Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Have a beer with the President?

I never understood the "if you wanna have a beer with him, vote for him" standard of presidential election. I don't want a president who is my peer. If I have to choose between liking and respecting, I'd rather respect.

As you might imagine, it has been a long time since I respected my president, prone as we have been to electing The Guy Next Door. I've met the guy next door. I don't want him as president.

Obama is bearing up well under a constant campaign to "other" him. Fearful people from various threads of the tattered political flag are working hard to make him a noncitizen, a socialist, a communist, a czar/tyrant who will abolish free election, a turncoat dove, the antichrist. While this is all ludicrous -- all of it -- and much of it racist, and some of it anti-intellectual (can anyone say "Palin"? No, not Michael, though he would be a lot easier to stomach.), here's the bottom line for me: though I want us to agree on the Big Things (like the belief that the real purpose of government is caring for the least among us), I don't want my president to be my mirror image. I've seen myself in the mirror, and I wouldn't want me as president.

So, I want my president to be "other" than me in some really critical ways. I want a president who is way smarter, more well-informed, more even-keeled, more thoughtful, and quicker than I am. I want my president to be more humble than I am. And, when we disagree, I want my president and his advisors to have enough spine to not label me unpatriotic/unamerican/unreal, even if I stoop to name-calling myself.

I don't always agree with President Obama, and Jesus is still my commander in chief. But finally, I have a nonfictional president* I respect.

May God bless and keep him and his.

*Hey, Josiah Bartlet was my president for a long time. I just wish he existed outside Aaron Sorkin's head.

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