This country seems to see everything through the prism of beer. Beer is the official drink of America, and the kind of beer you drink sends a statement. Yes, the Blind Boar
has really good barbecue even with the departure of Chopped
winner Jay Lippin and Arrogant Bastard Ale
. But the beers associated with America, the beers that people have in mind when they say the President is a guy you'd want to have a beer with, are more the kind of stuff poured out at the Dog House Saloon
, the Budweisers and Coors and such pulled for guys who will spend the entire afternoon at a really friendly bar eating the best damn bar food in the county. Beer has become a metaphor for America.
So if you were to ask yourself who you'd rather have a beer with, what would be your answer? Would you rather have a beer with the sea of white faces you saw last week, their faces twisted with hate and fear and loathing and resentment; with the speakers who had to resort to demonstrable lies in their lust for power because no one in their right mind would hand the keys back to them if they thought about the truth? Or would you rather have a beer with Deval Patrick
, talking about a teacher who didn't just teach kids to memorize the "I Have a Dream" speech but understand what it meant? Would you rather have a beer with what's left of Clint Eastwood talking to an empty chair, or would you rather have a beer with Kal Penn
, who may very well in four short minutes have energized the youth vote all by himself. (And please note that I said "beer", not "bong", because unlike Republicans, our side understands that there is a difference between the character an actor plays in the movies and who the actor is as a person.) Would you rather have a beer with the dour Marco Rubio, whose mother was illiterate but who has embraced fully the I Got Mine And Fuck You doctrine of the GOP, or with Juliàn Castro
, who eloquently encapsulated a nation that gave his Mexican mother and grandmother and himself the opportunities to better their family for the future and want to perpetuate those opportunities for everyone?
But perhaps most of all, would you rather have a beer with Ann Romney, daughter of an affluent family, who expects us to believe that she and Willard were one step away from homelessness in their early married years, never once mentioning the $400,000 they had in the bank; who doesn't feel wealthy despite her family's quarter of a billion dollars, and doesn't believe that Americans have a right to know whether a man who wants to be president has so little faith in it that he stashes his money in offshore accounts? Or would you rather have a beer with Michelle Obama, even though it might mean you have to do this before you get to the beer?
I know who I'm choosing:
Oh, and there's one other difference: Our folks know that you aren't going to have a beer with the President -- or the First Lady. We understand that people who reach the top tiers of politics no longer have to worry about how the bills are going to be paid. We understand that the images we see on TV are just that. We know that Clint Eastwood isn't really Dirty Harry, just as we understood that John Wayne wasn't a war hero and Ronald Reagan wasn't the Gipper and we understand that Kal Penn isn't really a stoned-out slacker. Because we know the difference between image and reality, between fact and fantasy. We understand that what we saw last week and what we're seeing this week is about 80% stagecraft and 20% reality. But we have also not forgotten eight years of Republican wars and Republican debt and Republican tax cuts for Willard Rmoney and reduced services for everyone else. We know that the Democrats aren't perfect. But we also know from the sea of faces in the arena in Charlotte this week; a sea that is black and brown and white and Asian and male and female and straight and gay and transgendered; that is veterans and civilians, stay-at-home moms and career women; union workers and white-collar workers; all enjoying this festival of commonality instead of difference, that at the very least, we DO have a responsibility to take care of each other, and that we would rather live in a society where people do so instead of one where your only value is in how many zeroes you have in your net worth. We understand that those who have already succeeded on our side don't feel they have to pull the ladder up so no one else can climb it.
And THAT is the difference.
Labels: Democratic National Convention, Michelle Obama, sheer awesomeness