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Columbus’s Growth Depends on Whether We Say Soda vs. Pop

614now Staff



I’m a staunch sayer of the word, “Soda” when referring to carbonated sugar water. According to many, including PopvsSoda – I’m in the hard minority when it comes to this.

I believe that for Columbus to grow as a city, we should stop saying pop and start saying soda.

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Now hear me out before you raise your pitchforks – what do the some of biggest cities in the United States have in common?

The word ‘Soda.’

Only 4% of California’s population says pop and only 31% of New York says pop.

Illinois is majority “pop” – specifically Cook County, the seat of Chicago – but a huge concentration of “soda” speakers is right on the border between Illinois and Missouri, a.k.a the city of St. Louis.

Chicago is the largest city in the United States to have a majority of “pop” sayers. Weird. Especially when you see that bigger cities mean a higher amount of people saying soda instead of pop.

What strikes me most about the Pop vs. Soda debate is how fierce we as Ohioans defend our usage of ‘pop.’ As if a part of our identity as midwesterners is at stake if we didn’t use this strange colloquial term.

We are proud to live in Columbus. Proud to live in Ohio – but at the end of the day we strive to be better, to make our cities more “in-line” with big ones, like Chicago. How long has Columbus wanted a monorail or subway system? I’d say we only want it because it makes us look “bigger” and closer to the ideal “metropolis.”

In the United States, more people use soda over pop, thanks in large part to the sparse distribution of people in the majority of midwestern states.

I feel it is in the best interest of the community and Ohio as a whole, to ditch the word “pop” and adopt the far superior “soda” to differentiate ourselves from other midwestern cities.

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Look at all those no-name states; they all say pop like a buncha’ chumps.

Here are my reasons on why Soda is better than Pop.

  • Pop is a sound, an onomatopoeia, and is not actually a “thing.”  We Ohioans, through sheer force of will have decided to make this description of a sound, a thing. (Yes, I’m aware that soda pop is the original name of the drink, but the can or bottle pops when you open it – that’s why that word is in the name – it is a description of soda just like soda water.) It’d be like all of Toledo calling a balloon, “a fwooshy.” Soda ‘pops’ when you open it, that’s the thing it does. You don’t call shoes, ‘steppers,’ and you don’t call pencils ‘scritchers.’ So why are we calling Soda, ‘pop’.


  • Soda is a beautiful two syllable word, versus pop – a disgusting one syllable word. Things that come in pairs are often better, even when it comes to syllables. Poetry is the key to the soul (for some) and elloquence of the word soda is undisputable.
  • Hawaii is a very beautiful place and they say Soda. Don’t we want to be beautiful, Columbus? Why aren’t you letting us be more like Hawaii? You’re holding us back!
  • Pop is a ultimately a word that exists to shackle us to our ‘cowtown’ stereotypes. It is a chain that binds us to the past. Only a few cities have escaped the clutches of the word, ‘pop’ and we can be one of them if we try. We can be in the same upper echelon of cities like St. Louis, New York and San Diego. Instead we’re fartin’ around with Milwaukee on this issue. Do you know what they call water fountains in Milwaukee? Bubblers. We’re with those people.

We can all agree though that the south has no idea what they’re doing by calling everything “Coke.” That is just ignorant.

So! What are your reasons for latching onto the wrong word? Why aren’t you saying ‘Soda’ like a normal human being?

by Matthew Erman
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Govt & Politics

Op-Ed: We won battle with Heartbeat Bill block, war continues

Caitlin Horwatt



Ohio’s controversial “Heartbeat Bill” has been ​blocked by a federal court​, just days before it was slated to go into enforcement on July 11. The ruling is a temporary win for pro-reproductive rights activists and Planned Parenthood, ensuring that abortion clinics in the state of Ohio can stay open. But, the war over a woman’s right to her bodily autonomy is only ramping up.

The law would have banned abortions in the state of Ohio after six weeks, the earliest time in a pregnancy when a fetal heartbeat may be detected and well before many women know they are pregnant. There were to be no exceptions for rape or incest, although there would be exceptions when the life of the mother was in danger. The law would have classified violations as fifth-degree felonies, carrying up to one year in jail time and up to $2,500 in fines as a sentence.

The ​halt was ordered ​by Judge Michael Barrett of the Southern District of Ohio U.S. District Court. Barrett pointed out that the bill placed an “undue burden” on a woman seeking to terminate a pre-viability pregnancy. The law was on its face unconstitutional, a blatant attempt to overturn the federal government’s long standing decision to give women the right to the decisions regarding their bodies. Conservatives have tried to limit bodily autonomy well before women had the right to abortions; however, they fail to attack problems like infant poverty and child hunger with the same veracity.

The bill was part of a larger strategy that’s occurred nationwide at the hands of Republican lawmakers. The right to an abortion will stand nationally as long as Supreme Court rulings, including ​Roe v. Wade,​ remain in effect. By hammering out heartbeat bills nationwide, conservatives increase their chances of getting a ruling appealed up to the Supreme Court and from there the conservative-leaning court overturning ​Roe​.

