At the pub last night the conversation turned, as it will in the last week of the campaign, to the presidential election.
One of us had already voted, two of us hadn't. The one who voted wouldn't say for whom she voted, my other companion wouldn't say for whom she was going to vote. They were good at it too - I seriously have no idea what their choices are.
Hmmm. When asked why, they said that they just didn't want to get "into it" with anybody because everyone is so riled up over the whole deal. (One of them said she got something like 11 political phone calls yesterday. Bush even called. Well, it was a recording, but I think she might have been marginally flattered just the same.) I repeat, hmmm. That hasn't quite been my experience. In fact, apparently everyone must be very worried about "getting into it" because I haven't heard word one about the election or the candidates at all. No mail. No phone calls. Nada. Zip. In my little world, it's a non-topic.
I'm not worried about what anyone thinks of my choice, and they can say what they want because I'm not going to change my mind. I won't argue back because I don't know/care enough about specifics to get into a fun one. No stem-cell research, pull-out of Iraq, finding Osama, and keeping the French happy. My concerns go deeper than stump speech fodder.
So, how to choose?
First I thought I would just go with handsomer. I mean, everyone pretends that it doesn't matter, but we all know it does. Pretty sells. Who do we want to look at for the next four years? (After Clinton we deserve someone attractive, for crissake.) Much difference between the two in the looks department? Not really. I heard on NPR that they were distant cousins, and the familial resemblance was obvious once I saw them next to each other on the debate stage. I was going to vote against Bush on the basis of hating his little pig-eyes; but fuck if Kerry doesn't have nearly the same eyes!
So I decided to choose based on who I thought I could have a conversation with. Say you meet at a party and chat:
"What do you do?"
"Leader of the free world."
"Huh. How's that treatin' ya?"
Well, you know who that method immediately deletes. Bush couldn't hold a coherant conversation with himself. But Kerry seems kinda weird, frankly. He keeps copying that thumb thing that Clinton did, and once I saw him pick up this baby and his expression looked like he was thinking, "I didn't know they made 'em so small. I'll be damned." Somehow Kerry doesn't strike me as a bona-fide diaper-changing, hand-washing, homework-helping, not-too-cool-to-have-carseats-in-the-monster-jeep, actually-misses-the-fam-when-he's-gone type. When you're married to one of those, guys who aren't like that don't hold much alure. I think Kerry could probably speak intelligently about all sorts of important issues, but he wouldn't be able to escape to the pub for a Bass and a casual chat about movies and kids and nothing. He wouldn't have anything to say.
So much for the conversation angle.
Then there's the money. Not who's got more, but how they spend it is my concern. Well, I don't know all that much about Bush's financial status or history, but I know there's some money there. Big in oil or something, can't recall what. And Kerry's got that whole new money thing goin' on. People hate that. And they hate that he's not only new money, but that his money comes from his wife. I'm not resentful about it. Nothing against money or those who have it, really. What I do resent is people who work when they have lots of money. As in, Bush and Kerry both have enough money to live comfortably, play golf, do charity functions, and just hang. Can't/won't do it. There's just something wrong with someone who can't retire and have fun already. Strike three.
So who am I voting for and why? I decided to look for the better smile. I think we could lighten up around here. Bush's smile always looks sarcastic (really rather Mike Shanahan-esque), and truly painful, like he's smiling through a bad bout of constipation.
So based on that, I'm going with...
He looks pretty dorky, but his smile looks genuine at least. I think it's as good a reason as any.
Ha ha, I just realized I can't even recall Kerry's first name. I'm bad with names, but you'd think I might be able to remember that one. Obviously he's made a huge impression.