For the sake of democracy, politicians should not be idolized


Nate Taylor

Two of the most commonly idolized American politicians, Ocasio-Cortez and Trump, expand their fanbase through social media.

Laura Nowicki, Managing Editor

For centuries, humans have been captivated by the idea of idolizing one another. Whether it be a parent, a teacher, or a celebrity, children and adults alike often find themselves looking up to someone whom they admire. Idolizing someone else can help one achieve the motivation he/she needs to obtain a life similar to that of his/her idol. In recent years, there has been a spark in an unusual and potentially harmful form of this common practice: the glorification of U.S. politicians.

Since the emergence of social media, politicians have been able to exponentially increase their reach on the American people, to the point where they are able to directly connect with the public. While watching Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez play Among Us, Joe Biden and Barack Obama make friendship bracelets, or Donald Trump dancing at campaign rallies, it is easy to feel drawn to those who have shaped the country into what it is today. However, these innocent acts of relatability make some believe that their favorite politicians can do no wrong, which is where the problem emerges.

In recent years, the line dividing celebrities and politicians has blurred. Fanclubs, merchandise, and undying support have become a staple in not only Hollywood but in D.C. as politicians find themselves garnering a fanbase while they sell themselves and their image of innocence online. There is one key difference that separates the two: celebrities work for themselves, while politicians work for the people. Politicians represent their constituents, who voted for them to take control of the future of the country. In order for politicians to do their job well, they need to listen to those they represent. By listening to concerns and criticism as well as praise, they can perform their jobs to the best of their ability and set themselves up for re-election. However, this system becomes flawed as fans demonstrate their relentless support, failing to recognize the inevitable faults of those who represent them. 

Today, Democrats and Republicans are often seen arguing over who is the greatest president of all time. Though every president has his wrongdoings, some dedicated followers unconsciously ignore them, sometimes even going so far as to deny their existence altogether. Doing so prevents presidents from being held accountable for their actions. In order for a president to be great, backlash is necessary. If a president receives nothing but praise, his poor decisions will continue as he fails to gather the attention needed to eliminate them. America’s forefathers recognized the right to free speech and press in order for public opinions to be heard, which is integral toward the success of democracy.

The same goes for those in Congress; though they do not represent the entire country as a whole, they still must value the opinions of their constituents, who are the reason they possess the job in the first place. Instead, the more popular ones receive nothing but blind support from their dedicated fans. A notable example has emerged quite recently in the form of Democratic Senator Jon Ossoff, who garnered a fanbase on social media solely off of his good looks. Rather than monitoring Ossoff’s actions as one of the most important decision-makers in the country, Ossoff is met with unwavering praise for something that has nothing to do with his abilities as a politician. Both males and females are susceptible to an influx of popularity as fans continue to prioritize appearance over action.

The idolizing of politicians plays a heavy role in the increasing polarization between Democrats and Republicans. As fans continue to see nothing but the positives, the two sides become more divided as they refuse to see from the perspective of another. The right and the left have shifted from colleagues to competitors, mercilessly debating and failing to compromise, putting hopes of cooperation in jeopardy.

As U.S. citizens, it is essential to remember the enormous influence that politicians possess when it comes to the evolution of the country. Instead of idolizing politicians, praise them while valuing accountability. If one is informed on decisions being made and can identify whether he/she agrees with them or not, individuals will be able to criticize them when necessary; when politicians are able to receive feedback, they can choose to change their ways to please the public. If not, they are likely to be removed from office in the next election in exchange for someone who is more in touch with feedback, which will help the U.S. become the country that citizens want it to be. The future is in the hands of the people, and it’s time that Americans act like it.