Republican Fashions and a Cranley Moment

They do things differently in Green Township, bastion of the Republican Party and the kind of place where the West side stereotype -- white, Catholic, conservative -- is considered complimentary.

Nov 9, 2005 at 2:06 pm
Stephen Novotni

Art Gish says he used his "ugly face" to stop a beating in occupied Palestine. Peggy Gish, his wife, did peace work in occupied Iraq.

They do things differently in Green Township, bastion of the Republican Party and the kind of place where the West side stereotype — white, Catholic, conservative — is considered complimentary. There the candidates don't feel any need to pretend to be just ordinary folk.

A full-page ad in the Sunday daily newspaper last weekend touted the virtues of the GOP candidates for township trustee, Chuck Mitchell and Tracy Winkler. But the most telling part of the ad wasn't the text, with its pandering to the religious right ("Social conservatives: Pro-family, pro-life."). What really showed who the candidates are was the photo of Winkler, resplendent in a jeweled necklace, and her tuxedoed husband, Hamilton County Municipal Judge Ted Winkler.

Mitchell's photo is also in the ad. But for a better glimpse of his idea of governance, residents could read the fall edition of "Green Township News." Mitchell is an incumbent, which probably had nothing to do with the fact that he had two photos in the newsletter. But his column put forth one of those friendly aphorisms that unintentionally reveal what is meant by the term "social conservative."

"Our officers know they have the full support of our board of trustees so they may do their jobs without worrying about 'politicians' getting in their way," Mitchell wrote.

Funny. We always thought elected officials were supposed to be in charge of the people carrying the guns.

Then there's Cincinnati City Councilman John Cranley, one of those West-side politicians who seems to forget what being a Democrat is all about. Cranley campaigned Nov. 8 outside Nativity School in Pleasant Ridge, where he encountered people circulating a petition for Let Justice Roll Ohio. The group wants a ballot measure in 2006 to raise the state's minimum wage from $4.25/hour to $6.85/hour.

"We were there because 60 percent of homeless men work and still are homeless because they don't earn enough," says Georgine Getty, executive director of the Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless.

Councilwoman Laketa Cole stopped by and did what Democrats do — she signed the petition to help the working poor.

"Laketa Cole showed up to shake some hands and signed it, no problem," Getty says. "Then John Cranley showed up to shake some hands. I gave him my little speech and he handed it back, unsigned, saying he'd have to think about it. Nice Democrat!"

Students and Senior Citizens Stand for Peace
About 100 students at Walnut Hills High School walked out of classes Nov. 2 to protest the Bush regime's war in Iraq.

"Polls show that most Americans now oppose the war, which has taken the lives of 100,000 Iraqis and over 2,000 U.S. servicemen and women," said Traven La Botz, an organizer with the student group Concerned Students for Peace. "We need to take action in many ways to show our opposition and bring the war to an end."

Since the start of the war, Concerned Students for Peace have created a soldiers' graveyard around the school's flagpole, held morning vigils for war casualties, distributed educational leaflets and protested against military recruitment on campus.

La Botz made a point of comparing the student walkout to the legacy of Rosa Parks, the civil rights icon who was buried with national honors last week. As if to help with the comparison, the students — like Parks, who was arrested for violating a segregation law — accepted the penalty for their civil disobedience. Instead of arrest, they got detention.

The walkout was part of a nationwide effort. For more details, visit

With a military holiday approaching, now is the time for peace supporters to honor the work of their activists. If the high school students represent the youth movement against war, Art and Peggy Gish represent the elderly movement. The Athens, Ohio, couple was in town last weekend to talk about their work in the Middle East with the Christian Peacemaker Teams. Peggy Gish has repeatedly visited Iraq to express solidarity with its suffering people.

Earlier this year Art Gish literally got in the face of an Israeli soldier to interrupt the beating of a Palestinian youth. Gish said he had his hands behind his back to communicate that he wasn't a threat and "I stuck my ugly face in front of his." That mug apparently made quite an impression, disrupting the soldier's concentration and stopping the beating.

The couple came to town to talk with the Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center and the Cincinnati Mennonite Fellowship.

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