If you dive past this headline and go back to the source material, you must acknowledge that there is some common sense in what Governor Kasich is saying. I’d tell my own daughter the same thing.
But there is shared culpability here. As a conservative, a person of faith, and the father of a son, I believe that a man has a singular responsibility to contain his urges, to understand that despite the behavior of one’s peers that it is not acceptable to take advantage of a woman, and that indeed he is obliged to take upon himself the responsibility to protect women from harm or offense. I believe that a man who does not do those things is not only no gentleman, he is a thug, aught better than an animal, and should be treated as such.
Naturally, women should minimize their vulnerability. But the preponderance of culpability lies with the aggressor, and as fathers, teachers, clergy, and society, we must start teaching our young men to behave like gentlemen or suffer the consequences.
This was not a “blame the victim” moment to the degree that Slate makes it out to be – Kasich did speak at length about the importance and value of campus policies to protect women, and channels for them to receive justice.
At the same time, I was deeply disappointed that he did not take that one additional step – to point out that while women are not excused from their need to exercise caution, men are never excused from their obligation to protect the vulnerable. He could have made the point that these tenets of personal responsibility – for ourselves and for each other – are fundamental parts of the American character too often ignored by the proponents of nanny statism, and by students of our universities. That would have been a home run.
But in failing to address the totality of the situation, he played into the hands of those who contend that the GOP is waging a war on women, and he made his hamstringing of Planned Parenthood look like the actions of an elected moralist rather than a leader for all Americans.
A disappointment. And another clue why he failed to capture the imagination of even those of us on the right who see ourselves as moderate. I’ll be thinking about Kasich’s failed campaign a lot today as my state goes to the polls.