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Elliott Serrano Presents:

Ever hear that old adage ‘In America, anyone can grow up to be President?’

It’s corny, to be sure, but for a while there, I really used to believe it. Work hard, do your homework, get good grades, and hey, maybe be President one day. It’s something that any boy or girl should be able to dream about. But these days, I’m not so sure if that’s true anymore.

(Not that I’d want to be President anyway. If I could hold any position, it’d be Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. The perks are cooler - flying cars and a staff that has more than a few hotties in tight leather suits - and you get to hold your own secret war from time to time without some Senate sub-committee getting on your behind.)

Sure, with the Presidential election almost a year away there has been plenty of debate over the type of person who would be most qualified to assume the office of the most powerful person in the free world. Invariably the discussion has devolved into the basest of arguments: should the next president be a woman - Hillary Clinton; an African-American male – Barack Obama; a Mormon – Mitt Romney; or a leprechaun – Dennis Kucinich. Each of these candidates has been considered by the media, as well as the political establishment, as viable candidates. But most recently, a grave injustice was dealt to one of America’s emerging minorities, leading many to ask: Is America ready for a geek president?

That question would be asked when the Lord of the Geeks declared his candidacy for President of the United States of America. His name: Stephen Colbert.

For those who live without basic cable or can’t stay up passed most kids’ bedtimes, Stephen Colbert is the star of Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report. Any nerd worth his salt knows that TCR, as it’s referred to by its many rabid viewers, is a spin-off of The Daily Show, Jon Stewart’s sly and sardonic ‘fake news’ show. Whereas The Daily Show mocks the news media, TCR is a send-up of political pundit shows like The O’Reilly Factor, with Colbert playing a self-aggrandizing politico who bases his opinions entirely on what his ‘gut’ tells him, regardless of what the facts may be. This led to Colbert’s coining of the term ‘truthiness’, defined as ‘truth that comes from the gut, not books.’ The humor on TCR is sometimes so dry, so subtle, that some casual channel-flippers stumble across TCR and just don’t get it, taking the show and the character at face value. But hard-core TCR fans, dubbed ‘The Colbert Nation,’ know the real truth, that under all the boisterous skewed political rants, lies the heart and soul of a true geek.

He has engaged George Lucas in a lightsaber duel. He has ‘written’ his own sci-fi magnum opus Alpha Squad 7: Lady Nocturne: A Tek Jansen Adventure. He’s received Captain America’s shield from Joe Quesada. And he’s had Aragorn (Viggio Mortensen reprising his role from the Lord of the Rings trilogy) implore him to run for President of the United States of America.

Yeah, that’s right. Freakin’ ARAGORN!

Shortly thereafter, Colbert started a tour promoting his book I AM AMERICA (AND SO CAN YOU!) and teased that most political figures who release books during an election cycle do so to hype their own candidacy for POTUS. He kept pace with the trend by declaring on TCR that he would, indeed, run for president.


He would run as both a Democrat AND a Republican.

And only in his home state of South Carolina.

The mainstream media didn’t know how to take it? Was this a joke? Or was Colbert readying himself to play this year’s Ralph Nader to any presidential hopefuls in SC? The opinions were varied and vociferous, with cheers of support and cries of derision being hurled at the jester who would be king (at least in his home state).

And really, what did Colbert hope to accomplish? Obviously he wasn’t really going for the Presidency, that result being as likely as getting superpowers from the bite of an irradiated insect. Was he trying to stir debate? Was he trying to cajole the political system that has disenfranchised young voters year in and out? Or was it just a joke that most folks didn’t get?

In the end, the ones who didn’t ‘get the joke’ (or got it all to well), the South Carolina Democratic Party, had the last laugh. With a 13-3 vote, they denied Stephen Colbert’s inclusion on the Democratic ballot and brought to an end the most colorful and controversial candidacy for president since Mark Twain’s. They also demonstrated that the American political system, as laughable as it can be, doesn’t like to be in on the joke that it often is.

Though one can’t help but wonder what would it have been like having a geek for President? One could imagine the Oval Office with Captain America’s shield hanging on the wall. Or the President’s desk with Gollum and Frodo action figures sitting next to the Presidential Stationary locked in an eternal struggle for the Ring that Rules Them All.

I guess that’s all just wishful thinking for now. As the SCDP has already demonstrated, America is just not ready for a geek president.

E.R. Serrano

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