John Kasich,
Stand for Something:
The Battle for America's Soul

(Time Warner, 2006)

John Kasich, a former congressman from Ohio, made it to the New York Times bestseller list with his book Courage is Contagious. This review is for the audio version of his recent book Stand for Something: The Battle for America's Soul, which Kasich not only wrote, but narrates as well.

For those unfamiliar with Kasich, he is a Republican who vied for his party's presidential nomination in 2000. Kasich has his own show on Fox News and sometimes fills in for Bill O'Reilly on The O'Reilly Factor. In case you haven't figured it out, he is rather conservative. Kasich has very strong convictions and feels it is his duty -- as it is everyone's duty -- to stand for what he believes in.

In Stand, Kasich hits common hot spots of activism: politics, education, integrity in business and sports, personal responsibility, religion, music, movies, etc. His main theme is that if you believe in something, you have the obligation to stand up for that belief. Morality in America, Kasich maintains, is on the decline, and it is up to each individual to stop the slide.

On the one hand, Kasich will state he does not care what your opinions are as long as you support your convictions. He gives examples of the respect he has for certain Democratic congressmen who hold opposing views but do not toe the party line just because they are told to do so. But then Kasich turns around and blasts other folks who take a different stand than his. It comes across, for example, that people who are pro-choice or are not Christian are simply wrong and are part of the cause of the country's moral decline. Are these people not simply standing for something, like their own beliefs?

Kasich fails to acknowledge that a society's moral values do change over time. Look at the USA over the last century. In the 1920s and '30s, one could argue a loosening of moral values, while the '40s and '50s were much more conservative in nature. Again in the '60s and '70s, these values shifted to the left. There was more balance in the last two decades of the century. In short, ebb and flow of society's moral compass is normal.

In short, there is nothing new in this audiobook. We have all heard these sentiments stated before. Kasich is simply a cheerleader attempting to rally enthusiasm over the apathy he sees in the people of this country. He makes his points in what should be thought of as a short audiobook. However, I feel this three-disc audiobook is about two CDs too long. His points can be made in less than an hour. This audiobook would be better if it was shortened in to a commencement speech given at a college graduation ceremony.

by Wil Owen
4 November 2006

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