Julie Moock Kasich Commentary 2

Prior to John Kasich’s entrance onto the stage, the Duke Performance Center became packed with Davidson students and community members, all equally eager to hear from the former Governor of Ohio. With a conservative politician speaking to a largely liberal institution, anticipation rested on the minds of many in the room. I wondered whether the political polarization so often found in the media would become actualized in that moment, if the remaining time saved for questions would yield an altercation rather than academic discourse. I questioned if Kasich would share genuine sentiments, or dilute his opinions to appeal to the audience of young college students. Although, as Kasich spoke, his message was not to sway the audience towards conservatism. He opened the evening by urging the audience to enter every discourse by first actively acknowledging the other’s humanity, something reminiscent of Quillen’s first unit in this course. This was especially pertinent for me, as I entered the evening with the rather negative preconceived notion that there was some kind of barrier preventing a conversative speaker from delivering a meaningful message at a liberal university. Taking his sentiments to heart, I should have begun the night aware of our differences on the political spectrum, but first concerned with our shared humanity. I disagreed with some of his points, such as his insistence upon grassroots efforts which seemed like a way to overlook making actual legislative change. But, I walked away from the talk with a greater appreciation for Kasich, and his ability to speak to the students in the audience as active bodies who may evoke change on an international scale. 

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