Once upon a time a government represented a democracy. Now, it seems that it is a norm that the government suppresses democracy. It’s a norm that corporate PAC money has more influence over an election than experience or education.
There’s a reason there’s so much corruption in democracy and a good part of that reason is that there are a lot of questions very intelligent people don’t ask. We know we can’t trust the news, the banks or the politicians but we don’t care why. This is a norm and it’s what we’ve been handed so we must just make it work somehow. Therefore, we don’t need truth, or trust or leadership because to us it’s not reality.
What we do know however is red versus blue. Complete polarisation. We pick one and ride with it. We allow it to inhabit our identity and don’t question the complications of it. Political identity has just become too powerfully opposed to see any parallels. Opinions not only drive the stock market but the ineffable being of political identities.
When we think of the characteristics of a good leader, we seem tempted to value success over empathy. We automatically associate powerful positions with cut-throat mentalities and a sense of individualism. This has lead to a rise in populism and nationalism, which has bread a machine of a government that’s built like some sort of secret society, where members will represent you only if you play into their personal agendas.
When it comes to such political-elite-driven-dynamics, we don’t question if they were born into it for one. We don’t question the power of a last name and therefore assume the intentions are to lead team blue or red. We don’t question the fact that their intentions are usually self imposed. Yet we call this a democracy.
As we lead up to November, it is important to bare in mind job descriptions. Where most jobs require a bachelors degree at the minimum, you only need a passport to be the President of the United States.
But in 2018, something happened in Congress that shook this system. A recent Boston University-Graduate with a degree in Economics and International Affairs, who started in politics by interning in the office of Ted Kennedy was voted into congress by a campaign that did not take any contributions from any corporations. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez challenged the system with a grassroots campaign which was targeted on getting young people of colour to vote during New York’s 2018 Primaries. These groups are often not the priority to political campaigning, as they historically show consistent low voting turnout.
AOC, along with the new wave Democratic party, are aiming to bring the voices of the working-class inside the White House – and breakdown any elite-driven agenda. AOC often faces (highly sexist) criticism for her ‘lack of experience’ when it comes to politics, however some would argue her positioning as a student from a working-class background and achievement of becoming the youngest Congresswomen to enter the Whitehouse should be more validated. In comparison to the US President who; never fought in the Vietnam war after a medical deferment disqualified him from military deployment and paid a legal team to bar his former schools from releasing his academic results.
Before Trump, no President had ever been elected without a background in government. So it’s safe to say now that there is no specific standard for politicians, which explains the peril. Healthcare being the most relevant example. For healthcare should be the most important factor to American voters given the current climate. Still, rather than being sold as aid, American healthcare is sold as an accessory to a winning or losing party.
The power of the grassroots movement provides a sense of proof that we cannot continue finger-pointing at the system, for it is not the problem when we think of peril postmodern politics. Not having an education or experience never mattered to the US presidency. It’s the voters who make the final decision, not the system.
The problem is our definition of leadership when think of what makes a decent politician, for it’s easier to blame the system rather the leader when things go wrong.
Despite red, blue, left or right – during these peril times, we have to admit there is bad leadership in from our President and in our Congress. For the system built by our founding fathers is not broken – just misunderstood. We are broken because we do not have any trust or faith in the experience from our leaders. We are broken because we don’t see anything bipartisan or collaborative in politics – just an us and them narrative.
The job description of a politician represents the disconnect between the “unrepresented political class,” and the society of voters it alludes to represent. The right side has become radically more conservative than it was 50 years ago, and the left equally as partisan. As we head into November, this imposes a new question, do the leaders or their experience even matter when political ideologies themselves lack so much collaboration, bipartisan policies and representation?
Photo: Marco Oriolesi via Unsplash