Monday, September 1, 2008

You Don't Know Barack

I've written before about my frustration over the American public's need for a "relatable" president and their apparent disdain for candidates who present themselves with intelligence. This is an obstacle that Barack Obama still faces, even after the endearing and charming speech given by his wife last Monday and his own electrifying and inspiring speech Thursday. What also frustrates me is this notion of "humanization," that people aren't responding to Obama because they don't feel like they know him.

First of all, that's sort of insane. How much do we really need to know about a person to vote for him/her? I don't have this sort of pressing need to know what's on Obama's ipod or what count sheets he prefers sleeping on. I'd really just rather he lead. Is it interesting to know that his wife likes The Brady Bunch or he has Stevie Wonder on his ipod? Sure, but is that going to make a difference in voting for him? If it does, then I'M the one with the problem. Letting superficial matters like whether or not he drinks beer (an allegatation he had to defend last night on 60 Minutes) define your vote for candidate borders on the stupid in ways I can't even put into words.

When it comes down to it, here's all that should matter when selecting a candidate -- does this person hold the same beliefs and values I hold? Is this person going to do his/her best to defend those beliefs and values in office? If the answer to those questions is "yes," then, my friend, I think you've found your candidate. The rest is all useless trivia and noise.

The great thing about living in the 21st Century is that it's not hard to find the answer to those two questions (as well as being inundated with trivia and noise -- all I had to do was type "obama" and "ipod" into google and a bevy of articles popped up all promising to answer that apparently not-so-elusive question). Go online and spend maybe five minutes reading the candidates' websites or a variety of political blogs or news sites that can help you learn who these people are who want the opportunity to govern us. Don't let the media make your choice by telling you who's the better bowler. Use these resources we've learned to take for granted in such a short time and make the educated choice.

And if that doesn't do it for you, remember that Barack Obama has written TWO books which do a pretty decent job telling you who he is, where he came from, and what he stands for. John McCain has written three. Again, I laugh when the media complains about not knowing Barack Obama or his story, a complaint you never hear about McCain since he seems to buy into this "need to know" sham enough that he's made his story the center of his campaign, using his time spent as a POW as his calling card and go-to defense strategy whenever he's attacked. Clearly, though, the media has never cracked open either of Obama's books. Just reading a chapter or two of either book will tell you a lot about this man, and yet you never once hear those books mentioned when people complain about not knowing Obama's story. Our goal of becoming a nation of illiterates is moving along quite nicely, I see.

1 comment:

Danielle Mari said...

...wait... so who has the coolest music?

Kidding kidding!

Well said, Mel. Unfortunately, as a sound bite nation, we have (generally speaking of course) become remarkably lazy at seeking out knowledge beyond Google Search. We know expect to know by consumption as opposed to comprehension.

His books are great, by the way.