The Columbus Dispatch

As children, we might have been taught the Golden Rule — treat others as you would like to be treated — but too many adults seem to have forgotten that lesson.

From the president of the United States on down, name-calling has become mainstream and social media have people behaving in markedly antisocial fashion. It’s not just rude behavior that should have been corrected in elementary school; it’s a pervasive us-vs-them mentality as people align with their chosen tribes and view all others with distrust and disgust. ...

For members of the central Ohio congressional delegation, this growing discord came way too close last year as a gunman shot at Republicans practicing for a congressional charity baseball game, gravely wounding House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana. A week later, a Westerville man was charged with making death threats to Upper Arlington Republican Rep. Steve Stivers and his family.

Now to their credit, Stivers and Rep. Joyce Beatty, a Jefferson Township Democrat, have announced creation of a new Congressional Civility and Respect Caucus to encourage their colleagues in Washington, D.C., to "promote civility and respect in our political discourse." ...

Stivers and Beatty want to take their message of "disagreeing without being disagreeable" to local schools as well as to congressional colleagues. Success, Stivers said, initially would be for members of Congress from every state to join their caucus, but the ultimate goal is to change behavior. Who can’t get behind that?



The Lima News

What he said was crude, rude and inappropriate.

But they were just words — not actions — and that has to be taken into account when doling out his punishment.

That’s why we’re calling for the Ohio Senate to publicly censure state Sen. Matt Huffman, R-Lima.

During a roast Jan. 23 for a longtime GOP staffer, Huffman acted as the emcee for the private event at the Athletic Club of Columbus. He told a story about an unnamed woman considering a run for office. He then referred to her using a derogatory four-letter term for a part of female anatomy, using a junior high joke of spelling out the first few letters and using words to finish it off.

Was it dumb? Of course. Was it inappropriate? Absolutely. Is it another sign of a pervasive old boys’ club in Columbus? Probably.

What it wasn’t was a fire-able offense. It wasn’t an unwanted sexual advance, like the one that doomed colleague Cliff Hite last year. It wasn’t even targeted at a particular named person, unlike the slurs heaved by state Rep. Bill Seitz, R-Cincinnati, who named names when he described one former colleague as wearing "a tin foil hat." ...

There are real problems with men overstepping their bounds and becoming sexually aggressive. The entire #metoo movement shows women who’ve legitimately been wronged by men in a position of power.

It undoubtedly plays out in the state government. We must strive for equality for both genders, but we shouldn’t do it at the expense of common sense by punishing dumb jokes in the same way you would vile actions.



The (Youngstown) Vindicator

County jails in our state and nation face increasingly daunting tasks in carrying out their challenging multi-pronged mandates to house, feed, punish, rehabilitate and educate the more than 10 million inmates that check into their facilities annually.

One often overlooked yet growing challenge many short-term correctional facilities struggle to adequately meet is their responsibility to offer treatment to the soaring population of inmates with any of a variety of mental illnesses. In many respects, today’s local and county police and jailers have morphed into de facto primary caretakers for the mentally ill and drug-dependent. ...

Fortunately, help is at hand to slow down that fast-moving revolving door.

A 3-year-old program called Stepping Up, a national initiative to reduce the number of people with mental illnesses in jails, is making strong inroads.

Stepping Up, for which former Ohio Supreme Court Justice Evelyn Lundberg Stratton serves as Ohio director, has partnered with 418 counties in the nation — including Mahoning — to implement and help fund action plans to broaden services offered to jails’ mentally-ill population. ...

Elsewhere, state and federal governments have recognized the value of heightened mental-health care in jails by expanding grant and other funding opportunities. In addition, local mental-health courts that provide long-term treatment continue to produce success stories.

To do nothing is irresponsible and dangerous. Without intense intervention strategies, the lose-lose cycle will drag on. Mentally ill inmates will not get the help they need to turn their lives around, and communities will not escape the unseemly criminal side of untreated mental illness that too often threatens public health and safety.