I attended the widely advertised John Kasich event at the recommendation of my friend who I do not share similar political views with. I believe in challenging your own beliefs, hearing all perspectives on an issue, and deliberating and determining your beliefs after all of this. I decided to heed Professor Denham’s advice to “get our $40,000’s worth” and listen to former Governor Kasich speak.
My initial thoughts revolved around my impressions of him as a person; he was clearly a seasoned politician, a traditional sounding man, and a relatively uninteresting person. I noticed he avoided discussing politics almost completely during his solo lecture to the audience, opting instead for a motivational speech on self-help, a story about Richard Nixon meant to inspire insistence, and a call to simply slow down. A specific story he told struck me because of its sheer preposterousness. When trying to provide an example for his overarching theme of the courage it requires to ask for help, he mentioned an encounter he supposedly had that day when walking the streets of Davidson. He recounted a run-in with a mother and young daughter who recognized him and struck up conversation with him. The mother explained that her daughter had recently begun speech therapy (the daughter was 6 or 7) because of her lisp. He said he praised the little girl for seeking the help she needed. I audibly laughed at this comment. I felt this was a very bizarre, stretch of a story for the point he was trying to illustrate. This girl definitely did not “seek out” speech therapy at her age, rather her mom deemed it time to have her daughter to speak by societally accepted standards.
The one thing I found of some worth was Governor Kasich’s call for empathy. It reminded me of Professor Tamura’s unit. He said that the world would be a whole lot better if everyone could put themselves in other people’s shoes. This is a good lesson, though broad and lacking in complexity. Frankly, it is hypocritical for a politician who opposed same-sex marriage for most of his adult life and cut funding to places where poorer women tend to get their sexual health treatment and contraceptives (Planned Parenthood). Overall, Governor Kasich failed to transcend beyond the political sphere and address his record as a lifelong politician that contradicted the themes he explored in his lecture.