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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

My First President

Ladies and gentlemen, Shambollocks is excited to introduce a new series today with our official 2008 Presidential election correspondent, Cate Ryan. Cate will be sharing her experiences over the next few months as she readies herself for the Biggest Decision of her life- how to drop her 8:30 Rhetoric 101.

Take it away, Cate.

How many 18-year-olds relate to their middle-aged fathers on a personal level? OK, now how many 18-year-olds relate to their grandfathers on any level? Not many. Unless you know a lot of 18-year-olds who've ditched their technology- obsessed, short attention-spanned generation in favor of whatever it is that people older than 30 do - spend time with their families? read old books? play chess at parks? lose their bifocals on their heads?

This 18-year-old does not find it easy to relate to people twice, let alone three times my age. And it may seem like I'm being insensitive; that I'm just another immature teenager implementing ageism to express the lack of connection which exists among various generations. In fact, the latter assumption may, and probably is, true.

However, I make these comments on age and the differences that result when decades separate people because it just so happens that I became a legal "adult" during a very important year indeed. And unless you've been on an island with Tom Hanks [or in Austria- Ed.] for the last year, you probably know where I'm going. The economy is down, the war is raging, and the big W's time is soon up (Wow. Eight years. Time sure does fly…) which means… it's time for a new man, I mean person, (but all political correctness aside, it is man) in charge. It's election year and the American political party, well parties, are in full swing. The date is set, the invitations have been sent, food and drink are on the way - all that's left to decide is the guest of honor!

Ok, now that that's all figured out, I'm placed in a very special situation. Don't get me wrong, I've R.S.V.Ped to this November bash, but I've also heard that it's proper etiquette to know who you prefer as guest of honor before you attend. It's up to me to figure out to whom I'd rather give a nondescript plant, make small talk, and compliment about living room painting choices. I mean, this person is going to be ruling one of, if not the, most powerful social circles - I mean nations - in the world. Who's going to make me feel the most comfortable and have my back when I spill my drink all over myself? And who's going to continue to help me out for four years straight? It's hard to have my favorite television show remain loyal to me for that long, let alone a real person. [True dat, Cate. I'm looking in your direction, Party of Five!-Ed.]

As you can see, I'm finding it difficult to decipher between the rhetorically charged, stadium-filling, "youthful" Obama and the straighter-laced, not-so-youthful McCain. Both look like nice guys, but they have money and money allows people to be dressed and groomed to look like nice guys. (That's not to say I don't think one can dress themself well. One can, but one doesn't.) They both seem educated but that's only because they've had excellent educations and have staffs that tell them what they need to know. In the end, both have survived a grueling primary race - a decathlon of unrelated, puzzling and uncontroversial events - and ended up as their party's presumptive nominee.

I've got about four months to decide between the two. Can I believe in the change Obama promises, along with the hefty money needed to make those changes? Can I risk another 4 to 8 years (more likely four – he's not getting any younger) of Republican dominance? Everyone else has an opinion, but what's mine?

I personally like Chris Rock's take on McCain's chance at the presidency: "How you going to make decisions about the future when you aren't going to be here?"

Well, I am going to be here and I want my president to be looking out for me just like everyone wants to feel welcomed at the party. And before my vote can tell the Man "nobody puts baby in the corner", first thing's first: time to register.

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