bartlet for america

so when exactly was it determined that we want ordinary people in the white house?

it was dad-gum embarrassing to hear clips of sarah palin’s “goshdarnit this” and “doggonit that” during the american veep debate last week. do her handlers truly think america wants/needs elly-may clampett a heartbeat away from the oval office? the whole point of electing leaders is that they have demonstrated AN ABILITY TO LEAD. i do not want a “regular” “average” “ordinary” “joe sixpack” or “joe lunchbucket” anywhere near the white house, or as PM of canada for that matter.

forgive me, but i want important political decisions that are going to affect my future — and the future of this seriously troubled planet — to be made by intelligent, articulate, well-educated people with an understanding of foreign affairs, economics, climate change and social issues; people who get that freedom of religion includes freedom FROM religion. i would be really impressed if the candidates knew MORE about all of these issues than i do. yet, strangely, intelligence in a candidate has somewhere along the way become a negative thing. intellectual = elitist = too hoity-toity for The Average Voter to understand or appreciate. in canada, some people seem to think that wearing a sweater makes you look more like a warm-and-fuzzy “ordinary” citizen and therefore deserving of a majority government. i have nothing against sweaters, in fact i own quite a few of them, but if i ever run for office i sincerely hope that people don’t vote for me merely because i shop at eddie bauer.

i recently heard somebody theorizing that american voters liked george w. bush because they felt he was someone they could sit down and have a beer with. that “ordinary joe” thing. i don’t know how true that is — but it did seem to work for ralph klein here in severely normal alberta. up in good ol’ snow white alaska, just this side of russia, ms. palin — she of all those doggone main-street yankee values like moose-hunting, book-banning and revenge-firing — seems to genuinely believe that she’s qualified for the vice-presidency of the united states of america because, gee whiz, she is able to find a soccer field with an SUV! and there are people who applaud her for this.

sorry, but i don’t think being a soccer mom or a hockey dad demonstrates that you are qualified for anything except maybe capable doing a lot of laundry and treating a dozen rug rats to an occasional post-tournament pizza.

and should you really cast your vote for someone on the basis of how much of a “regular joe” they are; regular as in they are fun to have a drink with because they drink coors and not cab sav? i know a lot of people who are really fun to drink with, but i wouldn’t want any of them near the red phone when the planet is invaded by aliens; or having the power to decide whether i should be allowed to have an abortion or marry a same-sex partner. why? because they’re ordinary. and being the leader of a nation and making those kinds of decisions is not ordinary work. it takes brains, and integrity, and a sense of fairness, and justice, and tolerance, and enthusiasm and a special kind of energy and vision and passion and compassion … and that is why most of us are not qualified to do it. most of us, thankfully, recognize this, and that is why we are so glad and grateful when that rare someone comes along who IS qualified to do it.

one of the recurring side themes on the now-defunct West Wing television show involved the fear that u.s. president jed bartlet was “too smart,” and the concern (from within his own party) that his intelligence might be held against him on election day — people don’t want a smarty-pants in the white house, after all.

frankly, i’ll take a smarty-pants over an “ordinary joe” any day.

it is not unreasonable to expect some measure of the extraordinary, of the exceptional, from the people who want to lead your country into the future. from the people who are asking for your vote.

your plain, old, ordinary vote.

remember this on october 14.
spare us the ordinary.
vote smart.

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