Even though I'm 300 feet from the stage at this godawful rally, I can see clearly that John Kasich is very tired. As he sits around, waiting to receive a pittance of delegates, he runs his hand through his hair as if to say, “Is there nothing for me in this wasteland I call a life?” I want only to reach out to him, reassure him that his presence here means everything to me, and tell him the guy doing coat check reeks of weed.
I’m not John Kasich, and I won’t try to speak for him, but if I did try to speak for him, I’d say “Enough is enough, John, who is me.” I’d keep telling myself: “It’s time to get out of this pit, go home, pour myself a glass of milk, and let my eyes slowly glaze over until sleep takes me.” I’d listen to me if I were John Kasich, because John Kasich is a pretty smart guy, and someone I admire. I'd admire him even better if I weren’t standing behind drunk basketball players wearing cowboy hats.
On stage, John rises from his seat hesitantly. He reminds me of a bear coming out of hibernation after a long, harsh winter. The bear is exhausted from the effort of surviving. “Maybe it’s time I gave up,” thinks the bear. “Maybe I’ll never become the Republican presidential candidate,” which is a metaphor for catching salmon. The bear looks so sad, and stands at the opening of his cave, just taking in the gorgeous forest vista. But the bear’s eyes are unfocused- he cannot see the incredible dips of the wooded valleys, or how the sunlight pours onto them. He is remembering another forest, maybe. The bear sighs deeply and runs a paw through his head fur. I bet the bear’s feet aren’t stuck to the floor of his cave by a thick veneer of spilled beer and piss.
God, if you could see John Kasich drive. He does it rarely, since he has a driver probably. I’ve never seen John’s driving, and it is majestic. The slow unfolding of his elbows, wrinkles flattening out as he shifts into fifth gear. The bumps in the road jostle his Volvo, and he lets the asphalt guide his hands. Will he ever become something greater than Ohio’s youngest state senator? Maybe. If I were in the car, I’d put my hand on his shoulder, startling him out of his highway reverie. My concern written on my knitted brow, I'd ask, “Wanna grab a shake?” pointing at the McDonald’s sign going past. John would smile at me, and shake his head. He is clearly touched that I noticed he’s having a sad, pensive day hypothetically. He doesn’t point out that they call their shakes McFlurry’s. We’ve travelled together a long time, and the silence grows around us. When I think he’s not looking, I glance over at John, worried. I sympathize wordlessly with a man I look up to, but have never spoken with directly or indirectly. Only a few more hours and we’ll each be home. There has to be something I can say, but I can’t think of it, and I wouldn’t think of it in time if this had really happened. Definitely can't think of what to say with this baby screaming behind me. Who brings a baby to a rally?!
John looks across the crowd, not at me, but near me- kinda in my direction. On stage, he nods and smiles, then laughs at something an aide says. His eyes stay troubled. He wants to scream. In my heart of hearts I hear his scream and I scream back, “You’re just a man, John! You’re just a man with conservative politics and maybe twenty good years left! Don’t waste them trying to impress the bigots and bigwigs who run this shithole. Create a legacy you’re proud of and to hell with the history books.” With my heart I scream so loud, but with my mouth I’m eating this enormous hot dog. My hand is covered in melted cheese. It cost eight bucks.
Soon the nutrients of this cheese dog will become a small part of my respect for John Kasich. The other hot dog parts will become shit, like the people I’m surrounded by at this godforsaken rally.