Older white man

Salmon P. Chase

ONE. The Ohio State legislature approved $24 million to establish “intellectual diversity” centers at five Ohio public universities. English translation from Right-Wing English: “radical right-wing indoctrination” centers with no actual “diversity” permitted.

Ohio State’s fountain of right-wing ideology is named for Salmon P. Chase (1808-1873). Have any readers heard that name? Not likely in your high school or college U.S. history courses. Not even on AP History exams.

Chase was born in born in New Hampshire, not Ohio. He grew up moving between NH and western Ohio. Exceptionally rare for his time and for both lawyers and politicians, he graduated from Dartmouth College as a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

With a law practice in early Cincinnati, Chase became an anti-slavery advocate and defended fugitive slaves in court. He left the Whig Pary to be leader of Ohio’s Liberty Party in 1848 and helped to establish the national Free Soil, anti-slavery party. He served in the US Senate, where he opposed the Compromise of 1850 and the Kansas-Nebraska Act, both of which paved the way to the Civil War. Chase helped to found the antebellum Republican Party, then the champions of democracy, constitutionalism, and human rights as recognized at the time.

Chase next served as Governor of Ohio, 1856-60. Abraham Lincoln invited him to serve as his Secretary of the Treasury where he worked to maintain the finances of the Union. In part to satisfy the Radical Republicans, Lincoln nominated him to fill the Supreme Court vacancy that followed the death of slavery defending Chief Justice Roger Taney. Chase served as Chief Justice from 1864 until his death in 1873.

Salmon P. Chase is the antithesis of everything today’s reactionary Ohio Republicans stand for. Everything. They abuse his legacy. They take his name in vain. As metaphysics have any meaning, he is turning in his grave. The Salmon P. Chase Birthplace and childhood home stand in Cornish, New Hampshire, not in Ohio

In keeping with the contemporary spirit of Ohio, not Chase’s legacy, I formally propose that the Board of Trustees substitute Brutus Buckeye for Chase. Go Bucks!

TWO. The City of Columbus and Franklin County join is advancing welfare capitalism, or is it socialism for private interests in further subsidizing the grossly inappropriate and failing to progress “Market” Building and North Mark-eting expansion. No city with a qualified urban planner would approve the Edwards Company’s (in collusion with Rockbridge) 32-story towering continuing destruction of aesthetics and design throughout the city. With significant financial underpinning from OSU’s Campus Partner, they have erased N. High St. near campus. The aspirational Market-ing Building structure, if actually built, will tower not only over the 2-story North Market but also Hilton’s “largest hotel” in Ohio. Let alone the low-hanging Convention Center, home of the illegal steroid-spewing The Arnold “Classic.”

Despite common knowledge of the remains from former cemeteries buried under the construction site, excavation began. It stopped almost immediately to ponder making a plan that any responsible city and developer would have required to have in place before approval, let alone ground-breaking.

With excavation still halted, the City and County reward the private developers with a $7.1 million bail out from taxpayers’ pockets to deal with the remains. That is only one part of an unnecessary $70 million gift to the private powers that drive Columbus’ failures. The North Market itself is a peculiar Columbus version of private and public conflicts of interest. Need I state that the homeless and poor, affordable housing, public safety, and public schools, let alone street and sidewalk repairs are far more pressing needs for the publics of City and County than Edwards and Rockridge.

But that’s not the Columbus Way. There is no profit in responsibility to the residents, taxpayers, and voters.

THREE. Once again, OSU begins Fall classes before the Columbus Public Schools starts, creating problems for faculty, staff, and students with children. Is it simply too difficult for OSU to google the major area school districts?  Or does The OSU simply not care?


Harvey J. Graff is Professor Emeritus of English and History at The Ohio State University and inaugural Ohio Eminent Scholar in Literacy Studies. Author of many books, most recently he published Searching for Literacy: The Social and Intellectual Origins of Literacy Studies. My Life with Literacy: The Continuing Education of a Historian. The Intersections of the Personal, the Political, the Academic, and Place is forthcoming. “Reconstructing the new ‘uni-versity’ from the ashes of the ‘multi- and mega-versity’” is in progress.