Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Heads & Tails #15

Today's theme is Who Would You Like to Meet? This topic, the news of the day, and Ms. Skittles' own post, all combine to make me say this: there is no celebrity I would like to meet.

Almost four years ago I was thrilled at the prospect of meeting Caroline Kennedy. She was appearing with her Uncle Ted at fundraisers all around the country on behalf of my candidate, Senator Kerry. Before the big $500/plate dinner, the Kennedys were good enough to speak at a more intimate, campaign workers only reception.

Then I met her. It had a huge impact on me, but not in the way I'd anticipated.

As she made her way through our small group (less than 200), she hung on to her uncle's arm for dear life. If somehow she lost him, even for a moment, he would reach for her. They seemed to know one another very well and he appeared sensitive to how important it was to her to have him there.

She didn't seem to hear anything that was said to her as she approached the podium. It wasn't that she was ignoring the well wishers or was behaving imperiously. It was as though she'd willed herself to not hear as a form of self protection. It made me sad about the savage, insensitive things strangers must have said to her over time.

Remember, we were John Kerry campaign workers. She would never be in a crowd as friendly as supportive as this one. Yet she seemed afraid of us. The big money doners she'd be dining with after our little reception would expect much more of her. I wanted to throw my arms around her and whisper, "You don't have to do the dinner. We already have their money. Say you're sick and go back to your hotel."

There's also something unspeakably weird about meeting someone that famous. I had watched her bury her parents and brother, and she had no idea at all who I am. It cured me of the desire to meet another celebrity ever again.

(It's important to note, though, that once she was in front of the microphone, Caroline Kennedy was poised and eloquent. I don't think it's public speaking that freaks her out, but crowds.)

Now Skittles answered that someday she would like to meet herself. I love that notion. I wonder how I appear and sound to others. I'm curious if I would like myself. Would Me and I get along?

For more Heads or Tails responses, or to play along yourself, visit Skittles' Place.

A Reason to Believe

Mayor Daley is helping Barack Obama raise money.

John Kerry has endorsed him.

Caroline Kennedy wrote a heartfelt opinion piece in the NY Times referring to Obama as the candidate who could be "A President Like My Father."

Senator Ted Kennedy not only endorsed Obama but chastised that other political family, The Clintons, in no uncertain terms.

Tomorrow I half expect to see that God has written, "GAL, vote for this man" across Barack Obama's forehead. That's really the only endorsement left that could influence me.

I've been a Clinton girl since 1992. Back then "The Gov'nuh" was a breath of fresh air. A Baby Boomer after 12 years of Reagan/Bush. I believed he would finally -- FINALLY! -- address what was relevant to me and my friends. Once Bill was elected, I felt that the sun came out again, the music began to play again, and the forest animals emerged once more, just like in an old Warner Bros. cartoon.

So it's been hard to close the book on the Clintons. I would never diss what he did and what he meant. But this past week, I've seen the Bill Clinton that I conveniently forgot. The thrill and attention junkie who creates trouble so he can get out of it. The one who wore me out by the time he left office in 2001, amid a flurry of last-minute scandals of his own creation. I realize that it's Hillary's name on the ballot, but let's not kid ourselves: She either can't, or doesn't want to, diminish Bill's star power and influence on her campaign. Therefore I have no reason to believe she'd reign him if she wins the Presidency.

These endorsements from people whose judgment and patriotism I trust, these endorsements that evoke not the myth of Camelot but the enthusiasm and idealism of the New Frontier, convince me that it's time to close that book. It's time for politics to once again encourage us to, in Caroline's words, "believe in ourselves, to tie that belief to our highest ideals and imagine that together we can do great things." President Kennedy represented the Presidency as the pinnacle of public service. As soon as the Barack bandwagon slows down, I'm jumping on.

I'm a true believer. Not in Barack Obama just yet, but in the politics of hope and possibility as opposed to "the ends justify the means." I so want Obama to be the real deal.