Thursday, October 25, 2012

Life in a Swing State: Erasing Rust Belt Term Forever

In a dozen days, this Presidential election will all be over and the proverbial spotlight will leave Ohio.  Ohio's recovery begins November 7, or so we hope.

Job One is to go about erasing the term "Rust Belt" forever.  It's time to end use of this two four-letter-word combination.

A Google search reports over 2.3 million items when one looks for the "Ohio Rust Belt" phrase. Yahoo actually claims over 9.8 million for the same search.

All these negative associations surely don't help our collective psyche as a state or our vision as a strong place to invest in for our economic development interests.

Erasing the term won't be easy, but erasing it we must do.

Make it irrelevant.  Though we seem to have hit a bit of an economic equivalent of a speed bump of late, the resurrection of manufacturing in Ohio is really the best way to erase use of the term from the journalistic vernacular.  Rust belt is a pejorative, but there are some that claim we can reverse that thinking with economic gains and make rust belt chic.  I hope they are right.

Push an alternative.  I've written a thesaurus entry with some suggestions like America's Metals Heartland or the Industrial Midwest.  A few national columnists have slowly been dropping it from their dictionaries, notably Joel Kotkin

Get decisive, as a state.  If Ohio would just stop being so middle of the road on presidential elections, there would be several million less reasons for Ohio to be the subject of national news stories with a negative tone in them. 

Let's stop being a swing state!

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