During the second presidential debate in St Louis, there were many talking points and issues shared between the two candidates. But if the internet is to be believed, the biggest presence at the debate was a completely ordinary man name Kenneth Bone.
During the debate a chubbier balding man wearing a red sweater asked an uninteresting question about coal energy and then remained quiet. Perhaps it was his name, his distinctive choice in fashion, or his completely average middle-Americanism, but soon twitter was glowing with discussion and fandom for the “#BoneZone”. CNN called him “the man who won the second presidential debate.”
The media might be tempted to file Bone as a nonsense internet meme. Similar to “Dat Boi” or the messianic cult of Harambe the Gorilla, but Bone is more than that. Ken Bone is a symbol of dissatisfaction with the political election. Ken Bone is a placing of ordinary working class people above politicians. The portly undecided voter is not a non-answer to politics. He is the answer.
After his initial appearance, we’ve learned a lot about Ken, and this has only deepened the internet’s fascination with the mustachioed Missourian. A worker at a coal plant, a former drummer in a christian rock band, and a volunteer and supporter of local homeless charity the St. Patrick Center. (He’s since promoted the charity in interviews and proceeds for all of his merchandise and products he’s endorsed go to it.)
In interviews, Bone has shown a humility, an open mindedness and a sense of humor which the race has been severely lacking. In a Q&A session on the website Reddit, Bone explained “I’m sorry you’re confused, Ken Bone is the cable knit sweater wearing a fat guy.”
The obvious question is whether Mr Bone is running for president, with only weeks remaining in the race. Unfortunately Bone has explained why he can’t. “I know I look old cause I’m fat and bald and dress like it’s 1954, but I’m only 34 and ineligible to run! There are over 2000 legally registered candidates… Get your voice out there for one of them.”
In this cutthroat race, though, no-one has gone unscathed, and yes that includes even Ken Bone. In the same QnA he did on reddit, he used his usual browsing account, revealing in his long posting history two off color jokes and a defense of Trayvon Martin killer George Zimmerman. Questioned on the blunder Bone said “It was a bad call. I need to fire my agent, except I can’t because I’m my agent.”
Unlike our politicians though, Ken Bone has owned up for his mistakes. He’s apologized for the jokes, and explained his comment about Zimmerman came not from a place of malice but his understanding of the law. Even if the media says otherwise, Bone hasn’t done anything you wouldn’t forgive in a friend.
One of the most admirable actions by Bone has been not to reveal his voting decision. “I’m close, but I will not be announcing my decision. I want you to all make up your own minds.” Bone isn’t arrogant enough to speak for anyone else, and his newfound fame doesn’t change anything for him. At every turn, after every question and every peek into his life, Bone has proven to be a better symbol of an America we should strive for, than anything the two candidates have brought up. #BoneZone.