In the middle of August past, CNN’s Ms. Kate Bolduan grew visibly emotional when discussing a young boy in a war-torn Syrian city that was pulled from rubble, where his house once stood, alive but in shock following an airstrike. The 5 year-old was named Omran and the image of him – dirty, bloody and sitting alone in the back of an ambulance not crying – went viral and ended up on the front-pages of news media properties worldwide.
Omran’s home in Aleppo, which was once a vibrant commercial district, is now a location where continuous fighting occurs between the Syrian government and rebels; just today the government and their allies captured new ground on the edge of the contested northern city of Aleppo, a news report states.
Aleppo, a subject not raised last night during NBC News’ Commander-in-Chief Forum with Mr. Donald Trump and Mrs. Hillary Clinton, did, however, come up this morning when, on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Mr. Mike Barnicle asked Mr. Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party’s nominee for President of the United States of America, what he would do, if elected, about the Syrian city.
“And what is Aleppo?,” replied Mr. Johnson, who’s the former Governor of New Mexico and a supporter of legal recreational marijuana.
The gaffe quickly went viral and then Gary Johnson, Aleppo and later #AleppoGate began trending on Twitter. Mr. Johnson, who admitted he blanked on the question and thought Aleppo was an acronym for something, told the ladies of The View that it’s fair if people view his gaffe as disqualifying. Many Twitter users mocked Mr. Johnson, who as Libertarian believes in minimal military intervention abroad, and, indeed, they considered his lack of knowledge on foreign affairs disqualifying.
But just as much as #AleppoGate may have proven Mr. Johnson unfit for office, it revealed, in my opinion, a characteristic I think that makes for a good president: a willingness to admit you’re not the smartest person in the room and then attempt to better yourself by learning from those around you. Sure, Mr. Johnson, if wanting to be perceived as a credible candidate, should know about the tensions in Aleppo. However, when you consider that Mr. Trump, the Republican nominee for the presidency, is clueless on almost everything government-protocol related and that Mrs. Clinton, a former secretary of state, claims to not have known the “C” at the beginning of paragraphs in communications emailed to her meant confidential, Mr. Johnson’s gaffe not only fits in with the current climate of cluelessness but also it isn’t that disqualifying at all; if anything, it humanized him in a way that a television advertisement never could.
Of course Mr. Johnson, who’s polling in double-digits in most states, is likely not going to make it onto the debate stages and it’s even more unlikely that he’ll be elected President. But Mr. Johnson today has offered the 2016 race for the presidency something it’s been missing: candor that doesn’t offend and truth minus equivocation, and for that, shouldn’t we credit him?
Thanks for reading. Until next time, I’m Flood the Drummer® & I’m Drumming for JUSTICE!™
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