Dear Ohio: A “Dear John” Letter

Dear Ohio,

In light of your humiliating performance during last week’s Super Tuesday primary, I worked up the courage to do something I’ve only dreamt about:

I am breaking up with you.

Though Tuesday was the catalyst for my decision, it was just the straw that broke the camel’s back. This has been a long time in the making; a series of small hurts and injustices that finally boiled over.  Believe me when I say:

It’s not me. It’s you.

For years, political commentators have told me I live in a swing state– the most important in the nation– and, as I am a die-hard liberal, our relationship is a volatile one. I’ve refused to see it.

As a gay male living in Ohio, one of 29 states that voted for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, I haven’t suffered an ounce of the prejudice you’d think I’d experience living in a state that codifies its discrimination. Yes, we’ve had our good times. Like when you defeated the union-busting Senate Bill 5. But those moments were few and far between. Even though you voted for Bush not once but TWICE, I thought if I worked harder, I could be the person who changed you.

However, when Rick Santorum came within 11,000 votes of winning the Ohio delegates, I realized I was wrong. You almost nominated a man who once compared gay relationships to man-on-dog sex. For a bellwether state that successfully picked the incoming president 25 out of the last 27 times, it was a little too close for comfort.

You used to be so sensible.

Like when you fought for the Union during the Civil War or were a major stop on the Underground Railroad. Maybe it’s because, as part of the Northwest Territory, you were used to being the nation’s western-most point, a focal point for adventurous and freethinking Americans.

What happened?

Maybe when you became the 17th state in 1803, you started to grow up. Maybe you became jaded as you watched newer states get all the attention. Maybe the loss of your manufacturing jobs caused some deep-seated emotional trauma that goes beyond the physical scars of abandoned factories. Maybe it’s because your only national park (with its paved trails and railroad and turnpike) shouldn’t even be considered a national park.

Whatever the case, it’s too late for us. I don’t say this to hurt you. Instead, I hope you can find it within yourself to change your ways. Otherwise people will continue to leave you at the estimated rate of 33% of all your college graduates.


Benjamin Rexroad
Managing Artistic Director


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