America’s bromantic culture
Published: Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, April 24, 2012 16:04
Spring conjures up thoughts of baseball, new life, and of course love. Thusly, I figured it was time to take a break from the bloodsucking sport of politics and consider its lighter side – that being, the Political bromance.
As elections come and go and policies both foreign and domestic enthrall the public, we get the chance to observe unique relationships between men taking part in political processes.
Movies have celebrated the bromance for years. Take for instance Paul Newman and Robert Redford in “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” Tony Curtis and Sidney Poitier in “The Defiant Ones,” or Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman in “The Shawshank Redemption.” All of these classic movies highlight that special relationship between two guys who survive a lot of crap together.
As far as crap goes, where are you going to find more crap than in the world of politics? If two guys can survive a political process or battle together then who are we to forego celebrating it? Here’s to some of the greatest political bromances of all time.
First we have a bromance triangle. As a history major, I couldn’t leave these founding fathers off the list. George Washington spent hours upon hours keeping the peace between two of his top advisors. Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson and Secretary of Treasurey Alexander Hamilton held completely opposite views on everything from foreign policy to economics. Yet the three of them managed to get a new government on its feet and to establish what we now know as Washington D.C.
Beware though how rarely bromance triangles survive. After Jefferson worked to undermine Hamilton’s efforts to set up a national credit system to financially strengthen the country, an upset Washington refused to forgive Jefferson and apparently never spoke to him again.
Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant opposed each other during the Civil War. Both were graduates of West Point, Lee at the top of his class and Grant 21st out of 39. When the war ended, Grant eventually went on to become a U.S. President while Lee became the President of Washington College. The two continued to have great admiration and respect for each other throughout their remaining years. It is rumored that Lee refused to allow anyone to make any negative remarks about Grant in his presence.
The continent spanning bromance between President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill is legendary. Their relationship started before the U.S. entered the war and continued until their deaths. Roosevelt once wrote to Churchill, “It is fun to be in the same decade with you.” Now that’s bromance at its best.
Another globe spanning political bromance is that of Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev. Anyone who views Reagan’s 1987 “Tear down this wall” speech and doesn’t get chills is just, well, I don’t know. Clearly Gorbachev got chills, because not long after, he and Reagan signed the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty that banned an entire class of nuclear weapons.
Gorbachev went on to say that Reagan was “a great president” who was “instrumental in bringing about the end of the Cold War.” Many saw their friendship and respect for each other as the culmination of their shared desire for peace.
We cannot very well discuss political bromances without mentioning former President Bill Clinton and his Vice President, Al Gore. Who can forget the videos of the two jogging together through a damp spring in Washington D.C., much like the one we’re experiencing in this Washington?
Who wouldn’t be touched by the younger and more physically fit Gore slowing so that his new boss could stay ahead of him? And think of all the mulligans Gore allowed Clinton on the golf course. Granted, Gore did get something in return. After all, not once did Clinton criticize Gore for pretending that he invented the internet.
If historical political bromances aren’t your thing, you can still enjoy some of the best fictional ones of all time. Simply watch the original Star Wars series on DVD.
Han Solo and Chewbacca epitomize the best political bromance in space as they struggle to help Princess Leia, Luke, and the Rebel Alliance overthrow the oppressive and evil Galactic Empire. If you can’t feel Chewbacca’s pain when he howls soulfully at Han Solo who’s being frozen in carbonite then you have no heart.