Gray In L.A.: Beer With Bernie & Cupcakes With Hill


I live in Los Angeles, where anything can happen, even to gray-haired people (like me and Bernie Sanders). And it did. Two weeks ago, when Mr. Sanders visited our lovely city, two topless young women who called themselves "equal rights activists" instead of "clueless exhibitionists" showed their love for Bernie with naked skin (easy in our climate!). Bernie brings out gushy giddy love, he can't help it. Hillary, in contrast, gets showered with unmitigated hatred, denigration and sexist put-downs like poor "Carrie" with oxblood.

America is obsessed with love & hate. Mostly at the same time, which is typical for two of the strongest adversarial emotions humans seem to have. Either or. Love Bernie, hate Hillary. "Socialist" old Jewish East Coast guy versus overachieving, conniving bitch who greedily reaches for the crown that she can't have and doesn't deserve. Beyoncé backs Hillary, Susan Sarandon backs Bernie. Moviegoers back Batman v Superman big time. Can't love two heroes or even regular people at the same time! So let's go for folksiness and approachability.

Today I came across some Randy on a "Vote for Hillary" Facebook page that explained why he hates Hillary, and why Bernie is his lovable buddy for President. "This is the guy I'd love to sit down in a pub and have a beer with." Oh, how exiting! And then what? So the next time -- as president -- when it's about terrorists, rape on campus, refugees in Europe and shootouts in a black church, and Bernie is a little less presidential than anticipated by his fans, the male logic would be: "But he's a real nice guy to have a beer with?" (Whip out the cupcakes, Hillary!)

But that's only the guy view. Now, with the help of those impressionable young women, bespectacled Bernie is made into a cuddly cult-figure that has the new wonder-word "socialist" attached to it, just like the elbow patches on his corduroy jacket from the 70s I'm sure he has in his closet. Bumbling Bernie has the "advantage" of being much like a nerdy Woody Allen character. His shtick is the slightly crotchety older guy, climbing out of his dusty cabin in Vermont, being nothing fancy, just caring and intelligent, a guy, voters feel drawn to. The latter not being crucial for a president but very good for the lovability factor among young women with a daddy thing. Hillary remains someone like the frustrated Frosty Queen with a real whip.

I grew up in the 1960s -- so I'm all for "love" for everybody and everything, the hippie way (which I was/am). Except for politics and presidents.

"I love Bernie" is said in a smiling, offbeat way, implying not only innate trust but also forgiveness for his foibles. He's not perfect, and why should he? We aren't either. "I love Hillary" -- in contrast -- sounds almost grim, as there's an element of caution in this reluctant admission, and of course, the willingness to criticize. Women always criticize other women. Men sweep women (and men) off their feet with nothing but their gender, strong women have to fight for affection, adoration and love.

Now comes the big question: Why should they? Why does anybody need to fight for something so humanly average? But the bigger question is here: Why do we have to "love" our presidents and therefore are reduced to -- as the song goes -- "A teenager in love"?

So the lesson is here: having a beer with a candidate dude or noshing on cupcakes with the female contender -- something Hillary is surely willing to do -- does NOT make an informed or intelligent voter or a perfect and "lovable" president.

The reality check would reveal that for being a president one needs to be a special animal; sharp, clever, resilient, driven, unwavering, über-capable. In short: an action-hero. Next to Hollywood's action heroes, everything pales. Batman v Superman was the biggest box office opening EVER.

So Hillary is up against a major stumbling block. She is neither Batman nor Superman, not Thor, Lorna, the Jungle Queen, Darth Vader or the Prince of Darkness -- she is barely Wonder Woman, or even Supergirl. She is a flawed, talented woman with a bad helmet-hairdo and dowdy clothes, too ungainly to fly, but incredibly experienced and intelligent, trustworthy enough as far as presidents go, with a dash of aggression and a no-nonsense can-do attitude.

I like that in friends, in people, in women especially -- and I would like it in my president. Love and hate are fine for movies, art, architecture, fashion, and food. Love for presidents? Just make sure they can do the job the best, fair, righteous way -- which no one has and no one will ever manage completely, by the way.

Still, there are two things I have in common with Bernie Sanders: gray hair and the same astrological sign. But I don't hate or "love" him -- or Hillary. And I don't need to.

"GRAY IN L.A." is a humorous weekly column about surviving Los Angeles as a Single with style and bravery.

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