Tuesday, November 27, 2007

This is your brain on politics

When I first read (I think in The New Yorker) that Barack Obama had admitted to smoking pot, I was highly (get it?) amused. I loved the response he gave when asked if he inhaled. “Isn’t that the point?” So now, of course, it’s being covered like it was this enormous political gaffe, like he'd better worry about how all the voters (many of whom have probably had their own brushes with questionable activity in their youth and beyond) will react. This is shocking, I know, but it seems that as a nation, we are not really into knowing the truth.

Let me set the scene:
Obama was asked by a high school audience if he had ever used drugs.
"There were times when I got into drinking, experimenting with drugs. There was a stretch of time where I did not really apply myself," Obama said.
He went on to say he realized that his choices were not the right ones for the life he wanted to lead, that he had made mistakes.

This is somehow worse than Clinton basically lying about inhaling? (I mean, come on. You didn’t inhale? Really? Then you weren’t doing it right, dude. Or…you’re lying.) And George W. Bush of all people refused to discuss his cocaine addiction for fear that kids would think it was cool (what?? more likely, this was based on fear that he never would have been elected. But do not get me started on that.) So, what I’m hearing is that as a presidential candidate, it’s fine to have had a drug problem as long as you don’t talk about it, but experimenting with drugs and admitting that it was a bad choice to a group of kids who is asking you an honest question? Huge deal. We’re not stupid, media. Clinton inhaled (Hillary probably did, too), Bush is just a gigantic ball of nose candy, and Obama smoked some pot. I’m not saying it’s a positive thing that our possible future leaders have used drugs. But let’s be realistic here. These are people we’re talking about, and they had experiences. Are they defined solely by those experiences? Are they marred for life because of them? More to the point, are they incapable of leading our country because they have, in the past, imbibed or inhaled? Let’s try to stick to the issues, please.

By the way, the award for best line in the CNN article goes to: Mitt Romney.

"I think in order to leave the best possible example for our kids, we're probably wisest not to talk about our own indiscretions in great detail," Romney said.

Ooooh. What do you think he did?


J said...

CNN's headline for this story was " Was Obama's answer about drug use too honest?". TOO Honest? Right, I know, most people expect politicians to lie. I get it. But are we supposed to _prefer_ the politicians who lie over the politicians who give the ... political answer rather than the honest one? Guess what? I'm an adult. I can handle honesty. It would shock me if more politicians did it (honesty, that is) but I could learn to like it.

Catherine said...

How do you think Bush got elected (God help us--twice.) There are those (in large numbers)who prefer the lie because it's the way in which they assume you are not an idiot. Only a political idiot tells the truth i.e. Carter "lusting in his mind" which got at least 15 weeks instead of 15 minutes of attention.

Elizabeth said...

you know what? i'm not voting for a presidential candidate unless he/she HAS smoked pot. those who haven't are weird and probably don't have enough life experiences to run a country. sorry, catherine....but i bet you and papa smoked a doobie or two back in the day, too.

Jonathan said...

Let's be honest here. Obama's best shot of winning involves the public focusing on benign issues such as Obama's drug experimentation as a child and not on his ill-conceived plans to continue spending on 'Modernizing the Military' and his non-universal, universal health care policy.

I know the Chicago natives will loved that one.

Chat said...

OK, maybe I am weird because I haven't smoked pot (which makes me unqualified to be President).

I am probably OK with that though... I think anyone who is crazy enough to run for President is weird.

Every single person since Carter has been - and every person in the race (maybe except for Ron Paul) is wierd. Paul is just a Libertarian. :)

Elizabeth said...

Ohhhhhh, Chat! I was just kidding. I would vote for you in a heartbeat and I don't even know you!

Rob said...

"Now it's my turn. I'm gettin' mine! Ladies and gentlemen, hold your applause, please. How can you help the poor if you never been poor? How can you stop crime if you don't know no criminals? How can you make drug policy if you never smoked the chronic? How can you do that?! Just a nickel bag! I'm a real American. I've been high, I've been robbed, I've been broke. My credit is horrible! They won't even take my cash! You're always talking about, "God bless America, and no place else." But isn't it obvious that God has blessed America? America is the richest, most powerful nation on earth. If America was a woman, it would be a big-tittied woman. And everybody loves a big-tittied woman! So, in closing... I'd like to say you are full of shit: "God bless America, and no place else?" How about "God bless Haiti" or "God bless Africa"? How about "God bless Jamaica"? I'm not talking about "Jamaica-the beach towns" you all love. I'm talking about "stabbing-Jamaica." That's what I'm talking about. So, tonight I want to say: "God bless America, and everybody else!" The whole world! God bless you! I'm Mays Gilliam, and I'm running for President of the United States of America. Ya heard?!?" - Chris Rock from 'Head of State'