The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Thursday, November 04, 2004  

Please Explain

Sorry about not posting yesterday. Blogger's servers apparently were totally overwhelmed.

Yesterday I sent an e-mail to three relatives from Ohio asking, simply, "Ohio. Please explain."

L.M. responds:

You have to replace Maine with Ohio in the old adage, "As Maine Goes, So Goes the Nation."

I believe it is because Ohio has become a microcosm of America.

It has major industry, agriculture, and retail. It has a bit of high-tech and a lot of education. It has urban blacks in Cleveland and white transplants in Columbus. Cincinnati believes it is part of the south, while Toledo and Akron have had to change as part of the old auto industry and reflect the hard times that fall on cities where the average paycheck has gone from union scale to minimum wage. It has extreme wealth and extreme poverty, but unlike NYC the two don't run into each other on a daily basis. It has small towns that are actually small towns and not exurbs, where people can live comfortably without worrying about urban problems and expenses.

It has become less Catholic and more Christian, listens to more country music than rock, and suburban white men dress like they're gangstas. They may not own a gun but they want to know they CAN. They want the right to an abortion, but expect to go to church and repent about it afterwards.

Ohio invented the ATM and now makes the paper-less electronic voting machines. It is full of smart, optimistic people who can exist without ever having to deal with those on the downward spiral.

Ohio still believes that there is pride in serving your country, and when the draft is reinstated it is Ohio that will provide a lot of idealistic young men for Iraq, just as they did for Vietnamn. And for the few who actually come home safely, they will not harbor any protest.

Ohio wanted leadership after Sept 11th, they wanted action. They care as much as any person can care who knows that they won't actually BE a victim of the next terrorist attack. They are safe in Ohio, and don't have to be pragmatic as a result. They are comforted by a president who says that he prays for guidance, because that is what they would do.

Every major post-war movement in this country can be distilled by looking at the Ohio of 1950, 1960, 1970, etc. through today.


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