The beer test

I actually clicked on a banner ad yesterday. The advertising intrigued me: “Which presidential candidate thinks like you do?” And that’s really it, that’s what it comes down to, isn’t it? Which one thinks like me? So, rewarding good copywriting, I clicked. There was a test, with a series of really stupid and very pointed questions. But I went through with it anyway. Who thinks like me? Apparently Dennis Kucinich, although he has a big diagonal ‘dropped out’ embossed across his face.

Being so far removed from stateside culture, I haven’t paid much attention to the election. Before I left, I was a Joe Biden supporter. He’s one of the few politicians who, when he speaks, actually says something. And he knows what’s happening in the world. But he was an impossibility, so I became an unenthusiastic Hilary Clinton supporter, which I guess is aligned with many democrats. We’re fairly romantic people, and let’s face it, we miss Bill. And on her own merits, she’s super smart and highly capable, and I think she’d be an outstanding decision maker. It would be great to have a female president, and I think it might lead to some global forgiveness of the ‘ol US of A. But there’s a quality about her that I can’t pin down.

Let’s put it this way: When the band Marillion was looking for a new drummer they hired an extremely talented fellow named Jonathan Mover. He only lasted a few months. The reason? The singer, Fish, said he couldn’t sit down and have a beer with him. As talented as he was, he couldn’t relate to the rest of the band. And this is why we have George W. Bush right now. America decided, twice, that they could sit down and have a beer with him. (Not me… and I didn’t want to have a beer with John Kerry either, so that factor was canceled out.)

It’s not really about beer, it’s about whether you feel a connection. If Hilary came over to my apartment and I asked a bunch of tough questions, I think she’d show every appearance of sincerity, but would choose her words carefully and not give me much to think about. I think Joe Biden would make me think, but he’s gone. So who’s left? Really, this is a longwinded way of saying that my choice for president is now Barack Obama. If he came to my front door, I’d be excited. I’d go get a 6-pack of Hite and we’d sit down and chat. And I feel that I’d come away from that conversation thinking about things differently, and maybe even get excited about the future.

It’s time the United States elected someone young and exciting. In terms of policy, he’s not that different from Clinton. But there’s something behind his words that feels right. And here’s the kicker… he’s a risk. I think it’s critically important to show the world that we’re not scared. And I don’t mean in that schoolyard, McCain/Giuliani/Clinton fisticuffs kind of way. I mean that we’re ready to throw aside this shield of aggro-paranoia and embrace new modes of thought and action. The word ‘experience’ to me now feels like rusty plate mail covering up a wounded old soldier who’s lost his way.

Of course, this gets into that dangerous realm of ‘personality.’ We don’t need a buddy. We learned that with Bush. We need an intelligent, world-wise leader. This is true. But I think the world is different now than it was even four years ago. I think, right now, we do need the right personality, but in a different way. We need someone the world can look to with curiosity and hope. We need Germany to be excited; we need England and Italy and Brazil to be excited. To me, if we elect Obama, we’ll see a new era of invigorated interest in looking far, far ahead to what we can all do to make things better.

Collapsible soapbox now folded up, and tucked neatly under armpit…

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One Response to “The beer test”

  1. Mine was Kucinich also. What a shock. No mention of Edwards, who is my preferred candidate.

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