Monday, August 18, 2014

Governor Kasich, Jim Tressel, and bigotry of the mentally ill!

     There is an old saying, “show me who you are with, and I will tell you who you are!”
     It was recently announced that Governor John Kasich, a man who claims to be one who cares about the mentally ill, will share a stage with disgraced former football coach Jim Tressel, as he is installed as president of Youngstown State University. This is another example of the wealthy ethically failing upwards and being rewarded handsomely for acting as if the rules do not apply. Mr. Kasich’s appearance appears to endorse Tressel’s past lack of moral standard, and his personal contempt of the mentally ill.
     Years ago, not long after Ohio State won the National championship, the first of numerous scandals involving Tressel at that school occurred. This consisted of possible academic fraud by several players, including the star, running back Maurice Clarret.
     During a class, a young teaching assistant, Norma McGil, witnessed what she felt was preferential treatment of those players. She took this information to her superiors, who turned around and began to incite a modern day lynching of this girl. Since she did suffer from depression, it became open season on her from not only the ones on campus, but all of buckeye nation. Her suffering with a socially unacceptable disease made her an easy target, especially by the cowards in the school administration.
     While the campus erupted with derogatory description’s attacking this women’s struggle with mental illness, statements such as crazy black bitch and referring to her as a mental freak were the norm. During this episode, Tressel stood in a silence, hoping that Clarret could play again. He never did!
      The teaching assistant, after facing false and slanderous accusations, along with the many dehumanizing and ignorant characterizations, finally surrendered and left the school. Though Ohio State has since reached out to both Tressel and, once he served his time for a felony, Clarret, no evidence exists that they done the same for that teaching assistant. Efforts to get answer as to why from the schools media relations department have been met with silence.
     However, to his credit, though Tressel stood in silence while this girl was being tarred and feathered, he did it with a valid driver’s license which made that behavior acceptable in the eyes of the Kasich followers. To them, it appears that was more important than the safety and well-being of a student.
     Many of Tressel’s apologists immediately run to his defense when he is being held accountable. In a previous column, one women attacked my premise that he knew anything about what this girl endured or even reported. To answer, first, he was questioned by the NCAA about her allegations and he stood by his assertion that Clarret was an exemplary student athlete. Lastly, his ignorance to what happened to her is about as likely as the late Penn State football coach Joe Paterno’s claims that he knew nothing of the years of child molestation by his assistant coach, Jerry Sandusky. It is just beyond the realm of believability.
     Another defender of Tressel’s attacked me for comparing his ethical lapses with those of Former President Richard Nixon. I was told that it was despicable for a comparison such as that and I owe him an apology. To that I agree, that was a disgusting analogy. Soon, I will be sending that deserved apology to the Nixon family.
     In a conversation with Governor’s office, they insisted that this appearance was not about Jim Tressel, it was about Youngstown State. The spokeswomen insisted this was about a new President being installed.  I asked that if a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan was being installed as President of an Ohio College if Mr. Kasich would give the same response. I was told they would not be dealing with hypotheticals.
     Next his spokesperson delved into how Governor Kasich was a real friend of the mentally ill. Often, they point to his support of the expansion of the Medicaid program. His offices theatrics aside, his pillar was not about assisting those in need, but about saving money. This expansion was paid for by the Federal Government and this freed up state tax revenue. This can best be termed a shallow accomplishment and would have never occurred without federal intervention and a financial benefit to his backers.
.    Mr. Kasich did have the opportunity to step up and truly put the mentally ill first as he has proclaimed in the past. However, he failed miserably and to use a football metaphor, he punted the problem into oblivion.
.    In 2011, shortly after taking office, he killed the plans to build a new public mental health facility in Cleveland. This would have served the state’s largest group of homeless mentally ill, but the governor decided they could go to Summit County for help. What was ignored is that many of these family members live below the poverty level which makes travel nearly impossible. To this day, Cuyahoga County, with the states greatest need for public Health beds, has none to offer. That is inexcusable and is a major blemish on Governor Kasich’s record!  
     Now that he is safely ahead in the polls, Governor Kasich will sip champagne and feast on a taxpayer funded meal with the new President of Youngstown State University. He will gleefully make this trip to garner support for his re-election campaign, and find plenty of time to mingle with his financial backers, while taxpayers foot the bill.
     One group that Kasich did not have time for, were the families of the poor in Cleveland who desperately needed that facility to provide treatment to their severely mentally ill loved ones. He did not have the time to explain his motivation for his belief that they had no real value. He refused overtures to explain this poor decision that he made involving those that are most vulnerable. They did not have champagne to offer him, nor an expensive meal, all they could do was try to convince him that the mentally ill are human beings, ones that developed an illness and need treatment. However, he did not have the time.
     It has been said that describing the actions of these individuals as bigotry is being overly harsh and misguided. My answer is what do you call the persecution of a mentally ill girl who was doing her job and then was terrorized by the backers of the school’s football team, harmless hazing? When a Governor refuses to fund a much needed treatment facility that could save lives, do you compare him to Mother Teresa? In both cases, no, they should not be glossed over, they are what they are, hateful and filled with an abundance of discrimination.
     Jim Tressel has made it well known that he looks forward to being part of academia and assisting the students. If his actions during that past scandal is any indication of what he plans, it has the potential for a tragic outcome. That Governor Kasich, would not be something one would want on their campaign literature. Or is it?

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