Lookin’ Good to a New Generation

My grandmother is from the Philippines, where public officials are decided by attractiveness. “If you are good-looking, people will like you,” she told me. She admitted the mindset still sticks with her, and part of her reasoning for voting for Barack Obama in the then-upcoming election was that he is “handsome.”

Appearances aside, she recognizes all the necessary qualities of a nation’s leader. I asked who her favorite U.S. president has been, and she answered Carter without missing a beat, and rattled off a few other front-runners and their winning traits.

Hearing her speak with pride about past presidents, I realized my generation and younger have never known the president to be anything but a joke. Sure, I remember holding a mock-election in first grade and checking Bill Clinton’s name — but mostly I remember that the boy I had a crush on checked it too.

By the time I was at all in tune with current events, Clinton’s sex scandal was in full flare, and by the time I could vote, it was half-heatedly for John Kerry.

Kids now need to grow up respecting that person and position, knowing that he is there to help in their education and livelihood. So they finally had a chance to learn this, to finally form a positive impression; that some were denied the right by teachers and parents makes me sick.

The new generation of kids should be able to exchange their mental image of the president from a monkey-faced cartoon to an intelligent and responsible leader — handsome, too, Nana.

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September 11, 2009. Tags: , , , . autobio, currents. Leave a comment.