John Kasich is not the saving grace of the GOP, and Warren J Blumenfeld tells us why.
Who some political pundits call the most moderate of the current crop of GOP presidential candidates, Governor John Kasich of Ohio appears the least bent on calling others in the race demeaning names or impugning their characters. From what I could tell initially, he might have been someone I could have sat down with and amicably discussed politics over a cup of coffee in a local diner. But the more I listen to him and actually try to comprehend what he is saying, the more anachronistic and downright ignorant I find his statements.
I see Kasich as the incarnation of the legendary literary character, Rip Van Winkel, who fell asleep for 20 years after drinking homemade moonshine. The only difference with Kasich is that rather than slumbering through the U.S.-American Revolutionary War against the British, as did Van Winkel, Kasich snoozed through the second half of the last century, and, unfortunately, he hasn’t yet quite regained his full faculties and senses.
“CoEds” and Sexual Assault:
While campaigning in the New York State primary, a female student audience member asked Kasich what he would do to make her “feel safer and more secure regarding sexual violence, harassment, and rape” if he became President.
He started out fine by arguing for the need of confidential reporting of sexual assaults and access to evidence-gathering equipment. Then he stuck his foot into it by referring to female students as “coeds,” and then continuing:
“I’d also give you one bit of advice. Don’t go to parties where there’s a lot of alcohol.”
While most people should not attend “parties where there’s a lot of alcohol” for a number of reasons, to single out young women specifically, the governor patronized them at best. Quite a few prominent women’s groups and other advocates rounded criticized the Governor for his “blame the victim” rhetoric.
And his use of the term “coeds” to refer to female students at predominately coeducational institutions is as outdated and misogynistic as the terms “man” and “mankind” to refer to all people and humanity. Actually, everyone would be considered a “coed” where people of all sexes were in contact.
Earlier while campaigning in Virginia, Kasich talked about the people who worked for him in his Ohio race for the governor’s office, and he later issued an apology after stating that “…many women, who left their kitchens to go out and go door-to-door and to put yard signs up for me….”
I can imagine the scene going through Kasich’s mind as he uttered those words. Upon the black-and-white small-screen television, Ward Cleaver comes home from work driving his 1957 Ford into the driveway. Upon opening the front door, Ward beholds his wife, June, bedecked in pearls, sensible heals, and a stylish dress of the day as she happily vacuums the living room wall-to-wall carpet. Beaver and his brother Wally are upstairs in Wally’s room hashing out plans to avoid their father’s guilt-laden disappointment after they contributed to the “boyish” mischief they engaged in within their all-white suburban cookie-cutter neighborhood.
Jesus Pre-Dated Unleavened Bread, Really?:
While also campaigning through New York, Kasich toured a Matzah factory in Brooklyn, flanked by Orthodox Jews. Holding a box of the Passover matzah, Kasich choked on his foot by stating:
“The great link between the blood that was put above the lampposts,” [actually, it was doorposts], “the blood of the lamb, because Jesus Christ is known as the lamb of God. It’s his blood, we believe….”
I consider Kasich bringing up Jesus in a kosher Jewish factory as not merely an error in misreading his intended audience as well as something utterly insensitive and offensive, but historically inaccurate. The Great Pesach (Passover) of the Jewish people from the bonds of slavery in Egypt occurred around the year 2450 on the Jewish calendar, over 1300 years before Jesus was even a twinkle in the Christian God’s eye. In fact, Jesus celebrated the Passover Seder as his “last supper.” The blood painted above the doorposts to spare children from G*d’s wrath had no connection to Jesus.
Hey, LGBTs, “Get Over It”:
When interviewed about his perspective on the recent spate of anti-LGBT laws passing across the nation in states like North Carolina, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kasich told LGBT people basically to chill:
“If you feel as though somebody is doing something wrong against you, can you just, for a second, get over it, you know, because this thing will settle down.”
For anyone who faces discrimination, Kasich’s solution is simple: snap your fingers and relax. So whenever a trans* person is confronted with legal action for entering a restroom that most closely corresponds with their gender identity, for example, simply push open the restroom door of the facility that matches, instead, the gender assigned on your birth certificate, reenter the closet of denial and fear, and risk ridicule, harassment, assault, injury, or death. So simple!
Hard Working Latina Maids:
To his increasingly growing list of groups Kasich has offended, add Latino/a people. During a campaign stop in California, Kasich attempted to gear his comments toward Latino/a voters when he related an anecdote about a maid who conscientiously cleaned his hotel room:
“A lot of them do jobs that they’re willing to do, and that’s why in the hotel you leave a little tip.”
While possibly well intentioned, forwarding this one personal reference of Latino/a people carries his story into the domain of being patronizing and of stereotyping members of many varied ethnicities. But, hey, like Ward Cleaver, this could possibly be the virtual extent of his interaction with members of communities outside of his own sphere of frequent contact.
Instead of opening his mouth further, I have a simple solution for Kasich: I think it best if you close your eyes and go back to sleep. We will wake you after the election.
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