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Trampling of American freedom is not okay

How do you want your kids treated if they’re a little different? If they have disabilities, an illness, or a learning delay? If they struggle with their mental health or addictions? According to Jenna Powell, Angie King and the Huffmans, Darke County’s voices at the Ohio Statehouse, if your kids are different then the State of Ohio should bully your kids into suicide or bully you as a parent into moving completely out of the State.

While I appreciate some common-sense philosophies that most Americans agree with – such as that private medical decisions should be between a person and their provider, I’m often shocked by the level hypocrisy of our elected officials. For example, during the COVID-19 Pandemic, our elected officials rightfully declared that a decision to vaccinate or not is a private matter between a person, their medical provider and/or God. Yet, when it comes to transgender children or women’s reproductive rights, those exact same philosophies are tossed out the window. Surely, the decision as to whether or not to bring a new life into this world is a private decision between a woman, her provider and her God. In fact, following the Allies win after WWII, “forced pregnancy” was and still is considered a “crime against humanity.” Similarly, a person’s transgender treatment – one that involves a person’s own chromosomes, hormones and reproductive organs – is likely one of the most private medical decisions there is. There should be no doubt that transgender treatment is between a person, their provider and/or their God.

Yet, here we are with HB68, which not only goes against the medical advice of Ohio’s nationally renowned providers, America’s religious freedom protections and parental rights when it comes to treating an important medical and mental health condition for their kids, it also opens the door for the legislature to now criminalize all treatment that parents, their children and medical professionals deem best. For example, according to the philosophy of HB68, the Ohio House and Senate can now criminalize cancer and diabetes treatment for children if our elected officials simply decide they don’t like it. If you had to choose between watching your child suffer, or getting them treatment, most good parents would get their children treatment. Do Jenna Powell, Angie King and the Huffmans hate their own kids so much as to be willing to watch them slowly die or commit suicide rather than get them care? If not, then how can they pass this law? And if they would rather watch their own children die than get them treatment, why on Earth are they being allowed to make parenting decisions for the rest of us?

Of course, the other bills are also strikingly alarming when it comes to being anti-American and anti-Freedom. HB183 which is supposedly designed to protect us from a new wave of transgender bathroom users will now require all Ohioans to carry their birth certificate with them in order to use a public restroom and allow anyone to demand to see it before you can pee or poop. How many of you want to carry your birth certificate to be able to pee and poop in a public restroom? How many of you would take kindly to a stranger demanding to see your birth certificate while using the restroom? And how exactly will Jenna Powell, Angie King and Huffmans respond when we demand to see theirs? If we call the police on them for not having it available? To be clear, transgender people have been using the public restroom with everyone else the whole time. And there are already laws in place that protect people when using the bathroom from unwanted behaviors. Just like everyone else, transgender people are no more likely to use the restroom for things other than peeing and pooping. This new law changes nothing and is an affront to all freedom-loving people, not just transgender Ohioans. And just to be clear, “papers please” to access public life is a tactic of 1930’s and 1940’s Nazis – Not America.

But perhaps most notable is HB245, the often-called “Drag-Queen” Ban. To be clear, as far as I can tell Darke County residents haven’t ever really had a problem with Drag Queens. Afterall, for more than a decade the Pink Mile Men have been raising money with the Darke County Breast Cancer Run. These men – who I presume are mostly straight and include some conservative Republicans – who have been raising money in Drag would now be felons under this new law (which also means a loss of their gun rights by the way). In fact, according to this law, anyone who engages with Drag Queens in public are now criminals, including the entire Breast Cancer Run Board of Directors and anyone else who has ever watched or participated in the parade. Considering some of the bill’s authors were purportedly spotted at the parade this past year, they themselves would be felons under this law. Most shockingly is that Angie King and Jenna Powell would be subject to arrest for wearing their pant suits during a political rally. And like all other women in Darke County, they would be subject to arrest for wearing jeans and a t-shirt. In fact, fathers who dress up for Halloween could also be subject to arrest. Perhaps most odd is that former President Donald Trump himself would be arrested upon stepping foot into the State of Ohio under this law. Afterall, he’s a man who wears make-up, and as recent reports have shown regarding his posture, high heels. The most upsetting thing about this law, though, is that being able to dress and wear what we want is a hallmark of American freedom that veterans and families of veterans like mine have fought and served overseas to protect. Telling men and women what they’re allowed to wear is actually a form of Sharia law commonly used by the Taliban. Why are our elected officials following the path of the Taliban instead of American freedom in their decision-making? When they say they’re “protecting our values,” I’m starting to wonder whose values they’re talking about.

The real issue, of course, is that seeing a Drag Queen has zero negative impact on a child’s development. On the other hand, lack of affordable housing, raising utility rates, high food costs, and lack of access to medical and mental health care do have an impact on children. Yet, instead of addressing any of these issues, our elected officials have chosen to focus solely on stripping away parental rights, forcing women to wear dresses under threat of arrest, and taking away private medical and religious decisions away from Ohioans. In fact, the residents of Darke County – Republicans, Democrats and Independents alike – have long suffered because of our elected officials’ single-minded hatred of personal freedom and LGBTQ+ people – many of whom are children. From what I’ve seen, most Darke County residents could care less about LGBTQ+ people. Many of my friends and family are Republicans and they support women’s rights and LGBTQ+ people because the Republican Party is supposed to stand for personal freedom and limited government. Yet, our elected officials have continuously sympathized with Nazis and chosen out-of-state, Taliban-like interests over the freedom—loving American residents of their district. In fact, Darke County residents have been unconstitutionally denied our right to have representation in our government for most of these officials’ time in office. Angie King, Jenna Powell and the Huffmans have continuously refused to return calls and emails from voters who have concerns – even from Republican voters. So, now we must also ask are they even Republicans?

It truly is a sad time for Ohio right now. Most Republicans, Democrats and Independents believe in American freedom. We want the government out of our bedrooms, our bodies, and out of our private affairs. But, for some reason, our current elected officials seem to hate American freedom, and are more than willing to neglect their actual duties such as fixing potholes and making sure we have affordable health care and housing. And even worse, they don’t seem to care that most people with a 12th grade education in civics can see the laws they are passing are unconstitutional and will cost Ohioans lots of money to overturn. How could that money be better spent on health care access for our communities in need? Instead, our elected officials are letting all of our families suffer because of their hatred of transgender kids who want to play sports with their friends. It’s a sad state of affairs when a community like Darke County that is so filled with veterans and families of veterans, like mine, who fought for freedom – even for those with whom we disagree – is expected to sit back while these elected officials trample the United States Constitution and the American freedom it stands for. Of course, we all make mistakes. Myself included. And there’s still time to turn it around. I hope that our elected officials will abandon these anti-American laws and return to a path of good governance that is based in personal freedom, access and equality for all, and that focuses on limiting the government’s involvement to the things we all care about the most, like utilities, housing, healthcare, roads, bridges and food costs.

In the meantime, I will make one more quick note. There are an awful lot of adults in positions of authority who seem to be okay with making fun of transgender people, and transgender children no less. The willingness of an adult in a position of power to use their position to bully a child to death says far more about that adult, especially adults who claim to be followers of Christ, than it does about a child struggling with their mental health who simply wants to play sports and make friends with their peers. I’m not sure who exactly these people are following at present, but I’m pretty sure it isn’t Jesus. I mean honestly, when you look into your heart and soul, do you really think Jesus would be okay you with excluding and bullying kids who are different to death? The Christ I learned about wouldn’t be okay with that.

Ryan Acker,


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