Just Your Average-Leader-of-the-Free-World-Type of Guy

There is a question that has been plaguing me since George W. Bush began campaigning for his first presidential term over twelve years ago. I have noticed, during this current presidential campaign, the same issue popping up in a much subtler--but no less annoying--manner, the idea that the best thing our president can be is a "normal" guy.  Why, oh why, in our country do we want our president to be so average? Are we so threatened by our own fear of being "average" that we have to demand our politicians meet us here, in the middle?

Governor Romney has had to battle against President Obama's "everyman" status throughout the election; Obama, as the child of a single parent, with his charming stories of college debt and normal dad-of-two-young-girls-who-still-have-to-make-their-own-beds-even-in-the-white-house image, is hard to fight when you're the son of a former Governor who sent you to one of the toniest private high schools in Michigan. But, alas, Mitt is going to give it the old college try. In an April Washington Post opinion piece, Mitt Romney was praised for being such a "normal guy." In fact, the author referred to Governor Romney as "a normal, middle-aged American guy." Someone who we would "all like to have as our neighbor."

Well, I definitely want him as my neighbor because that means I get a kick-ass mansion, right? I get to be worth $250 million? Totally down with it; move right in, Mitt. Bring your yacht.

Let's be honest, neither Obama nor Romney are "normal, middle-aged American" guys. Both of them are worth millions (okay, so Obama's $6 million net worth looks paltry next to Romney's $250 million, but speaking as a solidly middle-class teacher living in a household with a combined income not yet hitting six figures, I'm going to go ahead and say millions are millions). Both are internationally known and haven't been more than six feet from a heavily armed secret service agent in months. Both have more power than most people can even fathom. This is not normal. But they're our leaders; they're grappling with political, cultural, and economic issues 99% of humans could never understand. I'm okay with them being in the 1%.

Many people praised George W. Bush for being such an "average guy," while disparaging those running against him for horrible crimes like being "too rich" (::cough cough:: son of a president:: cough cough::) or being--gasps of horror would be appropriate here--"too intellectual." Because why would we want a president who knows things?

I must be the minority. I want a president with the Chuck Norris of intelligence. I could care less about him being normal. Okay, so maybe it's best if our president isn't a raging cross-dresser, but really, what do I care if Obama shows up in the situation room in an A-line halter that hits just below the knee as long as he gets the job done?

The bottom line is, our country needs to stop being afraid of people being exceptional. Our politicians should be the best and the brightest. So what if they don't seem like someone you'd sit down to have a beer with? You're never going to have that chance anyway. He's too boring? Who cares, he's never going to talk to you, so let him bore the pants off some foreign dignitary; he's probably boring, too. We need to stop looking and encouraging mediocrity in this country, especially if we want to believe we live in the greatest nation on earth. We need to expect our politicians to be smarter. We need to expect them to know more things than we do. We need to demand that they know more so they can do more. They've always been richer than most Americans, now we need them to be smarter.

Because I am an average American, and I know I sure as hell shouldn't be running the country.

No offense, but I think I can say the same for the rest of you normal guys.


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