Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Buddy President

National Review is a “conservative commentary on American politics, news and culture,” and I make the journey to the right from my center soapbox about twice a week to read about what stereotypical conservatives have to say about what's going on in the good ole US of A.
Two days ago I happened upon an article by Rich Lowry on how Obama is tricking young voters entitled “Obama's Dupes.”
Expecting to hear about another Bachmann-esque conspiracy rant and rave, I skimmed through the first few sentences.
Skimming turned to reading and I finished up the one page article feeling inspired.
Inspired and pissed off.

Now, I have no problem with a conservative having a point - I would be just as inspired and pissed off if it was a leftist that brought this up again.
I have a problem with the fact that his point is even an issue.
In short, he makes the argument that young voters flocked to Obama in '08 because of his promise of hope and change. Fine - they were duped just like any other constituent who honestly believes anything a potential President (or in office one for that matter) has to say. 
But the unsettling argument continues on to point out that it'll just happen again - why? Well, because Obama has that "cool and cerebral style," because of the "slow jam" on the Fallon show, because he's like their buddy.
Their buddy?!?!
I can remember the first time I heard about this - when Bush was first elected. In interviews, people said they voted for him because he seemed like a good guy, someone you'd want to grab a beer with. 

Why the fuck would you want the President to be someone you'd grab a beer with?
Wouldn't you rather he skip the beer and spend some time...oh I dunno...running the god damn country?!
While Lowry's post focused on young liberals, this phenomenon is not cloistered in the leftist lair. It's a widespread factor in deciding who to vote for. 
And this kind of thinking points to something that I have long wrestled with: the cultural politics of my generation. 
In other words, my generation (I'm 25) does a damn good job of avoiding politics. And when we do encounter it, we treat it like a Facebook event - something we can ignore or pay attention to based on who's gonna be there, how much fun we think we'll have and whether it happens at the same time as Glee or not. 
Well shit people, it's not a frat party. 
Politics happen whether you RSVP or not - the only thing is that if you don't show up, or possibly even worse, if you show up with a punch bowl blend of ignorance and arrogance, the downfall of our future economically, socially, politically, globally and yes, culturally, will catch up with you quicker than that 5th gin and tonic.

Politics can be culturally stimulating - but we as a culture, our generation, has to make it so. And that does not include having a beer with the President. The President should be chosen based on his ability to work for you, for the issues that effect you and will effect you. 
But since most people my age don't know what those are, we fall back on how likable a guy is. 

Make politics part of your cultural existence - educate yourself on the things going on around you outside of fashion, fucking and Facebook. 
Create culture that mirrors politics and you'll see that through the creation of a culture that is tied to politics, the political trajectory can be moved. 
We can't change politics through a few non profits and a few rallies. We have to change it through the cultural lens we use to see it. 
Only then will we honestly appreciate the realities of our nation's issues. 

So, put down the Bud Light and get to know Obama as a President, not as a buddy. 
And get to know the system he's a part of. 
Pretty sure once you do, you won't want to have a beer with any candidate.

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