a Problematic Fave as “a favorite person (usually a character) who has problematic views and opinions.”

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine is someone who many of us are holding in high esteem as one of the top politicians in America right now. His administration’s handling of the Coronavirus pandemic has been not only highly praised by Ohioans, but also nationally by The Washington Post, CNN, TIME, The Associated Press, NPR, The BBC and many others. If not for DeWine and his team’s swift, strategic and comprehensive response, thousands of additional lives would have been lost to Coronavirus and Ohio would be in a much worse situation than we are.

DeWine’s management of the pandemic response has received mostly bipartisan praise from Republican and Democratic politicians at the city, county and state level (with a few exceptions). It’s both heartwarming and patriotic that despite years of rough political division, we’re still able to come together as human beings and set aside differences so that we can collectively tackle a challenge like this one. When DeWine states the popular phrase of “we’re all in this together,” you know that he means it. 

So again, kudos where kudos are due. But keep in mind that we are talking about two months worth of actions from a career politician that has spent nearly five decades in office.

DeWine’s longer-term political track record has been spotty when it comes to being empathetic or forward-thinking on a larger variety of issues. He’s long been an opponent of same sex marriage, sponsoring the problematic Federal Marriage Amendment in 2006 that would have amended the U.S. Constitution to nationally define marriage as only being allowed between a man and a woman. As recently as 2019, DeWine has problematically gone against the grain on marijuana legalization, pushing back on legislation that would ease restrictions in Ohio. And perhaps most importantly, DeWine has been pushing the problematic “Heartbeat Bill” here in Ohio that would ban all forms of abortion — including cases of rape and incest — while limiting women’s healthcare options in places where it is needed most.

Which begs a very timely and topical question: If you believe that the government should not be able to mandate by law that you wear a mask inside a Walmart because it infringes upon your rights and freedoms as an American, then shouldn’t you also believe that the government should not be able to mandate that a woman is required by law to birth a baby produced as a result of rape?

While it’s been great to feel very united in this time of need, and it pains most people to think about anything politically divisive right now, these types of questions should be on the forefront of Ohioans’ minds moving forward.

As Ohio begins the “re-opening” process this month, it’s bound to be a bumpy road for many people. Over a million Ohioans have filed for unemployment, many businesses have been shuttered, schools have been closed and the recovery is likely to take longer than anyone wants it to. Yesterday, Governor DeWine announced that the state of Ohio has a budget shortfall of nearly $777 million and he will be cutting $775 million from the state’s budget instead of tapping into Ohio’s $2.7 billion rainy day fund. That means reduced funding to all types of state, county and city programs — many of which are exactly what Ohioans need during a period of recovery.

As Ohio starts to get back to “normal” in the coming months, you can expect that the administration’s usage of the phrase “We’re All in This Together” will be replaced by the more problematic statement of “Pull Yourself Up by Your Bootstraps.”

Are we ready to go back to normal?

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