Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Makes Me Want to Chant "USA"

The Democrats have left Denver. The Republicans are in St. Paul. And I just had this thought.

So listen, I'm not gonna tell you who to vote for. I mean, I'll put a magnet on my car and wear a tee shirt around, but I'm not campaigning on my blog. I just pretty much don't want to see another doofus in the White House.

But look, at the risk of totally overstating the obvious, something kinda cool is happening right now. Because whatever you think of Obama, and whatever you think of Palin, if you plan to vote this November, and if you plan to vote for one of the two major parties, you won't be able to leave that funny little voting booth without pulling the lever or flipping the switch or putting your stone in the coke bottle for either a black man or a woman.

And that's friggin' awesome!!! I mean, come ON! That rocks. If I were the type to chant "USA" in any other circumstance besides during an Olympic Games, I might do so right now.

This is the first presidential election of my wee baby gal's life, and there's a woman and an African American man on the ballot...for different parties. That totally rocks.

Of course it rocks. Hollywood did it, like, ten years ago. Right? And Hollywood is always at the forefront of cool. The first woman in a position of power who comes to my mind is Glen Close in "Air Force One". She played Harrison Ford's Vice President Kathryn Bennett in 1997. Eleven years ago! Ok so maybe they had to give her a Jane Austen name so we wouldn't be so afraid of her while she was running the country like a total bad ass. But still. Eleven years ago.

Geena Davis was Mackenzie Allen in the frankly lousy TV show "Commander in Chief" in 2005. Like anyone would have named their daughter Mackenzie in the fifties. I don't think the show failed because Hollywood pushed the envelope. I think it failed because the writing kinda sucked. And they didn't cast my friend Rebecca as young press secretary Kelly Ludlow. Still, Hollywood gave the American people a chance to try out having a woman in the Oval Office (sitting behind the desk thank you very much) without actually having to vote for her, long before that opportunity has actually made it to the November ballot box. And though America said yes to "The West Wing" (a genius show in every respect), for whatever reason, they said no to "Commander in Chief." And ultimately, they said no to Hillary. Maybe Hillary should have had Aaron Sorkin writing for her.

I don't watch "24", but Dennis Haysbert was an inspired choice to play President David Palmer (about as unthreatening a name as you could possible give him, huh?). According to Digital Spy, Haysbert himself thinks his role on "24" contributed to America's acceptance of Barak Obama as a candidate. I say, of course it did. Look what "Will and Grace" did for the gay community. Little old ladies think gay guys are cute because of Jack. Again, Hollywood gave us the chance to audition something new and formerly inconceivable. Brought it right into the safe haven of our living rooms. Let us peek inside, feel it out while no one was watching, and decide that actually, as those guys and gals running things out there on the west coast already knew (because really, that's why they get paid the big bucks), it's kinda cool.

So how do we weigh the outcome here? "24" is about to begin its seventh season. It is tremendously popular. My mother and brother both love it. "Air Force One" made over 315 million dollars. I still sometimes say "Get off my plane". I'm not sure how to weigh the relative success of those two enterprises.

I know who I want to win. And I think he will. I really do. But either way, it will be pretty fun to hear my daughter talk about this election some day like it's no big deal.

1 comment:

cyberpenguin said...

I think it's amusing how Hollywood's portrayal of what a presidential candidate "looks like" seems to have an apparent influence on voters. Maybe Hollywood can be credited with actually trying to do some good after all. ;-O