"Is This Thing On?"
Somewhere in America, at this very moment, there are two men sitting in a barbershop telling one another 'I told you so.'
The news stations have made a big deal about Hillary Clinton's five-second 'pregnant pause' where she appears to get choked up at a press conference somewhere between Iowa and New Hampshire while talking about the bumps in the campaign trail.
There are more than likely as many small-minded buffoons in this world that think that she is ill-equipped to be president based on the fact that she is a woman as there are people who are surprised that she showed any sort of emotion at all while the camera was running.
It would be a safe bet to think that there are still some men in this world that think there would be no bigger abomination to our country's huffed up view of itself than to have a female, who could cry at any moment, sitting in the Oval Office.
It's sad that there are people that will know nothing of Clinton's policies and will refuse to vote for her just because she can't write her own name in the snow, or vote for another certain candidate who has a non-American name and has never checked the 'Caucasian' box on job applications.
This however, does not mean that I support Hillary because quite frankly, I don't. (Not that it's any of your business, but I don't want readers to think this is one of those one-sided rants that you read in the letters to the editor, so there's the disclaimer.) If there are two sides of every story, there are at the very least two versions of every comment.
First off, you get the one that is obviously said into the microphones for all the world to hear, and then there are the ones that aren't said at all, or with the microphone covered up with the other hand. It's like we publicly try to be diplomatic with each other, but then sling mud as soon as our opponents leave the room.
That doesn't necessarily stop at the political pathways or for the people in the public eye who consistently get microphones stuffed in front of their faces. I'm also talking about the everyday 'joe blow' whose opinions are spat out into the public realm or even cyberspace in the form of a personal blog.
We talk trash like nobody's business, but oftentimes the trash that comes out of our mouths we intend it to never be anyone's business.
Case in point the hypothetical gents sitting in the barbershop. I'm sure that the things that they say to each other about their feelings on subjects would be far more apropos or p.c. if they had a microphone stuffed in front of their faces.
Which I guess raises the question: are we really getting a person's straight feelings on a certain situation or topic when they are in the public eye. It's like that question that Michel Foucault raised when speaking of reality television. 'Is it still a true form of reality when people know that they are being taped?'
There are people that get paid to write speeches for politicians and there are people that get paid to help the politicians' image if it needs a minor tweaking or major overhaul. So in the case of stone-cold Hillary, it has been argued by a few reporters, that some folks in her political camp actually encouraged her to show a sensitive and softer side to gain acceptance amongst female voters. So if that is true, is what we see on television concerning these candidates ever true or is it a contrived ploy at good P.R?
Perhaps that's the problem with this whole process: Nobody is truly believable and we are quick to write someone off at the first negative. When I was a sports journalist and would interview pro athletes after the games in the locker room, there would be hordes of salivating reporters that would be quick to call out a player if they blew the game or had a general lack of effort. It was quite ruthless and these guys were always on the spot and usually facing the press in nothing more than a bath towel.
Politicians on the other hand, often get their questions pre-approved and dance around the questions at hand like they are Al Pacino doing the tango in 'Scent of a Woman.' Why don't we let the sports reporter-types loose on them in and ask the tough questions and not leave the 'locker room' until things get answered. Roger Clemens is answering tougher questions on a daily basis from reporters to clear his name from the Mitchell Report than any of the Presidential Candidates are dealing with.
He throws balls and strikes and is fighting for his legacy in order to get into the Hall of Fame while we are trying to find the next leader of the free world.
So what if he took steroids. It's a freaking game. It's already been established that the hypodermic needle has been as popular as the batting glove for quite some time, so why the blitz on Clemens, and the toughest question the candidates get is 'what makes you the guy/gal?'
How skewed is that?
People say one thing and often mean another. 'Read my lips, no new taxes' became something quite different, as did 'I did not have sexual relations with that woman.'
There are anti-gay rights gays in political office. There are people that raise money for Afro-American charities like Don Imus, and then say racial slurs on public radio. We live in a world where nothing is what it seems and we are left to try and decide who will screw up the country the least.
Something is wrong with the system and I'm not talking just about vote counting in Florida or the Electoral College.
I guess as the coverage of the Presidential primaries get more intense, we will get to the point where we just won't care much anymore as we will be desensitized to the issues by stupid media questions, exclusive interviews where they only talk about their small town roots, and their grandiose scheme to fix all of our country's problems.
I may be a cynic, but I do want the right person to lead our country, and if that means putting the candidates in a towel and bombarding them with tough questions till they're on the verge of tears, then so be it. Let the best man or woman win, not just the one that raised the most money and has the most corporate backing.
And when they break down on camera, all of us can look to one another and say 'I told you so.'
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.