In the realms of the unmentioned

Everyone is on their way to changing Washington…or so the presidential candidates would want you to believe.

by Jake Perron

Washington is not broken.

Maybe it is to the pessimist who cites an impending recession, rising health care costs, or a war with no end in sight. But as university students, we’re supposed to be optimistic, informed and idealistic. Thus, it’s far more plausible to conceptualize the United States as a young and precocious country on the verge of maturity.

In the traditional coming of age story, Washington can be understood as transitioning out of that teenage state of rebellion familiar to many of us. Much like pretending not to hear your mother ask you to wash the dishes, Washington’s authority publicly announces that Congress will not be heard.

But these days are waning, and change is on the way. Isn’t that right, presidential candidates?

Given that this prospect of change is unavoidable in every presidential candidate’s platform, how is it possible that these candidates are so out of touch with their identity? That is, how can they be expected to make this transition and propagate the change U.S. citizens so openly beckon, with campaigns bamboozled in identity crises?

In an effort to purport herself as a competent and staunch female politician, Sen. Hillary Clinton fails to capitalize on the opportunity to nurture change in Washington, for she has concealed just how liberal she really is. Instead of separating herself from the rest, she has opted to show she can “play with the boys.”

Clinton also prides herself on experience, although experience serving as First Lady to a disbarred lawyer who was impeached by the House of Representatives (and later acquitted by the Senate) may not be the most beneficial to her campaign.

If Clinton’s campaign were truly concerned with embracing change, they’d shift focus to her more positive experience as the ex-wife of – to borrow from Toni Morrison – America’s “first black president,” a title sought after by her squabbling comrade, Sen. Barack Obama.

However, Obama’s worthiness of this title has been obfuscated in large part by the media. At the age of 2, Obama’s parents separated. His father soon thereafter returned to Kenya, and his Kansas-native mother and grandparents raised Obama in Hawaii. Instead of Obama’s campaign publicly addressing the trials and tribulations of this upbringing, or the media divulging considerate attention to this, Obama’s shade is emphasized as the prospect of change.

The GOP’s riddle wrapped inside an enigma is an ardent promotion of family values and a neglect to practice what is preached.

Just more than a month since obtaining an uncontested divorce from his first wife, Sen. John McCain was remarried to a woman 17 years his junior.

Most striking of all, however, is not McCain’s brief mourning period. Exit polls after McCain’s triumph in Tuesday’s Florida primary show that Republican voters considered the most important issue to be the economy. McCain and the economy go together like Rush Limbaugh and logic.

Former Gov. Mike Huckabee has brazenly targeted the religious vote throughout his campaign trail. But his recent demagogic appeal to racist South Carolina voters evidences that Huckabee struggles in both science (evolution by natural selection) and history. Regarding a vote passed by both houses in South Carolina in 2000 to no longer hang the Confederate flag over the state capitol, Huckabee pandered:

“You don’t like people from outside the state coming in and telling you what to do with your flag. In fact, if somebody came to Arkansas and told us what to do with our flag, we’d tell ’em what to do with the pole; that’s what we’d do.”

Perhaps Huckabee is all too in touch with his vile and demonic identity.

Former Gov. Mitt Romney, who has time and time again failed to publicly answer to the racist history of his Mormon church, is off the hook because this dreadful reality has been ridiculed in popular culture to the extent that it’s nearly a banality.

To bring this grand old conundrum full circle, we’ll briefly applaud Giuliani’s three marriages and give mention to his nomination of Bernard Kerik for secretary of Homeland Security, whose alleged affair with Judith Regan occurred in a New York City apartment donated for emergency workers at ground zero.

Further, promoting Kerik to top positions in the New York City police force did not bode well for Giuliani’s campaign when Kerik was recently indicted on charges of tax fraud, conspiracy and false statements.

Only days ago did sound bites shower the radio of Giuliani declaring, “Florida counts, and I’m counting on Florida!”

Now that Giuliani’s campaign has come to a halt, perhaps he can act as a parent to the other candidates and inform them of what happens when you don’t campaign who you really are.

Either this, or the United States is amid a mid-life, rather than identity, crisis; and I’m too young to be familiar with that.

Jake Perron welcomes comments at [email protected]