Virginia Adams – John Kasich Commentary

Despite the entertaining opening to the talk, John Kasich’s talk at Davidson’s campus peaked after this vignette. While he pointed out some critical problems facing the United States political system, primarily the pitfalls of our polarized two-party system, such indictments felt trite. I did not find his acknowledgement of this inordinate issue particularly moving, especially because he then called those in the room to spend less time online and more involved in activism. Political change, according to Kasich, comes from this popular involvement. While I do not deny the importance of political engagement, these platitudes felt like an evasion of some crucial issues and responsibilities. I do not claim to have a better solution to any of these issues, nor do I fail to ignore the significant ways our societal polarization hinders the function of our nation’s governance. I do, however, maintain that crucial gaps exist in Kasich’s argument. He pointed, for example, to Greta Thunberg as a contemporary exemplar of his system at work. This assertion ignores that, while her protests have engaged significant movements of youth, they have not led to any substantive political change nor does anything in society indicate that they soon will. The hours people put in on the streets only have so much significance if those on Capitol Hill do not respond with policies. It sounds moving on stage, but the applicability of these theses outside the Duke Family Performance hall remains in question.

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