Posted on February 11, 2016
“We are all connected.”
Said John Kasich in the single most inspirational and evangelical political speech of the year.
The former Catholic altar boy turned Anglican has been the most faithful of Christian enthusiasts in the GOP primary race.
He is the one who is taking the most heat for being such a faithful Christian, not from the left but from the right.
He expanded Medicaid in his state for one stated purpose: He wanted to help the poor.
That effort to help the poor is supposed to hurt him in the Bible Belt, which might seem to be ironic on its face, but of course it is not. If there was ever a region of the country where the poor have been more ignored, more vilified and more stuck in place, it is there.
“We are all connected”, says John Kasich.
“Do to others what you want them to do to you,” Matthew quotes Jesus.
I've long grown fascinated in the practicality of the Christian message. Love each other. You are your Brother’s Keeper. The Golden Rule.
It's not just spiritually sound advice. It's good advice for building better, more successful world.
We are globally connected. American can’t retreat behind huge walls and massive oceans.
What happens in China matters to America. When Syria melts down, we face the ramifications. When we cut a deal with Arab dictators to buy their oil and they pay off their religious extremists so they can keep the lion’s share of the money, we get the terrorists on our shores. We allow a fat dictator to run wild in North Korea and pretty soon we have missiles flying over Japan.
We can’t solve every global problem, but if we have a better understanding that we are all connected, we can work to find consensus and be a force to solve those problems.
We are all connected at home.
We have a homeless problem in Washington D.C. There are thousands of young African American men who have no place to live. And we wonder why there is crime on our streets.
This is not just an economic issue.
We are facing a spiritual crisis in so many different pockets of our country.
Middle-age white Americans are dying of despair. Alcohol addiction, suicide, high blood pressure, stress. The numbers are staggering.
Hispanic Americans are in crisis. 12 million recent immigrants live in the shadows, exploited by greedy employers, terrified of being deported, afraid of the police.
Many Americans want them immediately deported, but what would happen to our economy if that happened?
We are all connected.
And what is required is not just competence or conservatism or capitalism, but also moral leadership that looks at the status quo and decides that something needs to change.
We know that socialism is not the answer. We know that because socialism leads to bigger government which leads to slower economic growth, which means that more people will be out of work.
We also know that the politics of envy and of class warfare makes us not more connected, but less connected.
The American people have a healthy distrust of big government and they should.
Only John Kasich offers a vision that preaches the truth that we are all connected while offering practical solutions about how to grow the economy and limit the power of the government over our daily lives.
Kasich has been the prince of light in a sea of darkness.
Jeb Bush promised to offer a positive campaign, but he hasn’t as of yet defined what that means. “Jeb Can Fix It” is not a message.
Marco Rubio is a dynamic, if young, political star. He is trying to touch all parts of the party, trying to be strategically ambiguous, not exactly the establishment and not exactly the Tea Party. His message, though, has been more than a bit gloomy. If America doesn’t elect him, he argues, we are all doomed.
I don’t think anybody outside of Team Marco believes that.
Ted Cruz is the Darth Vader of the GOP field. His father believes that Rafael Edward is God’s gift to the American public and that he is destined to be President. Ted doesn’t preach love and togetherness. He preaches from the hard right and that only he can save America from the Washington establishment.
And of course, there is Donald Trump. If ever there was a candidate who less exemplified Christian values, it’s the blustery billionaire. He is all about greed, opulence, self-gratification and self-absorption. He should be an affront to all Christians, but of course, he intrigues instead.
The pundits look at John Kasich and they see Jon Huntsman.
But the two governors couldn’t be more different. Huntsman was a wealthy Mormon who worked for Barack Obama and who spent the majority of his time talking about why the Republican base was crazy.
Kasich didn’t come from wealth. He is a mainline Protestant. And he talks not about why the Republican base is wrong, but why the political process is fundamentally broken and why America needs a leader who can lift up the poor, protect the weak, grow the economy and expand the middle class.
In his speech Tuesday night, Kasich talked about what he learned in New Hampshire as a candidate and as a human being. And he told us all that we had to slow down and enjoy life more.
Coming from the ever-energized Ohio governor, it might have come off as a bit hypocritical. After all, if there is one person who never slows down, it’s John Kasich.
But it didn’t come off that way. Instead it came as heartfelt advice from a man who wants Americans to take better care of themselves and to feel more connected to their families, to their friends, to their communities and to themselves.