This past Friday, on Real Time with Bill Maher, Bill interviewed Ohio Governor John Kasich. Bill and John had a good conversation, and John clearly distinguished himself from the rest of the Republican field. If you haven’t seen the interview, I strongly suggest checking it out. They don’t really discuss too much as far as policy and points but Kasich’s overall point of view.
Anyway, watching this interview got me thinking about Kasich’s presidential run in last year’s primary. In the Republican field, Kasich was by far my favorite candidate. I liked Kasich, because he seemed reasonable on a large variety of issues, and more importantly didn’t seem incompetent or crazy on any of the issues—even those that I disagreed with him on. For example, I am for the legalization of marijuana, and at the time Kasich was not (according the Real Time interview he has changed his stance but in a consistent and reasonable way) but he explained that he wanted to focus on substance abuse treatment and not jail or prison time.
Many people on the left, whom I had political discussions with agreed with me, and thought he was by far the best candidate, many disagreed, and thought there were absolutely no reasonable candidates. One of the big things that I saw popping up regularly was the fact that he was opposed to abortion. Now, I understand that this is a very big issue regardless of which side you stand on it, but if the candidate comes to a reasonable conclusion in nearly all scenarios (even those you don’t agree with) isn’t that better than the alternative?
I have also seen this same logic used against Justin Trudeau. Trudeau has received a ton of positive attention in the last year from being on the right side of so many issues, but then I see “He’s not the super-politician you think! He supports the Keystone XL Pipeline.” Again, I know this is another very important issue, but does his stance on this one issue make him tainted goods?
My fear is that people are waiting the ‘perfect’ candidate. Here’s the thing, that’s never going to happen. You should disagree with every single politician on Earth with at least one thing. If you agree with a politician on every single issue, one of two things is happening; either you’re being pandered too, or you’re being propagandized at. Neither is acceptable.
So what do we do when a politician like John Kasich or Justin Trudeau has what we consider a problematic stance on a major issue? Again, two things; tell them—voice your opinion! These politicians work for us, and if a politician seems reasonable and able to at the very least explain how they got from A-Z on a topic, they deserve the chance to evolve based on their constituents. The second thing to do, is block them. Not from getting anything done, but specifically the things you disagree with. Call politicians that are able to block bad legislation and tell them you want them to.
I’m not asking people to support bad candidates. I’m not asking for the ‘lesser of two evils,’ I don’t fault people who strongly disagree on a wide variety of issues, or if they lack confidence in a politician’s ability to use reason and logic. But ultimately we need to elect someone, and as I said before, we should all be disagreeing with everyone at least once in a while.
To those who were staunchly opposed to Kasich because ‘even he was a step too far’ wouldn’t you rather have had the race be between him and Hillary? Or him and Bernie?
We need to begin, to judge candidates on their entire body of work/thought/words, and not single issues. Think about it this way: take the most important issue to you, and imagine the two candidates from this last election switched places on that issue alone, would it have changed your vote? I would guess that on both sides the answer is going to usually be a big, fat no!