The Politico

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 The actors squabble and bumble about, new ones promising to return energy to the production, old ones clinging to outdated ways.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).

Demand more.

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2 thoughts on “The Politico

  1. I know someone who will be writing my mayoral speeches! I strongly agree with your writing; the “fickle mob” of modern America separates itself from real problems in much the same way that I procrastinate doing schoolwork. When given the choice between hearing about Serbian genocide and hearing about which celebrities are splitting up, most people choose to hear about the celebrities. People do not want to be constantly reminded of how terrifying our world really is, and would rather be temporarily distracted by celebrity gossip or the latest fashion trends. These trends have been present ever since the dawn of man. When the people of Rome became upset, the emperor would have a gladiator tournament. When the people of Topeka, Kansas were starving during the Great Depression, they went to watch the Grapes of Wrath and The Wizard of Oz, propelling Hollywood to its current status. It is because of this attitude that a majority of voters will vote for the candidate who entertains them and appears attractive and trustworthy, not the candidate that has the best plans for the future. Your article here strongly resonates with your previously posted poem regarding media coverage of petty things vs. dark events that actually have a large impact on current events.

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    • Absolutely, good sir! You hit the nail on the head with those examples. I believe there’s something telling in these trends that we’ve both picked up on, a defect within society itself. The advent of cellphones as the nexus of our own digital worlds has seemed to turn us a culture inward-looking, only focusing on our own gains and issues. Of course, this has only been aggravated by the 2007 Recession, which in our current economic doll drums forces everyone to compete ferociously for employment. Viewing ourselves as one against thousands, we lose a sense of unity with our fellow citizens and indeed gain a focus on our well being as the one and only issue of relevance. In post-9/11 America, commitment to such vague ideals as patriotism and national security, facilitated by our leaders, has blinded us further to issues beyond ourselves, both social and economic. We are losing a sense of consciousness as a whole, which can be seen in voter apathy and loss of faith in such institutions as Congress. It is my firm belief that the path to a better future will only be open once this trend is reversed.

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