Thank you, Gov. Kasich

My kids know I have a rule — you should read at least one thing every day and find at least one thing to laugh at every day. If there are two things you need to survive this life it’s:  1) the ability to take in and process information about it, and 2) the ability to laugh at it.

On the laughing front, my oldest has been telling me to try watching clips of Trevor Noah on the Daily Show. I didn’t give his advice much thought until I came across a clip of Noah interviewing Ohio governor and former Republican presidential candidate John Kasich.

My son is right, Noah has an impressive backstory and gives a great interview, but it was Kasich that was utterly refreshing — another uplifting blow to my political cynicism. I thought maybe Kasich’s performance was due to Noah’s impressive interview skills, but then I caught a couple different clips of Kasich on different shows — and he stole each and every one.

Admittedly, I favored Kasich among the rest of the primary field on the right and considered temporarily joining the Republican Party to vote for him in 2016. Comparatively speaking, he came across as intelligent, moderate, humble, down to earth, courteous, committed to public service, and determined to lead from a place of integrity.

The anti-Trump. And, in my opinion, head and shoulders above his fellow Republican primary candidates.

Listening to the interview, though, I realized that looking at Kasich on only comparative terms to his fellow primary candidates isn’t fair. That bar was so low and so loud, it didn’t allow Americans to see how high his standards for himself are, how deeply he believes in serving, how deeply he believes in the citizens of this country.

How great a president he might have been.

Kasich hasn’t given up on his vision, though, and neither should we as we navigate these unsettling times. Kasich’s written a book, “Two Paths,” thus all the interviews. I knew right away this particular interview was going to be a panacea for my political cynicism because it starts with a funny bit about Kasich eating on the campaign trail. He’s so good at laughing at himself.

And I wasn’t alone in my reaction. After talking to my oldest about it, I realized this interview might just be a panacea for all that ails our current political climate and decided to do a post. My oldest is one of the only people I know who is more cynical about our current state of political affairs than I, and even he was taken by Kasich’s words.

The video is 16 minutes long, so do wait until you have time to take it all in. I highly recommend watching it at the end of the day before retiring — it’s like an antidote for the times, a tonic for a restful night’s sleep. Here’s the video, and the 10 reasons I find it so compelling.

  1. Kasich likes to laugh and eat, as is evident at the beginning of the clip. The eating seems like a way to interact with average citizens, though, too. These interactions seem so genuine.
  2. To paraphrase him, Kasich believes his faith calls him to honor God, act with humility, love his neighbor, and live a life bigger than himself. Can’t fault him on any count there.
  3. Kasich believes it is his right to define “what it means to be a conservative and a Republican” for himself with the best interests of his constituents, rather than the Republican Party in mind.
  4. Kasich spoke about our society’s “take a pill” mentality, our need for instant gratification, for an immediate sense that “everything is going to be alright.” He thinks everything can be alright, but fixing some things takes time. How realistic and honest.
  5. In every single clip I’ve seen including this one, Kasich refers to his responsibility to mentally ill and addicted people in his state and government’s responsibility to these and other vulnerable populations around the country. Not only did he expand Medicaid under the ACA in his state, he is speaking out against any reduction in future health care legislation. (Maybe someone could arrange for him to visit the Blaine House?!?!)
  6. Kasich speaks lovingly and sincerely about his wife and family, and it doesn’t seem feigned.
  7. Kasich seeks points of commonality as a way to bridge political polarization, both in the way he governs Ohio and in his vision for the country.
  8. Kasich echoes the words of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., when he says that no one is better than anyone else “whether you’re running the company or turning out the lights” in response to the issue of income inequality. It reminds me of the way Dr. King supported all workers, including garbage collectors with reverence for each individual’s inherent dignity.
  9. Kasich believes it is our responsibility “to recapture our culture” from its current corrupted state — voters have a responsibility to insist on responsive leadership that meets their needs.
  10. Kasich seems like a Republican Joe Biden. Republicans must have been looking through the political equivalent of beer goggles to have overlooked him. At least Democrats knew enough to beg Biden to run. Republicans had Kasich ready, willing and able, yet …

Patricia Callahan

About Patricia Callahan

Trish is a writer who lives in Augusta. She has worked professionally in education and social services.