Tom Stangl

If it seems to you like campaigns for national political office never seem to end, you’re not alone. I think for at least 20 years now, the people in power haven’t switched from campaign mode to governing mode, where the parties work for the betterment of everyone.

It looks like this year is shaping up to be more of the same.

No, I’m not talking about the former president, I’m talking about Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson beginning his campaign for president.

The ex-professional wrestler turned actor’s latest television effort is currently airing Tuesday nights on NBC. The half hour sitcom, “Young Rock,” tells the story of Johnson’s life in segments, with different actors playing him at ages 10, 15 and 18.

The setup for the series is presidential candidate Johnson setting out to prove he is like the everyday American. He sits down for an interview with Randall Park, now a journalist, to discuss his childhood. Three of the eight-episode first season shows have aired, and I’m a fan.

The writing is family centric without being corny, funny without being mean. That’s no small feat in today’s media and entertainment landscape.

Johnson’s father was also a professional wrestler, a contemporary of Andre the Giant, Rick Flair and Rowdy Roddy Piper. The 10-year-old Johnson idolizes his father and his Hawaiian relatives. The 15-year-old, now living in Pittsburgh, tries to find ways to impress girls on a low budget. The 18-year-old works to find his place on the University of Miami football team.

Johnson has reinvented himself numerous times in his life and has always come across as a genuine and likeable person, in my opinion. This series reinforces that image and message to me.

As a recruit to the Miami Hurricanes, Johnson failed to unseat future NFL star Warren Sapp. A knee injury ended his football ambitions. His grandmother was a pro wrestling promoter in Hawaii and Johnson’s father wrestled for Vince McMahon in the early WWE.

“Young Rock” gives off a “The Wonder Years” vibe for children of the 1980s and ‘90s. Pro wrestling fans will either love or hate the portrayals of icons like Andre the Giant, Rick Flair and Rowdy Roddy Piper.

The show is like pro wrestling to me. I know much of it is staged and the ending is a foregone conclusion, but I can’t help but watch and be entertained.

Johnson and his ex-wife purchased the defunct XFL football league and plan to bring it back to life next year. His production company is one of the creators of “Young Rock.”

“Young Rock” helps me to want a leader like Dwayne Johnson as president. Someone who came from humble beginnings, worked hard to overcome numerous obstacles and become a success. Yes, I know this is the basic plot for nearly every novel, play, movie and television show of the past century. There’s a reason stories like this resonate with many of us — they are the essence of what being an American is all about.

I have no doubt Dwayne Johnson may have political ambitions. You have to have a fairly healthy ego to want to get involved in politics, especially on a national level. Former actor Ronald Reagan got elected to the highest office in the nation, twice. I’m fairly certain Dwayne Johnson can do the same.

If he does, especially in 2032, it will cap off a very long and calculated effort.

As always, I welcome your comments. You can reach me by email at tstangl@theameryfreepress.com, telephone 715-268-8101 or write me at P.O. Box 424, Amery, WI, 54001.

Thanks for reading. I’ll keep in touch. Feel free to do the same. 

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