Yesterday the Cave Dweller and I went to lunch at a nearby sandwich shop. As we were eating we noticing people with union t-shirts and signs heading toward the Ohio Statehouse. After we finished our lunch we decided to take a lap around the Statehouse to see what was going on. It was a journey well worth taking.
In Ohio, as in Wisconsin and other states, the ability of public employees to engage in collective bargaining is being revisited by the legislature, and the pro-union forces were having a big rally. As we approached the Statehouse along Third Street, buses were rolling up and discharging union members who were joining the rally. The crowd, probably numbered in the hundreds by that point, began a spirited “Kill the bill!” chant. Union members were handing out fliers with the schedule for the day. The TV trucks were there, with their satellite dishes extended, and we ran into an NPS radio reporter who was happy to have some good audio to use in her report. As we turned the corner of the Statehouse, we saw more union members heading toward the rally. At the corner of Broad and High we watched as a firefighters bagpipe and drum corps marched by playing some unknown tune, their kilts flapping in the cold winter wind. A policeman who was holding back traffic gave a high five to one of the marchers. By the time we got back to the firm, a helicopter — probably from one of the local stations — was hovering overhead to get some crowd shots. And when I drove home that night I heard that the rally would be capped by a lawsuit contesting the decisions on how many of the rally attendees were permitted to enter the Statehouse.
Regardless of your position on the issue at hand, you had to be proud. What could be more American that concerned citizens petitioning their government and making their views known to their elected representatives? Our country would be a better place if more of our fellow citizens took a direct interest in what their governments are doing — and perhaps marched down to the Statehouse, kilted or not, to let their representatives know that they are paying attention.