In accordance with the upcoming elections, the first speaker in the Open Visions Forum series at the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts was a political satirist. The speaker, P.J. O’Rourke, provided insights on the campaign and the various issues plaguing the nation.
He introduced himself to the audience as a “political satirist in a campaign that’s self-satirizing.”
O’Rourke is a conservative-libertarian who is the best-selling author of 16 books, including “Thrown Under the Omnibus.” He is a political journalist who writes for a weekly column at The Daily Beast called “Up to a Point.”
He discussed his own personal views on the election, endorsing Hillary Clinton as the “second worst thing that could happen to America.”
“I’ll vote for Hillary, but she’s wrong about everything. At least you know what you’re going to get with her.”
Sophomore Sabrina Musto agreed with O’Rourke’s sentiments about the presidential election.
“He honestly spoke my mind when he said we have to choose between the lesser of two evils. That’s honestly how I’ve felt for months,” she said.
O’Rourke discussed how Donald Trump has the power to ruin the Grand Old Party. He believes that Trump is a wild card and that there is no way of knowing what damage he is capable of if he steps into the oval office. He talked about how likeable and qualified Ohio Senator, John Kasich is, but according to O’Rourke, the “GOP isn’t in the mood for a competent and experienced Republican in office.”
Students responded to his humor positively. Sophomore Hayley Falls felt that she learned a lot from his presentation.
“I think the entertainment aspect actually helped me think about the deeper problems with our candidates,” Falls said.
“I thought that the talk was very informative due to the fact that politics weren’t discussed in a politically correct way. Personally, I believe that it’s a more dynamic experience when someone expresses their thoughts regarding politics and political candidates with both humor and emotion behind it,” said Kelsey Shockey ‘18.
O’Rourke discussed his own political journey and his own views from topics ranging from abortion to the nation’s fiscal issues.
As a student at Miami University in Ohio, he identified as a Communist in the wake of the Vietnam War. He soon realized Communism would never work when he entered the workforce and hopes that young Americans today realize the same.
“Americans wiped out Communism so kids today don’t know what it means and support candidates like Bernie Sanders, not knowing that it doesn’t work,” he said.
His political allegiances changed once he got his first paycheck and more than half of it was taxed. He explained that was the moment he realized he was a Republican.
He went on to describe his own views regarding the nation’s financial status. He stated that our country’s biggest problems are debt and deficit. He said that social security is no help and “is more like an I.O.U.”
He also believed that the way to solve the income inequality gap is to generate more income, regardless of whether that makes the gap smaller or larger. He said that the gap isn’t the problem; it’s the lack of income in the American economy.
He quoted the Bible to emphasize its conservative fiscal beliefs.
“Thou shall not covet thy neighbor’s goods … if you see something someone has that you want, stop whining about it and go get it for yourself.”
Although he is fiscally conservative, O’Rourke’s social beliefs were not that of a standard conservative. He talked about his views on abortion in relation to his two daughters.
“If one of my daughters gets pregnant, she decides what she can do with her baby and I decide what I get to do with the boyfriend,” he said.
He differentiated himself from other Republicans that we see in the media by discussing his belief that God shouldn’t be involved in politics.
“Just look at politics throughout history; does it look like God has ever been involved?”
Musto described how much she appreciated his fair-minded opinions.
“I think that he was partial to both sides of the spectrum regardless of his political affiliation. I feel that America is usually very polarized, so it was nice to hear someone who sounded open-minded about a lot of the important issues today. I liked that he said exactly what was on his mind,” Musto said.