Dear John Kasich,
We care -- start treating us like it.
The Future Generation
At a town hall event in New Boston, New Hampshire a few weeks ago, John Kasich looked down at me and two friends, sitting in the front row, and asked, "How old are you guys?"
"Twenty," I answered.
"Oh! They're growing 'em younger!" he laughed to the older crowd.
He then turned to my friend and asked her what she was studying in college.
"Political science," she responded.
"What are you going to do with that?" he quickly retorted.
Of the four John Kasich town halls I have attended I have listened to him make fun of political science majors for being unemployable several times. However, the problem is more than a college major--he is dissuading youth from being civically engaged. And I am not the only one who has noticed Kasich's condescending tone towards youth, what others have described as an "overbearing dad shtick".
In October at a town hall campaign event at the University of Richmond, an 18-year-old woman raised her hand to ask a question. As John Kasich looked at her, he said, "I don't have any tickets for, you know, Taylor Swift or anything."
In a single moment, not only did he chide the idea of youth being involved in politics, but demonstrated further surprise that the young questioner was a woman. However, I doubt Kasich, who nearly only appointed middle-age white men to his initial governor's cabinet, thought much about it.
As I explained in a previous post, youth are not apathetic. Rather, it is people like John Kasich who do not even give us a chance that perpetuate the stereotype. On the campaign trail Kasich is making fun of young voters, when instead he could be asking what issues they find most important.
A politician, of any level, should aim to get young people more involved in politics. Yet, here I was, watching my friend laughed at by a sitting governor, and presidential candidate, for studying political science. At age the age of eighteen John Kasich spent 20 minutes in the Oval Office with President Nixon, yet he seems to forget how much youth care when talking to them now.
To have a government of the people, by the people, and for the people then the people need to be engaged.
Elected officials are in the position to engage more youth directly in politics. Work to include them in civic initiatives or creating youth councils, which work to ensure direct communication and idea sharing between a politician and youth in their community.
Candidates, especially for the highest office in the country, each have the potential to inspire a generation to engage in politics. They should be holding more town halls and youth aimed at youth. Studies have shown that youth become more involved in politics during a major election year--candidates should take this opportunity to get young voters more involved in politics.
Yet there is still one thing confuses me about John Kasich's political science degree jokes. He graduated in 1974 from the Ohio State University... with a degree in political science.