People rallying at Ohio Statehouse

As our nation’s birthday rolls around again, there is a strange and eerie feeling about the country we’re living in these days. The U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade –– thus removing federal protections for abortion rights –– has sent shock waves across the country and unleashed a firestorm upon our political system. While abortion is often painted in the light of “left versus right” –– and Lord knows each side could not be more different on this complicated issue –– our binary way of political thinking obviously doesn’t always apply to everyone. But in light of other recent events –– insurrections, false claims of stolen elections, the erosion of our democratic processes and systemic erasure of constitutional rights –– it might be time for independent voters to pick a side.

After all, the majority of voters in the United States are registered as non-partisans and not affiliated with either major political party. In Ohio alone, the Secretary of State’s records show that over 6 million out of our 7.8 million registered voters are unaffiliated, which comes to about 77 percent or 3 out of 4 voters in the state. Compare that with the amount of voters who are registered with one of the major political parties, which only adds up to around 12 percent who are registered as Democrats and a little over 10 percent who are registered as Republicans. And the GOP leaders in the Statehouse like to brag about Ohio being a red state? Please! It’s not even close. The majority of Ohioans are non-partisan, independent and unaffiliated voters by a far margin –– and now we must take our political power back.

Don’t get me wrong –– as a former failed Libertarian candidate myself, I’ve “thrown away” my vote more times than I count. Hell, I’ve probably voted for Bob Fitrakis more times than Bob Fitrakis! Yes, I’ve despised the two-party system ever since I voted for Ross Perot in my third grade class’ mock presidential election. I’m happy to vote for a third party whenever I can –– whether it’s Libertarian, Green, Independent, Reform or even Natural Law. But while I don’t care for our country’s backwards, binary political system –– and certainly dream of a day where we have several major political parties to choose from, like most civilized nations –– I care about our representative democratic republic form of government even more. And right now, one political party is trying to destroy it.

Perhaps I should’ve taken a hint in the year 2000 when I watched a presidential election get hijacked in the wee hours of the morning because the Republican candidate’s brother was governor of a state that was still “too close to call.” Later this illegitimately “elected” president and his Republican cronies would launch an illegal war that destabilized an entire region of the world, just so they could make a buck. Meanwhile, they systematically eroded our civil liberties –– from our airports to our emails –– all in the name of “national security.” They also made it illegal for gay people to get married in multiple states, but that was only put forth as a “wedge issue” to get evangelicals to vote, so Republicans could keep their power for another four years. Pretty classy stuff from a political party dominated by hypocrites.

From there, Republicans chose to follow up our nation’s first elected black president by electing a man who said that that black president was illegitimate and not even from this country. This Republican also barely won the Electoral College vote –– in fact, the GOP has only won the popular vote once in the last 20 years –– and proceeded to torch the Constitution, the rule of law and all basic forms of decency that preceded him before he took the Presidency. He ended his time in office by claiming the very election that unseated him was also illegitimate –– pretty wild claims considering Republicans’ presidential “victories” in 2000, 2004 and 2016. Then he inspired, initiated and incited an insurrection via a vicious attack on our nation’s Capitol building, all to try and stop the peaceful transfer of power.

And what have the majority of his fellow Republicans done since? They’ve rolled over and concurred, saying that America must “restore election integrity,” despite there being virtually no cases of voter fraud in the 2020 election. They’ve used their powerful and vocal electoral minorities from our country’s rural areas to lock up powerful statehouse majorities through gerrymandering, as well as seats on our highest courts by shrewd ideological maneuvering. It’s because of this blatant contempt for the rule of law –– as well as our democratic republic’s very institutions –– that political independents must pick a side in 2022. Because there are a helluva lot more of us than there are of them –– and this is our Independence Day.