By Nathaniel Buckeye & Connor Pattinson
As I arrived back in my hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio this fall break I was greeted by the wonderful sight of “VOTE NO ON ISSUE 1” yard signs lining up and down every street. “Issue 1?” I thought to myself. We already have so many issues here in Ohio. Is a failing public school system, the worst infrastructure known to man and an, admittedly not great, opiate epidemic not enough for you people?! Of course I’m going to vote “No”. Why would I vote for more issues? That’s when I turned to Google and found out that not only do we have Issue 1, but we also have Issue 2?! And apparently we’re going to do something about them? To recognize Ohio has issues was one thing but to actually do something about it was something I never expected to happen in the state that has more Grandpa’s Cheesebarns than football teams with a Super Bowl win.
It turns out that on Nov. 7 the great(ish) state of Ohio will be voting on the legalization of two equally complex and important issues: abortion and weed. Issue 1 is an amendment to enshrine abortion rights into the Ohio Constitution and Issue 2 is a law for the legalization of recreational marijuana.
This just made me more confused. Every time I have ever seen two things on a ballot, I have had to choose one to vote for, like presidents or prom queens. Did I really have to pick just one of these two issues to vote for? While on the one hand, I love women — and their reproductive rights — I also really love weed. I don’t know how Ohio could make simple-minded men such as myself choose between two things, let alone these two things! Don’t they know what they’re asking? I just didn’t get it. All of this was too much for me to handle. After months away from home I had felt my Ohioness diminish, I needed to consult some real God-fearing Ohioans before I could make this extremely difficult decision.
It wasn’t until I spoke with local smart man Connor Pattinson that things began to make a bit more sense. “What do weed and abortion have to do with each other?” I asked. I knew both made me a bad dad but that didn’t seem like a good enough reason for them to be on the ballot together. He explained that weed being on the ballot was just a way of getting people to show up to the polls and that Ohioans will actually be voting separately on both issues.
He also let me in on some important context I had missed out on. Back in August, Ohio Republicans held a special election where they called to change the votes required to make an amendment to the state constitution from a simple majority to 60 whole percent! That’s like 30 milks! This was framed as a procedure for amending the constitution, but it was clearly focused on preventing reproductive rights from being added to the constitution. Then, after all that, Republicans lost the vote.
Seeking more information on the topic, I met up with my politically-inclined friend, May Kamerica Gray-Teagan, who, commenting on these past political events, told me, “Well, last August our valiant knights in shining MAGA hats fought to keep abortion rights out of our home, but some liberal hippie fascists groomed the youth of today into being civically minded and engaged! And wouldn’t you know it, we lost the vote!”
Now, I was starting to piece the puzzle together but I had more work to do. I stumbled across a local fiend named Indi Ca who was sitting on a park bench counting his own teeth. When I spoke with him he said, “I’m not one that’s ever really bought into this whole ‘voting’ thing in the first place but I guess I can show up just this once if weed is on the ballot.”
I still felt like I had to gather a few more opinions before I could make up my mind. I looked for an old flame, Annie Position, as she was always so wise with her words. She told me, “Yeah. I fuck. I don’t really vote though but like for my own sake I’d just rather abortion be legal. Y’know? Because I fuck. Like, I like weed, but I fucking love getting creampied. Y’know, when I fuck. Like that’s what’s getting me out to the polls. Because I fuck so much. And I like sex. Y’know, sex? Like fucking, and getting fucked in return. Yeah, that. Sex. It’s gonna be the next big thing.”
Hearing from some of my fellow Ohioans really made me think. This vote will be historic for Ohio, changing the reality for many who live in the state. It really is amazing to see how people of all kinds are coming out to vote this year for the issues they really care about. But as for me, I knew I had to vote, and now, I knew what for. Everything I had come to know up until this point told me I had to vote “yes” on both issues out of my own moral obligation. But when the time came to fill in my mail-in ballot I realized something… I’m actually really scared of change, like, as a concept. Even good changes like legalizing getting absolutely zooted off that huff and puff and also abortion too, I guess. So I voted “no” on both issues just to keep things the way they are.