Congresswoman (and surfer!) Tulsi Gabbard is on a bit of a media tour at the moment – recently stopping by Joe Rogan’s Los Angeles-area studio for a far-ranging interview about key issues the United States is facing and how she plans to address them if elected president. You know, typical fare for a candidate on the campaign trail.
In response to Rogan’s probe that one of American society’s most pervasive problems is its polarization along party lines, Gabbard recalls a feel-good story about her early days in Congress. Faced with the reality of being a newly-elected Democratic congresswoman in a Republican-controlled House, Gabbard astutely recognized she needed to make friends to put the issues her constituents cared about in front of her colleagues. So, she did what any freshman congresswoman from Hawaii with a family toffee business would do. She called up mom and asked if she’d put together macadamia toffee care packages for all 434 other members of the House and their staffs, which she obliged. So cute. And yet, also the markings of an adroit political operator.
You may wonder what an interview with a Democratic presidential candidate has to do with surfing, exactly? Well, Gabbard is the only surfer currently running for president. That alone shouldn’t qualify someone for the highest office in the land, but a life spent enjoying the ocean has endowed Gabbard with certain beliefs about the need to protect the planet. Her campaign has also garnered the support of Kelly Slater who said in an Instagram post months ago that Gabbard’s campaign was the first he’d ever made a donation to. This isn’t an endorsement, necessarily, so much as an observation.
Personally, I have yet to land on who I’m voting for come 2020 – not that I’d try to convince you one way or another. But what I can recommend is getting to know candidates thoroughly, taking time to understand what you like about their positions, and what you don’t, before coming to a final decision.
For decades, surfers have asked themselves, “What would the world look like if there were a surfer in the White House?” And Tulsi Gabbard’s candidacy might be our first true look at that reality.