With the bar as low as it is for the 2016 election, it takes a, let’s say “special”, kind of candidate to reach new levels of embarrassment and disgrace in the race to the office of the President. This week, our own John Kasich did just that. It never fails that after a high profile terrorist attack, like the world witnessed in Paris, that national security and uber-patriotism take center stage. When said attack happens during a presidential race where each candidate is competing for the day’s most bombastic declaration it becomes increasingly troubling. Following the attacks, Kasich was one of several U.S. Governors to sign his name to a bill that proposes banning Syrian refugees into his state.
Let us be clear, this is not just an attempt to stop single Syrian men of “combat age”. The bill, which just got approved on the floor of Congress, is stopping families from escaping carnage and certain death. It bans children, infants, the sick the injured, and the elderly (basically your “tired, huddled masses”). Because there is not a rational methodology to their exclusivity, because it does nothing to delineate between potential threats and those simply fleeing a devastating war, our leaders are doing this not out of duty but out of fear. They act out of xenophobia, petty nationalism, and the worst sin of all, blatant attempts to appeal to that atavistic motley of Republican base voters.
If it stopped there, Kasich could be accused of doing no more than going along with others in his party. His defense could be one of understandable over-caution in dangerous times but his proposal to the National Press Club in Washington DC, last Tuesday, removes all shadow of doubt to the nature of the man. His goal is that of creating a new government agency that promotes “core Judeo-Christian, Western values” not only here, but across the world, as a means to defeat ISIS. Let’s unpack this for what it is.
Kasich, like the others in the Republican primary field, often bemoan the invasiveness of Big Government’s meddling… unless it is their Big Government. His intent is not dissimilar to a Bond villain in that he wants to “beam messages around the world” promoting US values in places like Russia, China and the Middle East. Never mind the fact that Russia and China are not known terrorist hotspots, simply Communist, i.e. not like him so therefore wrong.
Kasich went on tout his plan, saying it would have a “clear mandate to promote core Judeo-Christian, Western values that our friends and allies share.” Since when has America been in the business of overtly attempting to push religious mandates and principles on the rest of the world? The sheer arrogance of that mentality is sure to only alienate other nations. What is worse is his complete disregard for the separation of Church and State in America, a principle that made our country that fabled bastion of freedom in the first place.
Kasich’s attempt to stamp America as Judeo-Christian, his refusal of refugees, compounded with Donald Trump’s vile comments that Mosques should be shut down “as a precaution” and that Muslims should be registered and tracked in a national database, is so antithetical to very nature of our nation it is almost treasonous. Regardless of party lines, regardless of policy opinions, we as a nation should be united in our determination to be a world leader of compassion of tolerance of empathy and protection for the defenseless and abused. If we are not, I no longer know what America stands for. In promoting intolerance and discrimination, in reacting to fear with more fear and hate with more hate, politicians of the aforementioned mindset are handing terrorists an idealistic victory.
But if you thought sharing common cause would make Kasich and Trump fast friends, you would be wrong. Kasich has teamed with super-pac, New Day for America, which has pledged two and half million dollars to take down Trump. The defacto front-runner went on the assault as only an orange haired, petulant man-child can, on Twitter. Throughout a series of 140 character statements Trump assailed Kasich saying, “I want to do negative ads on Kasich, but he is so irrelevant to the race that I don’t want to waste my money.”, “Watch Kasich squirm- if he is not truthful in his negative ads I will sue him just for fun!”, etc. To this, Kasich responded with his own series of tweets that included several past statements of Trump’s that run counter to his campaign image. All of that to say, these supposed strong men behave like fourteen year old girls while they compete for the highest office in the nation.
Rounding out the national embarrassment, Ben Carson released a map of America that, well, you’d have to see it to believe it. In the map Connecticut is altogether missing, New Hampshire is inexplicably on its side, and the rest of the New England states are stacked atop each other like Jenga pieces. It is truly a sight to behold. I can give the benefit of the doubt for him not knowing anything about the rest of the world (remember, “low bar”). Speaking of a two-state policy in regards to Israel and Palestine he asked, “Can’t we just slip that thing down into Egypt?” Not even knowing the basic geographic shape of the very nation you were born in and hope to lead? That goes beyond embarrassing to the realm of wildly unqualified.
And this in a race with Rick Santorum and Chris Christie still running!