If Facebook statuses were votes, we’d have quite the election
It’s getting to be that time again. As the election draws closer and important political debates begin, we can look forward to ridiculous and uneducated series of comments and pictures about each candidate all across the internet.
The best thing about this country is that we all can have our own opinion, and that we’re all allowed to speak our minds. This also can be a huge pain in the ass. After Wednesday’s debate, I signed onto Facebook to be a normal procrastinating college student. Bombarded by hundreds of politically fueled (and mostly left wing, as I’m in Massachusetts) statuses, I realized just how little people actually listened to the debates. I also realized that I my Shakespeare paper was more important than RomBama memes.
Getting caught on the smallest and most pointless aspects of a debate, people took the meaningless and tried to give it life.
The big one was Big Bird. Seriously, there is an important debate about the future of our country, and all you care about is a stupid yellow bird? I don’t think anyone has said it better than my roommate and good friend Ryan Kaplan:
Classic America. An interesting, informative, important debate happens that will decide the future of our country and all people latch on to is an off-hand comment about a Sesame Street character.
Well said sir, well said.
Being me, I cannot and will not tell you my political affiliations in this post, mainly because I don’t have any. When we have candidates running that I feel can and will actually do something about this country, that’s when you’ll see stickers on my car and opinionated posts in my name.
I’m not saying that these candidates won’t do anything, but I just don’t feel like they’ll honestly offer the change they so avidly promise. And it’s nothing personal against them, it’s just the nature of the game.
Where are the good candidates? Where are the JFK’s and FDR’s? I think more importantly, where are the Andrew Jackson’s and Teddy Roosevelt’s? I think I’d choose a president who has won duels (note, plural) or partakes in big game hunting any day over the ivy league educated and squeaky clean we see now. Teddy Roosevelt went as far as to make his own “Bull Moose” party, and finished a speech with a bullet in him. FDR ran the free world from a wheel chair. Andrew Jackson shot his way to the top, and JFK was both a war hero and a sex idol.
What did they all have in common? None of that they did would be socially acceptable today. JFK smoked weed, Teddy Roosevelt shot endangered animals, Andrew Jackson shot people. And then you have the uncontrollable issues such as JFK and FDR’s health. No one would vote for president today who didn’t seem like he was in top health for his age. Look at the comments people made about McCain’s health when he ran against Obama. I heard countless quips about his frailty (due to his being a prisonder of war for 5 1/2 years in Vietnam) being a noticeable problem to voters. With today’s social transparency, it’s impossible to have a “real” candidate run for president.
What I mean by real is normal. Normal people have flaws. Flaws that are either controllable or out of their hands. That’s what makes them normal. It’s the flaws that create a character, create opinion, passion. Some of the best leaders of the western world were drinkers and bastards, but they got things done. Some of the best men were the worst people.
Real people cannot run for office because those flaws will be taken, magnified, and cast all over the web and television. In place of character and personality is a built up squeaky clean reputation, something the public won’t have to critically think about. It’s also something that just isn’t natural.
Now I’m not saying we should vote for whichever candidate can butt chug the most cheap vodka or who has the shortest life expectancy, but I do think we should take a better look at them as people. With the knowledge of everyone’s secrets out in the open thanks to new technology and social media it’s easy to distance ourselves and only see them as figures, not as actual human beings. We get hung up on the small idiosyncrasies instead of looking at the big picture: who the hell is this guy?
To give a more personal approach, think back to your teachers in school. I bet most of you had one or two teachers you absolutely hated. Rude, mean, cold, heartless in grading…I’m sure everyone has had one. And while you may have hated them as a person, I’m damn sure you learned a lot in that class. I know I did.
Senior year of high school, honors English. My teacher, not a mean spirited person, but one of the hardest teachers in the school. Although she had the potential to be sweet outside the school grounds, in the classroom she was near heartless. Was she nice to me? Not really. Would she ever cut us a break? Hell no. She wasn’t afraid to call someone out, embarrass them if they didn’t do their reading. So did I do my reading? Damn straight. And I actually put a lot of effort into my research project that year, landing a decent grade and learning how to efficiently research and take notes on a subject. MLA format is now pretty basic to me too, something I’ve had college professors take note in my usage in essays. I left that school learning more in that class than I did almost all my other English classes combined. Granted, it wasn’t stuff I cared about learning, but it’s come in handy later on. Oh and now I’m an English major at my university, and I think about that class a lot.
So what am I getting at here? What I’m saying is, sometimes it’s the less like able people that actually do the most for you. Today we view politics as a popularity contest, similar to class president and superlatives in high school, but what we really should be looking at is the bigger picture of what they actually can and will make the American people accomplish. I don’t care if my president puts on a fake smile and offers be a back rub when I meet him. I’d rather have an anti social hard ass who turned this country back into the great nation it was and would make fun of me under his breath as he walked away after I shook his manly and uncaring hand.
I honestly don’t care where someone’s from, what they’ve done or not done, or where they went to school. When it comes to a leader, I don’t care about how they look, how they sound or how unrealistically clean their lives seem. I care about their character, their morality, and whether or not they’d take the challenge of a duel if it was presented before them.