Monday, February 18, 2008

American Idol: The Campaign

I generally avoid writing about politics. It gives me indigestion.
But there is something happening in this year's presidential race that I find too interesting to pass up.
Primarily, it is the candidacy of Barack Obama, the junior senator from Illinois. He's on fire, as they say. And I'm at a complete loss to understand why his run for the White House has gone from a campaign to a cult.
Now, I'm not suggesting that all of the people who support Obama's candidacy are ill-informed political groupies. Just the ones I know fit that category.
For example, there is Monica, one of my co-workers. She's a sweet sincere young woman of 24. She is completely enamored with Obama, often wearing her Obama For President T-Shirt to work and gushing over his appearance in the Valley a few weeks ago. Monica attended the rally and got close enough to take a lot of photos; she took a photography class at Gilbert-Chandler Community College last semester, so the rally was a good opportunity for her to put her new-found photography skills to work. She routinely threatens to bring the photos to the coffee shop so that I can see them.
I envision it going this way:
Monica: "Here's a picture of Obama talking!''
Me: "Yes, I see.''
Monica: "And here's a picture of Obama shaking someone's hand!''
Me: "Fascinating.''
Monica: "And here's one of him waving!''
Me: "The man can flat-out wave, no question about it.''
Monica: "And here's a double-exposure I did where it looks like Obama is morphing into Janet Napalitano!''
Me: "My, just look at the time!''
Now, I'm not one of those cranky old people who want to crush the enthusiasm of today's youth. I think it's a good thing that young people participate in the politic process, if only for the reason that it gets them away from MySpace for a few hours. But if America's youth is going to participate, it would be nice if they had at least some interest in what's at stake, how the process works, the relevant issues. You would hope they would be savvy enough to look beyond the promises and ask "OK, how are you going to deliver?'' Here's a hint for you 18-to-35 folks: Candidates can't always do what they promise to do! Shocking, huh?
More and more, I get the feeling that this year's presidential race is more "American Idol'' than it is the serious business of selecting the next leader of the free world. (To vote for Hillary, text 1001!)
Last week, Monica asked me what a conservative was, bless her little Obama-obsessed heart.
Right now, it's anybody's guess as to who will emerge as the nominee of the Democratic Party.
If Obama really wants to wrap up the nomination, maybe he should choose Jordin Sparks as his running mate.
Saturday, as Monica was in her middle of another impromptu Ode to Obama, she stopped to ask me what I thought of Obama.
"I think he's a political neophyte, a light-weight populist who will be eaten alive in the hard-ball world of national government,'' I said.
Of course, I overstated the case. Truth is, there's no reason to suggest that Obama will be any less mediocre than any of the current candidates. But Monica doesn't assault me all day with her incessant talk of Obama, so I figure my response worked its intended magic.
By the way, this should not be viewed as an endorsement of Hillary Clinton, whose charm and personal charism remind me of Nurse Ratchet from "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest.''
But I will say about the only candidate on either side who has shown any interest whatsover is working "across the aisle'' is John McCain. Everyone else, Obama included, seems to guarantee four more years of gridlock, which is the last thing we can afford.
But really, I guess the question we should all be asking ourselves at this point is "How Would Simon Vote?''

1 comment:

Keith said...

I'm an Obama supporter man! Can I still be your friend? :-)