Riding what they've called the "Mitt Mobile," 96 white Romneys have invaded Iowa armed with a big, white family portrait. And that scares me.
First, let's get rid of the white elephant in the room. An extended family of look-alike white people from Massachusetts, many of whom went to Harvard, who play touch football and have almost identical twilight's last gleaming white smiles? Ring any familiar bells? The Mormon Kennedys? The political Osmonds? Of course there are no war vets to hang the campaign around, no profiles in courage, 'cause according to dad, the five fightin' Romneys are saving themselves for Mitt's campaign. Somehow, electing dad to the White House has become the equivalent of military service. Now, who figured out that equation? But that's not the scary part.
It's the goodness. That perfect, wholesome white goodness. Bible and scripture on Sunday. More scripture on Monday. Touch football. Staff tennis tournament with the championship played on the family court. Now before I'm branded some sort of racist, let me be clear: I'm white. It's nothing I'm proud of. In fact, white people embarrass me. More often than not, I find them clueless, clumsy, soulless, insincere, patronizing, reeking of privilege, occasionally bordering on rude and, quite often, fat. Not just that slightly overweight fat but the take-over-the-buffet-line-with-your-doublewide-ass kind of fat. And all that fat is often accompanied by massive stupidity. That good, old-fashioned "America's a great country 'cause we've got freedom of speech, so shut your mouth and stop criticizing the government" kind of stupidity. But even that's not the scary part.
I'll admit there are some good white people. I've worked with some. I live around them. Hell, my sister even married one. And I guess they've done some good things. But I was sort of hoping that the whiter-than-white perfect family portrait as campaign poster was something we'd transcended here in the 21st century, as some diversity entered presidential politics. Not just with race, and gender, but with every other aspect of life. Multiple marriages. Family problems. A little drinking. Drug problems. Maybe the occasional DUI. Imperfect candidates seem more human. And I want a candidate who's human. A dad who's gotten a call at 8 am to bail their kid out. Someone who's gone through the hell of divorce and climbed out the other side. A mom who's maybe had a drink or two after a hard day. It makes them compassionate. Like they understand the problems regular people have and might like to solve them.
So when I see this 60's Tide commercial photograph, I'll be honest--it scares the shit out of me. Because somehow the notion of the "I'm all-white, you're all-white" candidate is still lurking out there in the minds of campaign managers, which means it's still out there in the minds of Americans. Now, it's not Mitt's fault he's white. It's not his fault he's got religion. While, personally, I think believing that, some 18 centuries after his death, Jesus reappeared in upstate New York is a litmus test for insanity, if that belief gets you through the night, then go with god. And it's sort of nice he's got a big old family. But that big old family picture looks like a throwback to an older, Wonder Bread America, and sticking it out there as a campaign poster of the perfect, Bible-reading, touch football-playing family, as if it's a reason for people to vote for you is scary. Because it doesn't make you look like a man of the people. It just makes you look like a man of the white people.