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Opinion

Living in a swing state like Ohio is good for your self-esteem

I live in Ohio, the swing-state capital of the Midwest. Sure, people complain about the incessant political ads, the traffic when Mitt Romney and President Obama are moving around town, and the perpetual knocking on the door. But it's a small price to pay for all this attention.

By Jim Sollisch / October 31, 2012

Mitt Romney participates in a campaign event collecting supplies for victims of superstorm Sandy Oct. 30 at the James S. Trent Arena in Kettering, Ohio. Op-ed contributor Jim Sollisch writes: 'Once this election is over, I think the Ohio State legislature should take up the idea of changing the state’s symbol from Buckeye to Swinger. What would you rather be, a buckeye, which is an inedible nut, or a swinger?'

Charles Dharapak/AP

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Cleveland

Living in a swing state is great for your self-esteem. I live in Ohio, the swing-state capital of the Midwest. Sure, people complain about having to watch 20 political commercials just to see an episode of “Modern Family.” And there are people who grumble about the newfound traffic that comes with every visit from Mitt Romney or President Obama, which is almost daily. City officials in many of our towns complain about the cost of added security.

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But don’t be fooled. It’s a small price to pay for all this attention.

Let’s face it, people want to be liked and needed, even if they know it’s purely transactional. I’m sure the super-rich have figured out that some people like them for reasons other than their sense of humor. I don’t care if you’re only paying attention to me because of my vote; I’m a middle-aged man in middle America, and I’ll take whatever attention I can get.

My wife and I can go a long time between knocks on the door from friendly strangers who aren’t missionaries. Not this month. Seems there’s a new visitor who really needs us every day.

Our heads are swelling. They tell us that the president is counting on us. “Of course, the president can count on us,” we say to each one, day after day, wondering why they keep knocking. I told the last one, “You had me at hello. But no, I haven’t voted early because I’m very fond of my particular polling place. But don’t worry, I’ll be there with bells on Nov 6th.”

We live in the democratic stronghold of Ohio – Cuyahoga County – in Cleveland Heights, the unofficial progressive seat of the county. So our doorbell only gets rung by Obama get-out-the-vote volunteers.

But Mitt still visits us every few minutes via our television – he and his friend, Karl Rove. Their GPS system may be off because my wife and I should not be their destination.

When I say we see every commercial, let me give you an idea of how many that is. In an episode of “Dancing With the Stars” last week, there were 46 political ads. A reporter from The New York Daily News counted them up. 

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