Government & Politics | November 1, 2004
E-Mail to Democratic Activists &
Posting in "Comments
From Left Field"
Key to the Presidency?" (I should be charging for this
I D E N T I T Y
If voters choose a President as Commander in Chief, they'll
probably pick Bush, ahead on "security" issues.
If voters choose a President as Chief Executive, they'll
probably pick Kerry, ahead on "bread and butter"
BUT if the voters choose as President as Head of State -- which
is what I assert they typically do -- then they'll pick the
candidate with whom the most of them best IDENTIFY.
The guy sitting at home wants to see himself in the
representative of the country, our "face to the
world": He wants to say to himself, "That's how I'D be
if I were President."
And what about the gals at home? And the blacks? And the gays?
Well, unfortunately, the very fact that we've had only straight
white men as President only serves to reinforce my premise,
given that straight white men have held and continue to wield
most of the power in this country. In that context, it's not so
much that every voter identifies himself or herself with the
President but identifies the President, as an individual, with
his or her -- our collective -- notion of a President.
Significantly, John Kerry got back into this race when he won
the first debate, by looking -- as everyone said --
Washington, Lincoln, FDR, JFK, Reagan, Clinton -- each
symbolized our nation -- personified our people -- at a
particular point in our history, for better or worse.
The bugaboo, of course, is that at this exact moment in our
history, with our nation's Presidential preference split right
down the middle, our nation has a split personality (It reminds
me of the two-headed monster I saw in a Halloween display).
But one way or another, one personality will become dominant.
Simple. We, of course, cannot afford to let up one moment on all
the foreign and domestic policy stuff; but in the end,
particularly with the race this close, the voters will probably
vote the man.
If Senator Kerry wants to become President Kerry, I think all he
needs to do is be John Kerry.
The same guy who looked so happy the other day sporting the
baseball cap of his hometown team after it had finally won the
World Series after all those years. You know, the kind of guy
with whom the guy (or gal) at home can and will readily identify
(No, I'm not suggesting he put the cap back on; it was a
wonderful, spontaneous moment...as spontaneous as these things
can be in a campaign).
Honesty, authenticity, sincerity (in the candidate and in each
of [his] supporters). Those are the qualities that should
ultimately carry the day, that should ultimately carry Kerry
into the White House. As well they should.
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