Celebrities and politicians shouldn’t be one and the same.
As a result of the 24-hour news cycle, America’s political process has quickly become sensationalized. Our focus has rapidly shifted to the characters involved in politics, instead of the issues they speak for, giving some politicians a ‘celebrity’ status. This has no benefit to the common man, so we should be calling for a shift towards issue-based politics instead of the discussion about personality we are facing now.
During the 2016 election, most of the focus was on the personalities of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton instead of their policy points. While they were obviously very polarizing figures, that consumed their campaigns to a fault. The discussion remained around who was more hated, instead of who would benefit the American people more, and it is still that way today.
In the dialogue surrounding the Trump presidency, people are consistently either completely for or against every action made, when in reality, there are positive and negative consequences on both sides of the issue. Opinions are based exclusively on the personality of the president and those around him, instead of the actions they are actually taking, and those who aren’t to the extreme right or left get crucified by others for being morally weak.
Instead of this focus on the people who are running, we should be talking more about what they stand for. Discussions about policies have seeped into the controversy around the people, but the issues that are brought up are on the more dynamic side. Trump’s wall, for example, was a major topic during his campaign, exclusively because of the absurdity of it. This has resulted in our politicians becoming caricatures of their parties and themselves, which can only result in harm, because it won’t truly reflect America.
Whether you love or hate these leaders, they will often have beliefs that are more accessible to the common man; yet, when a Democrat mentions that Trump’s changing of the tax plan may have some benefits to American business, they are branded as a traitors to their party. When Republicans stand more left of center on social issues, or aren’t completely supportive of the Second Amendment, they become outcasts. Most Americans identify as centrist, but our political climate doesn’t reflect that.
We need to get back to the roots of what democracy is supposed to be: looking at the issues and not the people in front of them. Yet we seem to be drifting even further away. In their attempts to combat the seemingly unstoppable Donald Trump, Democrats are touting Oprah as a potential candidate. Though she is approachable, she has no political experience, and her political beliefs are vaguely existent at best. Instead of simply trying to create a more outrageous candidate than Trump, the Democrats should truly look at the issues that matter to the American people, instead of the celebrities that matter most to them.
In this age of divisive politics, more than ever, America needs to unify. The only way we can do this is by acknowledging the flaws in our system, and pushing for change. Instead of touting our politicians as characters, we should humble them. Present them as real people, with complex beliefs, and they will appeal to America. Maybe then, we will begin to come together.