Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A President Like Me

Isn't that what everyone's been talking about for the last eight years? They elected a president like themselves, or like they wanted to be seen. They elected a president they thought they'd rather barbecue with, and enjoyed what they viewed as the back-door morality of his decisions, regardless of what they did to the country.

Hopefully mine won't prove as disastrous, but reading this New York Times story about Obama in the digital age, I realized that I now understand what those guys were talking about, even though I still disagreed with their assessment. At last, I have a President who in many ways is just like me.

His messages to advisers and friends, they say, are generally crisp, properly spelled and free of symbols or emoticons. The time stamps provided a window into how much he was sleeping on a given night, with messages often being sent to staff members at 1 a.m. or as late as 3 a.m. if he was working on an important speech.

I've lost track of how many times various IVAW members and allies threatened not to allow me to submit any more work unless I got a varying minimum hours of sleep a night. And god! Correct spelling, perhaps even a grammarian! Despite myself and my best intentions to stay neutral, I can't help but get a little starry-eyed.

He received a scaled-down list of news clippings, with his advisers wanting to keep him from reading blogs and news updates all day long, yet aides said he still seemed to hear about nearly everything in real time. A network of friends — some from college, others from Chicago and various chapters in his life — promised to keep him plugged in.

Again, I'm reminded of that long drive from Florida to Maryland for Winter Soldier, with a documentary filmmaker in the car terrified of how often I was checking my email from my phone, as friends and associates from all over the country kept me looped in even though I had no access, other than cellphone-based email, to the internet.

Oh, Obama. I too, like the right in this country for the last eight years, dream of a President who shares my values, and will even have his staff meeting with IVAW. I dare to hope that with the quirks, dedication, and drive come the shared passions and commitment to sacrifice. I dare to hope that these similarities are not just superficial, but real.

I dare to hope..but yet, the eternal cynic, I fear being disappointed.

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