Taylor is a member of the Junior State of America (JSA), a student-run political awareness organization for high school students.
With Hurricane Issac whipping the Gulf coast on our nation's anniversary of the horror of Katrina, the Republican Convention in Tampa rocked on like a concert playing without notice of the fire alarm. As the music blasted seemingly without regret, the RNC chose to showcase their armada of governors and their respective assaults on their states. As if possessing no shame, governor after governor preached about how their states were getting better, people were feeling good, jobs were returning, and America was getting stronger. Summed up, they belted out, "our policies are working," no matter the reality.
Most suspect was the introduction of Ohio's governor, John Kasich, to the stage as "I gotta' feelin'" echoed into the hall and living rooms nationwide. Grinning from ear-to ear, the governor waved and partied along with everyone in the building throughout the night. The message was clear. Kasich, and the Republican Party, have got a good feeling about what they are doing to our country. His 10-minute speech reinforced the fantasy that the GOP has attained success with their incredibly wrong ideology.
The party and its policies are still burning, yet Kasich's rock star concert goes on. Back in Ohio however, the music has stopped playing.
The Buckeye State malaise sits in the forefront. Unemployment remains high statewide and continues to be outrageous in Kasich's often-forgotten Appalachian corner of the state. His office is under investigation by the FBI for bribery and record lottery profits meant to put books on students desks and hire teachers in the classroom was stolen by the governor and appeared in his boldly touted rainy day fund where it will sit and not provide Ohioans the education they deserve. Adding insult to injury, hydraulic fracking has begun to seep into our ground water and crime is still sky high.
All of this is without mention of the Governor's most grievous assault on families shortly after his inauguration. Attempted union busting, fired teachers and first responders, and universities and students cut to the bone.
Naturally, Kasich was hoping we had all forgotten his indecencies as he threw his fists into the air at the convention. His sweeping and audacious declarations of success with musical background completely contrast with the deafening silence in my neighborhood and Appalachian region of Ohio.
This silence with a backdrop of unemployment, pain, lack of healthcare, falling education rates, and indignation. Our cozy corner of the state works ever so hard, yet also quietly, waiting for Kasich to take responsibility and advocate for his people and instead of attacking them in the name of ideological conservatism.
Without a leader, our state and particularly my region lay under a ceiling of somber stillness as we watch the governor celebrate in Tampa. He celebrates the selling of our state parks to dangerous drilling companies and the massive firing of educators everywhere. On live television, Kasich's out-of-touch attitude and outright contempt for working people shines brightly.
But the fires continue to burn even as Issac floods the countryside and the state's future under Kasich is far messier than any Occupy camp. I cannot help but wonder what this year would be like for Ohio if there was a leader who could truly inspire hope to reach higher. Someone who did not celebrate such dramatic failure a thousand miles away from the land he was elected to govern.
Like all parties, however, this one will end and the governor will have to return to the place he is most unpopular: his home. No matter Kasich's speeches, Ohioans stung from his attacks still have dreams. Most families dream of a home and students dream of careers.
Personally, I dream of a better Ohio and one with a fighter at the helm -- someone who knows when to keep humble in failure and push ever forward in success. A visionary who does not forget about Appalachia while visiting the carnival in Florida. That day will come and the ceiling over the state holding back our hopes will shatter.
The Republican convention may give Romney and Kasich a small boost in the polls the next two weeks, but its legacy will be one of bold-faced lies and utter cluelessness.
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