Ohio Gov. John Kasich wants Americans to spend 10 minutes every day reading or studying something they don’t agree with.
Speaking on WBEZ’s Morning Shift, Kasich said Americans consume too much information that reaffirms what they suspect to be the truth. He said he never realized just how polarized the nation has become until he ran for president in the Republican primary last year.
“This is Illinois, right?” Kasich asked host Jenn White. “They can’t even pass a budget in this state because there’s so much disunity.”
In his new book, Two Paths, Kasich looks at how polarized U.S. politics and culture has become and offers his own solutions to how the country can ultimately return to a sense of hopefulness that he sees as a defining American characteristic.
Here are some interview highlights.
On divisions in the U.S.
Jenn White: When you write about what you see as a divided America, is this a perception you had before you entered the race for president?
Gov. John Kasich: I never saw it at this level. As you know, we have families who fight with one another. I read a story the other day of a woman who moved her wedding out of American because she didn’t want to invite the relatives so they wouldn’t get in fights. I mean, we have fathers who can’t talk to sons. Mothers who don’t talk to daughters. It’s really crazy. Right?
I’ve never seen anything like this, and it’s over things that are really not even directly affecting them. But somehow we’ve given up bowling and taken up politics and we ought to take up more bowling again.
Kasich: They’re lost. If we’re waiting for politicians to help restore unity, I don’t believe it’s going to happen. I think the answers lay in us finding common humanity to solve problems that we all know are serious.
White: You say that the policymakers are lost. That’s kind of a stunning statement coming from someone who is governor of a state.
Kasich: Look, we have multiple problems. We have gerrymandering where people get in safe districts. We have people who consume the news they agree with and so they put pressure on politicians to do what they want. You see, it’s everything and it has to be untangled.
Look at United Airlines. When that incident occurred, the people who fly on airplanes demanded a change. That’s what we have to do as the public. We have to demand the change to all the leaders in our country who have taken us in directions that we’re not happy with.
And that includes politicians. It includes business leaders. It includes sports owners. It includes people in religion who are out there instead of doing their job and are endorsing candidates and claiming the limelight.
This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity. Click the ‘play’ button to listen to the entire interview.