COLUMN: Save yourself, leave Ohio

Erin Roof


Snow, the economic wasteland, Governor Taft, pro-life license plates, Bob Ney, homophobic amendments, the rust belt, Ken Blackwell, sky-rocketing college tuition, the Youngstown mob, scandalous Scottish golf outings, corporate Carol Cartwright, being a “fly-over” state, Ernest Angley, the rabid KKK, corn-fed white boys, illegally and underfunded schools, the smell of manure, being a “red” state, Cleveland, rare coin investments, Diebold, election fraud and – it’s freakin’ cold here!

This is the abridged list of reasons why I can’t wait to move out of Ohio.

In the immediate wake of Election 2004, I was studying in Geneva and doing a lot of traveling. People would commonly ask what country I am from. I would usually hesitate before blurting out “the United States.” This was, quite possibly, the worst answer to that question.

Once I passed that conversational hurdle, I always dreaded the follow-up question, “Which state?” See, there are some acceptable answers. It would be OK to say I am from California, New York, Vermont or even North Dakota. Hell, what has North Dakota ever done to anybody? But Ohio-?

“It is not my fault I was born in Ohio!” I wanted to scream as I would run into the middle of the street and shake my fists at the sky. As always, but especially in late November 2004, Ohio is the most embarrassing state to come from.

Since that bleak month, Ohio has been the bane of the entire world’s existence. We are the dimwits who re-elected one of the most dangerous men in history to a second presidential term. This is just socially unacceptable.

That is not to say we didn’t have a lot of devious help. Ohio also happens to be the most politically corrupt state in the union. Secretary of State Ken Blackwell ran the election-fraud scheme that included locking poor black Democrats out of their polling places and then supplying other Democratic locations with too few machines so people would get tired of waiting in the lines and just leave. He even tried to reject absentee ballots because the paper wasn’t the proper weight. He must have figured anyone smart enough to leave Ohio, even temporarily, must be a Democrat.

Oh, but it is not just the political scandals that make me want to leave. Ohio is hopeless in many different categories. For example, it is nearly impossible to get ahead in this economic dead zone. It is becoming clear that poor kids, like me, will soon not be able to afford to attend college in Ohio. For students who can go, there are no jobs available when they graduate. This is why Ohio ranks 35th in the nation in retaining students from their universities, according to a Baccalaureate and Beyond survey.

It is not the polluted air, the lack of entertainment options, the poor location, the horrible weather or the humble-looking people who entice residents to stay. So why are we still here?

Once I receive that meaningless piece of fancy paper next year, I am actually thinking about leaving the states altogether. Hmm-Hello, Ibiza! Wait for me!

Erin Roof is a senior magazine journalism major. This is her last point/counterpoint column for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].