Monday, September 10, 2018

Coulda Been the President...What Difference Would It Have Made? Two Paths: America Divided or United by John Kasich

We live in a post-truth environment. That’s a term I heard throughout the 2016 presidential campaign, long before anyone was talking about “alternative facts,” and it set me off. 
One of the reasons it bothered me, I think, was because it’s true. And I have to think that one of the reasons the expression has caught on the way it has—the Oxford English Dictionary named “post-truth” the “international word of the year”—is because it points out a fault in our culture. It suggests that in politics, in government, in our national dialogue, the truth is no longer relevant. These days, the space between truth and half-truths and utter falsehoods is almost unrecognizable. 
What’s most concerning is the way these post-truths have seeped into the back-and-forth that now passes for political discourse. Too many of our politicians and elected officials have taken to saying whatever they want to in order to make their point, and it doesn’t seem to matter if what they’re saying is even close to true. What matters, apparently, is how such false or misleading statements make American voters feel, and how so-called or would-be leaders can fool us into believing that they themselves stand a little taller than they actually do. 
What people believe prevails over the truth. That’s a line from Sophocles, and he was on to something, I guess. In matters of the heart, or faith, or personal relationships, I suppose there’s value in this view. We’re human beings, after all. We’re wired in an emotional way. We tend to respond to certain situations with our guts instead of our heads. I get that. The ancient Greeks, they got that, too. But in a political campaign, I believe we should place the truth above all else. I don’t care what party you belong to or what office you’re seeking—you owe it to your constituents, to the people you’re looking to serve, to get it right. If you say something is so, then it ought to be so. 
You know, before I was elected to the Ohio Senate, there was a push to build a bridge in my district. My constituents were all for it, and wanted some assurances from me that this was something I could get done after I was elected. So, I went to then-Governor Jim Rhodes and asked him about it. I said, “Is this something we’re going to be able to do for these people?” 
He said, “Just tell them you’ll get it for them, and we’ll see what happens.” 
That was the way of things in politics, I was learning, and I didn’t like it. So, I stood against it. I didn’t like it then, and I don’t like it now. From the very beginning, when I gave people my word, I meant to keep it. This disconnect reminds me of the guy in that great Beatles song, “Nowhere Man,” who just sees what he wants to see. 
I guess Lennon and McCartney McCartney were on to something as well, recognizing that at times we can all turn a blind eye to what troubles or confuses us. This, too, is our nature. But in a presidential election cycle, I don’t think we have that luxury. Wishful thinking doesn’t cut it. We can’t pick and choose among half-truths and utter falsehoods and grab only at the ones that reinforce our preconceived notions or stoke our shared fears. We can’t live in our own reality—not if we hope to come together and attempt to solve the very real problems facing this great country. We owe it to ourselves, and to each other, to understand the world as it appears before us, not as we might remember it or hope it will be again. 
There’s a disconnect in America now, and it troubles me. Perhaps it troubles you. Maybe that’s one of the reasons you picked up this book—because, like me, you’ve become frustrated at the tone of our national conversation. How did this happen? When did this happen? And what are we going to do about it? We’ve got to do something, because it’s a worrisome and dangerous thing when we allow the post-truths that marked the 2016 presidential campaign to permeate our culture and (mis)inform our shared thinking, when we allow the truth to become beside the point. 
The truth shall set you free. Ah, now that’s a line from John 8:32, and I have to think he was on to something most of all, something we would all do well to keep in mind as we move forward. I think most of us can understand the impulse to hide our heads in the sand and look away from looming trouble. But our leaders shouldn’t prey on that impulse. In fact, they should help us recognize it, overcome it, and confront our troubles head-on. Because the truth, even a painful truth, is absolute. There is no path forward without it.

Two Paths:
America Divided or United

By John Kasich

Two Paths, a title that struck me as exactly where we are in today's world. In addition, each of us also has a choice of two paths--working for evil or good. I bought this book because I had heard this man on the news several times, since the election. As some of you know, when I decide to read a nonfiction book, I want to know, first, about the author. Of course, in this instance, most will already know he is governor of Ohio. Whenever somebody talks about who should run for President, it was my own opinion, that he should have extensive experience in the administration of or participation in governmental positions.  But, as the author says in this book, I, and most of America didn't readily recognize his name or know much about him. I now wanted to know more. Even if the election was over...

