Congressman Kucinich Goes Beyond ‘Just Politics’



Li Yang/The Ram Kucinich appealed to students who enjoyed his firm and unorthodox stances on controversial issues, like the Iraq War.
Li Yang/The Ram Kucinich appealed to students who enjoyed his firm and unorthodox stances on controversial issues, like the Iraq War.

Former Democratic Congressman Dennis Kucinich came to the Rose Hill Campus on Monday, and he had some inspiring words for students.

“You see something you want to get involved in, don’t wait, and you don’t have to wait because you’re in your twenties or your late teens, go for it,” Kucinich said. “The magic is in you.”

Kucinich got off to an early start in his political career, running, unsuccessfully albeit, for election in the Cleveland City Council at the age of 21 while still enrolled at Cleveland State University. At the age of 23, however, he won a seat in the city council by a margin of 16 votes. He advised students interested in pursuing political careers to start by getting involved in small government before moving up the ladder.

“I started locally, and that prepared me to be involved nationally and globally because you learned the give and take,” he said. “People who come out of the box and start in Congress, that’s a tough thing to do because the chances for mistakes when you are on that high wire are really great, and when you fall from there, you don’t often recover.”

Kucinich went on to become mayor of Cleveland and then served as an Ohio Representative from 1997 to January of this year. The Cleveland native also ran in the Democratic Presidential Primary twice, in 2004 and 2008.

The Fordham University College Democrats invited Kucinich to come and speak as their annual keynote speaker.

Jack O’Rourke, FCRH’15, member of the College Democrats, said he felt motivated by Kucinich’s presentation.

“[Dennis Kucinich’s] whole message on how we can be the change that you want to see in the world is really appealing to me and other people,” O’Rourke said. “Not even just Democrats or Republicans, but just any young person looking to make a change.”

Kucinich touched on various hot bed political issues on Monday, including the Iraq War, the Federal Reserve’s role in the economy and the future for social security. As congressman, he voted against the Iraq War and, in 2008, he made efforts to impeach President George W. Bush for the invasion of the Gulf State.

Kucinich said he was against the war from the very beginning.

“I saw us moving towards a war that was based on lies,” he said. “I did my research like you guys would do for a term paper… I saw that Iraq had no involvement in 9/11 and there was no proof that Iraq was moving to attack the United States.”

O’Rourke said he was on the same page as the former Congressman.

“I agree with what [Dennis Kucinich] said, especially with what he said about the Iraq War being sold to us as a lie,” O’Rourke said. “Some people might think it is a terrible fringe position, but I liked what he had to say.”

Gordon Lynch, FCRH’15, member of the Fordham University College Democrats, said he liked that Kucinich was open, honest and passionate.

“He was very energetic very emphatic about his stances and he was kind of unorthodox about his points of view for a Democrat,” Lynch said. “He got really in-depth on the issues, and he took a side that is not usually taken.”

After the end of his term in January, Kucinich moved on to become a political analyst for FOX News. He is a regular contributor for programs such as “The O’Reilly Factor” and “Your World with Neal Cavuto.”

FOX News has been labeled by some as a conservative network, but Kucinich said he enjoys the job because he gets to offer his opinion on the issues.

“I’m in a position where I can talk about a different view as to what is the ‘perceived wisdom’ that comes out of FOX,” he said. “I’m a person in national politics, if you can’t go up against some of the best conservative right wingers, you don’t deserve to be in the business.”

The Fordham University College Democrats hold meetings in Dealy Hall every Monday.