The Most Important Story in America right now is, apparently, the fact that the White House has released a photo of President Obama shooting skeet. BuzzFeed notes that Team Obama is having fun with this:
Attn skeet birthers. Make our day - let the photoshop conspiracies begin! m.flickr.com/photos/whiteho…— David Plouffe (@davidplouffe) February 2, 2013
Me, I'm just tired of it. I'm tired of American politicians having to prove they're fit to hold office by shooting guns -- or demonstrating interest in any sporting activity they have a damn good reason not to care about.
I don't hunt. Why? Because I grew up in a large city (Boston) and live in another large city (New York). Barack Obama grew up mostly in Honolulu. He's lived since then in places such as New York, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. Of course he doesn't spend a lot of time shooting.
Gun lovers want us to understand and respect their culture. Hey, why don't you guys try understanding and respecting ours? If you say we shouldn't have contempt for your enjoyment of hunting and target shooting, well, fine, I accept that -- but you need to drop the contempt for those of us who didn't grow up with those recreations, and never developed a fondness for them. It just wasn't part of our culture, and that's OK.
I hate that U.S. pols, in order to seem "down to earth" (which most of them aren't), have to feign an interest in hunting or NASCAR (yeah, I even felt sorry for Mitt Romney to some extent, although his NASCAR comments were an unforced error).
I said some harsh things about Ed Koch yesterday, but I give him credit for never pretending to care about baseball the way his New York mayoral predecessors had generally been expected to do. He didn't care about the Yankees or the Mets, and yet even those of us who didn't like him much saw him as a genuine New Yorker. (He didn't love sports, but he loved street life and argumentation and good deli, so he obviously belonged here.) We seem to have stopped requiring baseball love of our mayors here, and I think that's good -- Rudy Giuliani's baseball fandom was sincere, but David Dinkins clearly preferred tennis, and Mike Bloomberg seems lukewarm (and he seems to still harbor some loyalty to the Red Sox). It's fine. We're grown-ups. Like what you like.
On the other hand, if we are going to require sports-love from our pols, I wish John Kerry had made more of his own hockey playing. These things are regional. We don't fully grasp NASCAR up in the Northeast because NASCAR developed out of the way bootleggers drove on back country roads. Much of the Northeast doesn't have back country roads. (Ever try driving the extremely narrow streets of Beacon Hill? You're not going to set any speed records there.) What we do have up here is ice. So an ice-based sport took root here, and Kerry played hockey. Show some cultural respect.