As we wake up to the reality that we live in a polarized nation, with a deeply divided electorate and a new president who seemed at times during the campaign to embrace that polarization—who against all odds and prognostications found a way to cross that deep divide and win the White House, who took the time from his presumably busy schedule to tweak his “enemies” with a “Happy New Year” message on Twitter—we must pause to reflect. It’s time to consider how the post-truth environment we live in might have created the extraordinary circumstances that set in motion one of the most extraordinary elections in our history—and to understand what we can do to restore reason and decency and calm to our national conversation.

I read a few of the low-ranking reviews on Amazon. One seemed to sum up the thoughts for me--it was boring...

Now I have to say right from the beginning, that, in my opinion, working to run a major body, to establish and follow guiding principles and do what needs to be done, is often...boring... Taking it a step further, I would say that, even more so, it should not be seen as entertainment or something that incites emotions to such an extent that what needs to be done does not get done...

Frankly, in my opinion, this is where we are...

When I say that, I mean the work of America, not the world... We have a nation that depends on the government to handle things in response to our paying taxes. We expect that money to be spent for our basic needs: food, a job with a living wage, adequate housing, care of our infrastructure (roads, facilities, etc.), public education with all major issues handled to ensure our children learn and advance, and health and basic needs met so that choices between food and medicine is not a factor in choosing how to spend limited income. These are unalienable rights... Only then should we move forward in world affairs. No matter what political party is in office, this has not happened at the national level. Yet there are claims that a great America has been achieved.

Did you know that Kasich was one of the two candidates left for running for President? Did you know that Don Trump Jr., though he has denied it, called Kasich to determine Kasich's interest in running for vice-president. During this, he outlined, more or less, that he would be doing what the President normally does... Kasich asked him what the President would be doing... Obviously to Kasich and to me, who has been in a similar situation, it was planned by Trump to have the VP do all the daily work while the President did...the showboating?? Trump later called Kasich and again asked him to consider the vice-presidency...

If I had not read this book, I would not have known this and much more that happened during the election. To many of us, the whole thing was a sham and did not in any way represent, in my mind, how an election should be held.

Kasich agreed. You see he had the experience in having worked to reduce the national debt while he was in Congress...and he also took over a state that had major financial issues, and again solved them. Note: I consider these true facts based upon the book...Few authors will choose to not tell the truth when they open on the concern...for...Truth... What did that tell me? Two Things:

1. Kasich was prepared through experience to handle the job and had survived in the process to be one of the last two.

2. Kasich had stood by his basic principles and morality through the entire process and chose not to fight against Trump's brand of destruction in inciting hate, bigotry as well as bully tactics toward any opposition. And, again, he stood by his principles when he refused to endorse Trump for a position he was not qualified for, in my opinion as well as many others.

Whether or not you believe he did the right thing, which, in my opinion, he did, does not discount what a man, who was qualified, as well as principled, was willing to do to win an election. He ran Town Halls for instance, that began to receive national attention through word-of-mouth. Apparently sufficient enough to maintain a high rank in polls. 
But many would have not known this, because his style was not exciting enough to have the news media follow him nationally...Yes, he and his staff tried to gain coverage, but he was not participating in the rampage of candidate against candidate that occurred within the republican party. He...was...too...boring...apparently.

It is difficult to write a review for this book which I would gladly recommend, without pointing out that, if the election had been handled differently, and the shenanigans had not, in essence, divided the country at that critical election time, Kasich would have been the candidate to run against Clinton.

This book speaks directly to the issue we are facing. Do you want America to be divided or united? Further, do you want a leader that has the experience, and outcomes needed from his work, to have been selected based on merit, rather than theatrics and playing to the fears of individuals, then the reason I recommend this book is because there was everything there in this book, that I needed to know about the candidate that had run for our president, who had bowed out because he wasn't willing to be part of the gamesmanship offered by the opponent. Personally, I think you owe it to yourself to think about how this individual (and other similar individuals) would have taken on the leadership role as president of America. No, it is not the choice of the greatest entertainer. Rather the choice of who could represent the country, more effectively, and handle the administration of the country more efficiently, through proven accomplishments in this important part of the job. Do you want America to be continued to be divided, in other words. Because John Kasich apparently has tried to show he doesn't work that way...

Your choice, what do you want for America. Kasich offers one path only. United. This, for me, is not about John Kasich. Rather, John Kasich has written a book that responds to my needs and hopes for America. As you consider the election coming up in the near future, as well as the next president election, I think this book will help you consider what it is you want in your candidates. Kasich's book has helped me clarify what I want and what to look for in all candidates, no matter to which political party they belong. Only you can decide whether a fresh look at the last presidential election can be of value to you. It was for me.


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