It is our right to protest


I don’t often agree with “Joe Average,” usually I let his opinions slide. But, he went too far.

April 3, he called for an end to protests, all protests, the most un-American opinion I’ve ever seen. Our country was founded on protest. The Boston Tea Party was an expression of Freedom from tyranny. You live under tyranny when is there are no protests. People know they will be killed or imprisoned. That’s why our Founders enshrined the Rights to Assembly and Speech in the Constitution, which Herb swore an oath to protect.

In 2019, Ohio passed HB6. This law added charges to every Ohioan’s electric bill to give to First Energy, supposedly to keep nuclear plants running. It also forced ratepayers to subsidize two coal plants, one in Indiana. The opposition followed the rules. We spoke at public hearings. Citizens from all over Ohio; businessmen, environmentalists, experts in utilities, tore HB6 apart. There was no valid reason for the law. That been proven over the past 5 years as both Ohio’s nukes continue to operate, despite First Energy’s threats.

So, Ohio Citizens Action and I organized protests all over Ohio. Thousands participated, including Mayor Edwards. Those protests let Ohioans know about the fraud. We passed out flyers, chanted, shouted on bullhorns, even had a giant inflatable pig showing this was pure pork.

The protests brought media attention.

The law passed anyway, BUT because of the protests, it caught the attention of law enforcement who discovered First Energy had paid $65 million in bribes to House Chair Larry Householder. He is serving a 20 year federal sentence. The worst parts of HB6, nuclear subsidies and decoupling were repealed. The coal subsidies have cost Ohioans hundreds of millions of dollars.

Had we not protested, Householder and his corrupt cronies would have gotten away with it. Householder’s defense was this was simply “business as usual.” Because we made it unusual, he was caught and justice served.

We need divisions. Crooks must be divided from honest Ohioans. Corruption must be divided from politicians, and those who cherish and use freedoms must be divided from those who would erase them.

I protest every Sunday from 2 to 4 at Main and Wooster. We protest Palestinean genocide. I’m proud to be an American where at least I know I’m free to speak truth, and to protest injustice and corruption. It’s sad Herb Dettmer isn’t.

Joseph R. DeMare

Co-Chair Wood County Green Party

Bowling Green,

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