I recently turned 35 years old. Not really a milestone (more of a mile marker), but it does make me pause and reflect. I should be something by now (jury out on that one), and my body is starting to show its weak points. Luckily it started betraying me years ago, so this isn't a shock. A few grey hairs are an easy trade off to be above ground and among the living. I have passed the ones we think of: I can vote, buy booze, and rent a car (does it bother anyone else that you can choose your leaders and die for your country 7 years before you can rent a Chevy Cobalt for the weekend?). But there is something I can finally do now that I have crossed the midpoint of my fourth decade on earth: I can run for president.
Now mind you, I never want to run, or be elected, president of these here United States. Like most people, I would not want the responsibility of being the most powerful person in the world. Now the perks would be sweet (Air Force One would really help impress my high school classmates at my 20th reunion). Most importantly, I know that I am not smart enough to be president. I know that it takes someone of supreme intellect to put his business cards on the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office (and I know everyone is clearing their throats about the first 8 years of this century and how dumb W was). You have to be smart...for the United States to succeed. We have had stupid presidents (at least those who pretended to be) and during their time in office our nation went through some of its worst episodes. W, he of a vitae that lists Harvard biz and Yale undergrad, stated that he wasn't much of a reader and left that up to Laura (I believe a marriage should be an institution where responsibilities are split and shared, but everyone should read, damn it). Reagan was another guy who was all about the average guy and didn't need information to run his government; hence that is why he is worshiped by the right today. But fellow history buffs need to remember that Nancy outfitted the White House with hundreds of thousands of dollars in updates (china, furniture, etc.) as the nation was finding new joys such as crack cocaine and shuttered factories taking permanent vacations south of the border and leaving average working Joe's in the lurch.
But it is not the dastardliness of the right and how regular Americans get screwed with their policies...its that they promote being stupid as the highest form of patriotism. Institutions of higher education are reservations for communists and enemies of our nation. Science is a tool to turn God-fearing Christians from the Bible and towards the Gomorrah of evolution and free thought (reason is a tool of the devil and exists in every person but must be defeated, like sexual desire and sugary foods). Why would any reasonable person, or group of people, not want to seek the answers to the big questions of life? Is that not what generations fought and died for: the opportunity for their kids to live in a world where the libraries and schools held the answers and they were available to all? One of the greatest things about our society is that you can be educated, no matter your socio-economic status. Then why are the persons running to be the supreme American (everyone of them is college-educated, and usually have a graduate-level credential), the person that represents us to the world and all that is great about our experiment in democracy, openly mock knowledge?
Watch the Republican candidates for president: they are like the smart kids in junior high who know its not cool to raise your hand when you know the answer. They want to be liked by the jocks, so they pretend (when they could be both: Bill Bradley, line 2, please). And its not just candidates for president: a North Carolina state senator, a medical doctor, believes that gay people can be turned straight and that office holders should work for this goal. His reasoning is not just hate: he believes that being gay reduces your lifespan. Wherever he went to medical school, I don't think I would be naming the library after him. Its insulting to the nation and every young man and woman that stands a post in a far away land wanting nothing more than to know that their beloved home is safe and awaiting them for their return, no matter the status of their mortality. They deserve leaders who are engaged and do not shun knowledge.