THE BLOG
09/07/2011 11:11 am ET Updated Nov 07, 2011

Politicians Should Consider the Poor

I love how Psalm 41 begins: "Happy are those who consider the poor; the Lord delivers them in the day of trouble."

Unfortunately, here in Ohio and around the nation, our politicians seem to be employing the exact opposite strategy: "Blessed are the politicians who consider the rich; for their coffers will be full in the next election cycle."

In today's Ohio, the fruit of a strategy of governance dictated by consideration of the rich includes House Bill 194 and Senate Bill 5. HB 194 and limits voting opportunities and safeties in a fashion that will disproportionally affect working people, the poor and people of color.

HB 194 slashes early voting opportunities and, perhaps most alarming, eliminates the expectation that poll workers actually assist voters as they seek the right precinct on Election Day.

Somewhere I hear the Psalmist saying, "Happy are those who consider the poor..."

SB 5, meanwhile, severely limits collective bargaining rights for public sector employees like firefighters, police officers, teachers, school bus drivers, and workers at state colleges and universities. Despite the protests of tens of thousands of Ohioans, the House and Senate passed this law in the spring, and the Governor signed it into law soon after.

Citing a fiscal crisis, politicians chose to go after working people, "considering the rich," and corporations who disdain unions, while disregarding the voices of hundreds of thousands of Ohio citizens.

Somewhere I hear the Psalmist saying, "Happy are those who consider the poor..."

Thankfully, the voices of the working people of Ohio have not been silenced. This fall, we will have the chance to vote No on Issue 2, which will repeal Senate Bill 5, protecting the bargaining rights for Ohio's public sector workers. We are also collecting petitions to try to get a repeal of HB 194 on the ballot next year, so this attempt to limit the voting opportunities and safeguards of many in our state will be set aside.

In Ohio and around this nation, it is time we voted "No" to the politics of "considering the rich." I pray that we commit ourselves to the ancient wisdom: "Happy are those who consider the poor; the Lord delivers them in the day of trouble."