In case you are wondering what the picture is, I'll tell you (so you don't have to guess). It's a subway mosaic. I love them. They are art for art's sake. They look great in the subway and just about anywhere anyone sees them.
Let me tell you what doesn't look so good.
I pulled up with my son tonight and got out of my car. My neighbor is now proudly displaying his "Fred 08" bumper sticker on the back of his car. Not coincidentally in the same place is "W in 04" bumper sticker was in, well, 04.
This is a bit of a bellwether. Wikipedia has a nice description of a bellwether "A bellwether is any entity in a given arena that serves to create or influence trends or to presage future happenings". I like that description. It's almost poetic.
Fred Thompson is a future happening? Well, he hasn't participated in one debate. He really hasn't done much to articulate a plan (a plan for anything I mean; Iraq, Iran, Bin Laden, Education, Social Security, the enviroment, the infrastructure, pick one). He also hasn't asked any hard questions.
He's an actor that does a good job of imitating important people. He must be the right guy for a future Republican candidate, no?
I actually like Fred Thompson's acting. He's good at playing confused important people. When he played the head of Dulles Airport in Die Hard I wanted to go out and have a beer with him. When he played the captain of the aircraft carrier in Red October he looked very upset and confounded. He ranted a little with the story progressing anyway.
I respect that in a faux-leader.
However it looks as though my neighbor's Tivo has been set to Law and Order once too often. As George W has shown us, we don't need anymore medicore or weak leaders in the oval office. It could potentially be another 8 years of us guarding OPEC's honey pot in the Middle East (and getting our troops and Iraqis killed in the process) and it could also lead to mass extinctions as well as the collapse of some silly institutions like public schools and social security. Poor leadership tends to cause death and havoc in too many places both here and abroad.
Actually of all the truly mediocre candidates the Republicans have to pick from, my Republican neighbor has picked the top mediocre candidate. Let us not forget he really is an attorney from Tennesee and was involved in the Watergate hearings, was in the Senate and he does think Scooter Libby is a heck of a guy.
I don't actually engage my neighbor in any discussion about politics. He's pleasant enough fellow although I do know he is quite active in the Republican party. It's a free country and he actually did me a huge service by letting me know who the next Republican actor will be to grab for the big role. Unfortunately the debate I would have with him would likely yield anxiety on both sides and fail to change either political thought direction or ideology. Somehow I do feel tied to my neighbor, probably because he let's his kids run down the same street we live on and our goals aren't too different. Just the choices we make on how we get to them. But our decisions really do define us, don't they?
I have to agree with one opinion from Bill Maher (not my neighbor) on our next leader/set of leaders: we need someone exceptional. Not ok, not pretty good but exceptional. Someone that has a higher level of intelligence, experience and skills than the rest of us. Someone that doesn't hang on a single event such as 9/11 as a driving factor in their political career. Maybe we don't need a career politician at all, maybe we need someone that's a private citizen that has good common sense and not much of an axe to grind.
You know, kind of like our founding fathers wanted; people from all walks of life that can give our governing body diversity and vision. Not all of our legislators need to be attorneys or members of the Skull and Bones society. Can we really keep using the naming convention of "leader" as applied to career politicians?
Now let's hope the Democrats can grow a pair of cajones before the elections and come up with some intelligent debate and discussion prior to Rove feeding Fred his lines. If we end up with another Republican in the Whitehouse the subway may be the only place we see art at all.