Abortions are not only justified in the case of rape or incest, which has been a clickbait-inducing theme around this controversy. Abortion is a part of reproductive healthcare, a procedure nearly one in four women​ have before the age of 45. If lawmakers are so concerned about decreasing abortion rates, presumably because of a concern for the lives of the fetuses, they should fund comprehensize sex education ​and support for impoverished children already in this country.

The right to an abortion goes further than an outright ban. Strict regulations are a backdoor way to limit abortions, claiming to regulate the abortion providers for safety purposes. The state of Missouri​ famously has just one embattled abortion clinic ​still open and providing procedures, with the fight to keep the clinic licensed and running regularly boiling down to the wire in the past several months.

It is easy to move on from this debate when a new shocking headline runs about the state of politics or the crisis at the border. Wins like this, though important, cannot be accepted as permanent. As long as conservative lawmakers are proposing bills and regulations that limit abortion care, there is a battle to be fought, because we won’t go back.

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Govt & Politics

OP-ED: Heartbeat Bill will likely affect 11yo Ohio rape victim

Caitlin Horwatt



The passage of Ohio’s recent “heartbeat bill,” signed by Governor DeWine, marks a massive and distressing win in the conservative quest to outright ban abortion. All parties supporting the bill—from DeWine to legislators and lobbyists—are well aware that the action will be blocked by courts as they uphold Roe v. Wade, which protects the right to abortion until 24 weeks gestation. We should be frightened as we explore whether their big picture goal is to get Roe v. Wade overturned by the decidedly conservative Court.

By banning abortion after a heartbeat is detected, the law prohibits abortion as early as eight weeks, well before many women know they are pregnant. Add in the already mandatory twenty-four hour waiting period between first appointment and procedure, and the likelihood of legal abortion for even a pregnancy detected early seems slim. The law is an blatant attempt to ban women’s right to choose.

The Guttmacher Institute found that ​1 in 4 women​ has had an abortion before age 45. The Pew Research Center found that ​58% of Americans support legal abortion ​in all or most cases, with polarizing views against abortion coming mostly from Republican and religious Americans. These statistics fail to depict, though, how traumatic the impact can be for women forced to carry a child to term when she does not have the means or support to do so. The law is meant to protect the fetus at a term that is far earlier than the 22 to 24 weeks at which it is viable, all at the cost of the mother.

The bill notably does not give exceptions for cases of rape and incest, only allowing exceptions for medical necessity to save the mother’s life. This means an ​11 year-old rape victim from Massillon​ will likely have to carry her rapist’s baby to term.

Heartbeat bills do not ban abortion; they ban legal abortion. I think of a sign I saw during the 2017 Women’s March: a metal coat hanger with the words “WE WON’T GO BACK” scrawled below. The passage of this recent law achingly raises questions of whether or not we will go back.

Women who now find themselves pregnant could have their lives forever changed. Even if they choose to surrender the baby after birth, the cost of a pregnancy is astronomical and healthcare is far from a certainty in this country. If the pregnancy was caused by rape, the potential for trauma only escalates. Women will have few places to turn, with the most vulnerable unable to seek safe healthcare and the potential high for maternal deaths as part of botched abortions.

The ACLU and other organizations are already moving to challenge the ban in court. I can’t shake the looming feeling that these challenges will only play into the hands of those anti-abortion supporters, and that we may be entering the most important fight of our generation in this fight for a woman’s right to choose.

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Govt & Politics

OP-ED: ‘Red flag’ is far cry from where Ohio gun law should be

Joanne Strasser



Last weekend, a man entered a synagogue in Poway, California armed with a rifle. The Washington Post reports that prior to him entering the place of worship, the accused shooter wrote a 7-page letter about his hatred for Jewish people. He believed killing them would "glorify God." Below is an op-ed from one Columbus mother who believes Ohio should be taking a stronger stance against guns following of the Poway tragedy.

Even in light of this past weekend’s synagogue shooting, DeWine is still unwilling to change Ohio’s gun laws. He is, however, advocating for Ohio to pass a red flag law, which would allow law enforcement to seize guns from individuals deemed a societal risk.

This isn’t the first time the red flag law was floated in the Ohio Legislature.  In the wake of last year’s Parkland High School shooting in Florida, former Gov. Kasich backed the proposed law, which ultimately failed to gain support.

Opposition to the legislation stems from Republican lawmakers’ belief that it infringes on the constitution rights to bear arms and proper due process of law. However, 14 other states have already implemented the red flag law.

Moms Demand Action, a national gun control organization, notes that 42% of attackers exhibit warning signs before shootings occur. And although this legislation would only be a small step in the right direction, it could help save lives.

But ultimately, statistics don’t matter to politicians, who are dependent on dollars from the gun lobby.  And until our elected officials decide that Ohioans‘ safety comes first, any measure, regardless of how small and sensible, will fail. 

Ohio Republicans need to take a long hard look at their agenda and ask themselves if it truly serves our needs. Which is more important: our children feeling safe at school or campaign contributions? 

The red flag law is a common-sense measure, and while it’s a far cry from where Ohio gun restriction needs to be, it’s certainly a start.

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