Today I thought I’d bring a little something different to the table. Back in the middle of September, a friend approached me about helping him campaign for Freshman President of our university. Turns out writing majors are in demand for this sort of thing. Who knew? So, knowing nothing about what a Freshman President did or represented, I cracked my knuckles and started typing. (Curiously, I could find no mention of a James Madison University Freshman President, so there was no proof the position even existed.) Thus, these videos arose.
The Presidential Platform:
The Campaign Ad:
And, of course, the Acceptance Speech:
Just to clarify, that is not me giving those speeches (I have a cameo in one), but those are my words being spoken. I believe this could be the start of a new a movement, one where politics loses what little soul and relevance it still clings to and goes the way of the pundit. Representation based not off issues and the values of the voting populace, but instead entertainment, looks, appearances, humor, and vague ideals.
Why don’t we just drop what thin pretense remains and embrace the trends underlying politics for the last several decades? The Kennedy-Nixon debates, where the public was won over by the charismatic, young JFK on television despite the more compelling points made by Richard Nixon. Nixon himself won reelection against George McGovern in 1972 through his appeals to the “Silent Majority” and the nation’s patriotism. Only six years after our nation’s greatest tragedy; the loss (resignation) of America’s greatest executive, Ronald Reagan, the actor, takes office. And the pattern only continues into the twenty-first century with the master of improvisation, George W. Bush. (I always turn to videos of his gaffs when I need a pick-me-up.)
Indeed, I like to think of our government as a circus hiding under the guise of a theater. The actors squabble and bumble about, new ones promising to return energy to the production, old ones clinging to outdated ways. Some have learned their parts well and act in outstanding fashion, but they are inevitably eclipsed by the novices, the inept, whose words are remembered much longer. As the script demands, some are arbitrarily on one side, the others on the other, with scant few able to find middle ground. They “inherently” disagree, so that acts pass by with little change, the plot ending scarcely past where it started. Some in the audience wonder why they pay for this debacle, some wonder what casting director was insane enough to pick these characters. But they inevitably return night after night for the same spectacle, creating a catastrophe that is not only continuous, but legitimate (or representative).