Em Underation, the woman behind “Sincerely, Em,” (thesincerelyemblog.com) a blog and podcast about the struggles of adulthood and navigating through the things that weigh us down. Em is also an Ohio resident, former Ohio State House Staffer, current graduate student and Program Manager at the Ohio State University
- Most of our readers probably just want to know, what is it like to live in a state with John Kasich as Governor?
Oh gosh, it’s very interesting. Having a governor that is constantly running for President has been frustrating. It feels like he’s very disconnected from everything lately. He has recently come out in favor of stronger background checks for guns, though, which is a clear political move to get more moderates to vote for him over Trump in the primary. People in Ohio like to say he’s a moderate. He’s not at all. He’s signed abortion bill after abortion bill for the last 8 years and he has allowed his Republican caucus to get away with many really messed up things in recent years. If you’re curious, just Google “Ohio Statehouse scandals” honestly. There are so many. I’d personally love to see him take out Trump in the primary, but I’m not a huge fan of his. His wife is a badass though (and I think a secret liberal)
2. In Rhode Island The Woman Project has been advocating for passage of the Reproductive Health Care Act which would protect Roe v. Wade in Rhode Island no matter what happens with the Supreme Court, but the Speaker of our House and President of the Senate, do not think there is a threat to Roe v. Wade. Recently our Speaker went on RI Public Radio and said:
“I haven’t seen the law, or the court case. If there is, please bring it to my attention at some point but I have not seen the court case that challenges Roe v Wade. I mean, some states are trying to limit it, but that’s not what the concern is. The concern is an overturn of Roe v Wade and there’s no case in the system anywhere so I don’t think it’s a real concern and I just remind folks that this is a very divisive issue on both sides. It’s an issue that would utilize all the oxygen in the room and we’ve got significant budget challenges, we’ve got the PawSox we’re working on, we’ve got important bills that are of concern to a lot of people, and I choose to concentrate on everything and not utilize every drop or ounce of oxygen on one particular issue which is not of consequence either way. For everybody that wants that there’s almost someone that doesn’t want it, so it’s just divisive for no real end, no real benefit either way. Roe v Wade is not going to be overturned I think that’s a concern that’s not founded in reality.”
Based on your work in your state house and your current Governor, is there a threat to Roe v. Wade coming out of Ohio?
I think there’s a clear threat, yes. Luckily, for Ohio, we have some of the strongest NARAL and Planned Parenthood activists in the nation. Regardless, Ohio has a super majority that goes for Republicans in the Statehouse. Democrats fight tooth and nail and propose amendment after amendment on the floor for abortion bills, but all get passed without the blink of an eye. There’s nothing Democrats can do to stop it because they don’t have the votes. I am thankful for our Ohio State Supreme Court who has continually found abortion bans to be unconstitutional, but Justice O’Neill, a liberal, just stepped down from the bench, allowing a Republican to take his seat. I don’t know how protected those rights will be anymore.
3. You describe your blog and podcast as “the struggles of adulthood and navigating the things that weigh us down.” How do you think the current political state of the national and state government impacts adulting?
1000% it does. For example, as a 24 year old woman living in Ohio, my student loans have reached upwards of 50k. I won’t own a home until I’m probably in my mid-30’s. The odds are stacked against me because the people in power and with the ability to make decisions don’t consider what it’s like to live with these realities. Most of them went to school when college was $4,500 a year. That’s what I paid for 4 credit hours in college.
I also think the political state plays a huge part in the mental health of activists and others who feel like their current president is a threat to their livelihood. Learning how to self-care through politics, which I did a podcast on recently, is a huge thing now. Being able to take a step back without telling yourself it’s selfish, recharging, and being ready to fight again is a political revolution within itself.
4. You have also spent time on your blog and podcast talking about struggles with mental health and anxiety. We are living in a time when our President wants to take our rights away, how do you think we are impacted in both a tangible and emotional way?
So I kind of touched on that before, but I think the biggest thing is to be open and honest about the way you’re feeling. Whether that’s with a loved one or with a therapist, you’d be surprised how many of us are in the same exact boat feeling the same exact way. Most things that cause us stress, like our jobs or friends, we can turn those things off for a few hours a day. With politics, it’s constantly around us. Whether that’s on social media or on the news or for some of us, it IS our job. It’s hard to sit back and catch a break from it all.
I think about working in the Ohio Statehouse as a legislative aide for a member of the minority caucus. It was the most exhausting job I think I will ever have. It’s loss after loss and everyone is so checked out because of it. It’s learning what the new normal is when we have a president that wants to take rights away from people and some GOP members now have a pedestal to speak their putrid words from. It’s disheartening and I give major credit to those folks who still work there every day. I left to pursue my graduate degree and to take a step back from politics, which was causing my mental health to decline so quickly.
5. Having just finished your primaries in Ohio, what advice do you have for Rhode Island voters who won’t have their primaries until September 12th, 2018?
September 12th? Wow, that’s so crazy to think about. I’d say go vote—primary elections don’t seem important, but if I’ve learned anything from 2016 it’s that staying home is the absolute decline to democracy. When people stop believing that their vote matters is when we elect more Donald Trumps to power.
Also, if RI has many primary candidate options for different seats like Ohio does for governor, go with your gut. It might not be the popular decision, but do it. Cast a vote that makes you feel good. Do your research and vote based on what you know.