Joe Kind: A Guy
Dear Governor Bush (or should I call you Jeb?) (or should I really just call you Jeb!),
Thank you so much for coming to Hanover this week for a town hall meeting. You made an impression on me and a hundred other audience members that evening in the Hanover Inn ballroom. The last time I had set foot in that room was for my friend’s sorority’s formal. The space had a much different vibe then. I was thrilled to see all the lights and the cameras up close and in person for the first time. Even the way the chairs were spaced, to create slightly curled rows and corridors for people to walk through like a community center or church — your event coordinators did a great job. I was so pleased to have a seat right under one of your large banners. I forget what the words said exactly, but it was something articulate and interesting, I am sure. I sent several Snapchats from the event to my parents before you began speaking — some of them selfies with this banner, and some video panoramas of the room — and my dad tried to save the photos and replayed every single video. Each video was a good ten seconds long, too. You can imagine how popular I felt while my phone was buzzing. You can also imagine how quickly the feeling of popularity slid away. Popularity is an elusive son of a gun, wouldn’t you say?
Now I worry a bit about how that joke comes off, but your remarks truthfully were so impressive and honest that I feel like you can take it. I really do. Like when you ascribed the lights going out every now and again to the discussion of Obamacare and all its problems. LOL! The whole room was genuinely laughing with you. And there was that other time when you began to explain the concept of a balanced budget using your arms for the geology students in the room — I think it was one of those “you had to be there” moments for people to really appreciate the wit.
Those pesky earth sciences and English graduate students really were something, weren’t they? I don’t know where they came from, either. Their questions were tough! You handled them very well, honestly. It was neat to see how much time you dedicated to questions in the first place. Most of the night consisted of you answering questions — you were not afraid to get in-depth with us, even though it was your fourth town hall meeting of the day. You must have been tired, but you never once sat down the entire night! I don’t know how you did it. You really ran through the entire gamut, taking questions from schoolteachers, small business owners, homeowners, mothers and veterans — plus Dartmouth undergraduate and graduate students and even an anthropology professor. No one held back, not even you. The event was spectacular.
I knew I was going to be treated to a show from the moment the two young elementary school girls began reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. They were mic’d up and ready to go, those talented little things. Nowhere near as over-the-top as those Trump girls. They did great. It was a great reminder to know we still got it after all these years. The two girls really did set the mood, and I think you fed off of their energy well. Your opening remarks might have been my favorite part of the entire evening. You got off to a terrific start that evening. I am not kidding when I say that. I filmed the last three minutes of it on my iPhone; I was that millennial in the left-hand corner of your eye on his iPhone all night long. I had friends to live-tweet at, what can I say. As soon as I am done writing this I plan to post the clip on YouTube. I think it has a shot at going viral. You really did sound like a president. I cannot say my filming skills are anything to brag about, but I assume one of the five or six filmmakers there got something good if I did not. My friends do make fun of me for taking poor-quality photos and videos.
When I came to Dartmouth three years ago, I did not know I was going to take so many classes about American politics. I have always found it important to stay updated on current events, and the presidential primaries have never counted as an exception to this rule. But one class led to another, and now I am graduating in a few short months with a bachelor’s degree in government. I am from San Francisco where politics are ingrained heavily into every-day conversations. People in my communities care a lot about local, state and national politics. But political debates, at least amongst those surrounding me, were pretty one-sided. A long-running joke at my independent high school was that it was a bigger deal to come out as a Republican than it was to come out as gay or lesbian. How’s that for San Francisco? You can surmise, then, how few conservative voices I heard growing up, let alone voices of conservative presidential candidates.
Your town hall meeting was a gift, Governor Bush. A gift that I had been waiting for since my first year here. Dartmouth’s location in a politically-minded community was part of my reasoning for choosing this school. I really did learn a lot from what you had to say, and I will continue to follow your campaign. The New Hampshire primary is this coming Tuesday, and as a more informed member of society able to vote as a New Hampshire citizen (pretty cool, yeah?), I cannot wait. Best of luck to you, Jeb!
Time to go upload that opening speech of yours.
Joe Kind, a Guy