I keep seeing these ads on social media for contests where one can win the chance to have a normal human interaction with a presidential candidate and here is why I think that is a bad thing
Elizabeth Warren is a senator from Massachusetts who is currently running for the Democratic Party’s nomination for the 2020 Presidential Election. I have very little interest in Ms. Warren and I generally do not agree with her strategy politically and I very likely will not vote for her in the primaries leading up to the 2020 Presidential Election unless the vote is between her and the police woman or the senile one. Elizabeth Warren does not really spark any sort of emotion for me. She seems like a typical politician who probably would be alright as a representative.
But under no circumstances would I want to have a beer (or tea, or coffee, or whatever) with her. I would like this post to formally act as my request to the PR team surrounding Elizabeth Warren’s campaign to stop showing me the advertisement about the contest where they offer a lucky supporter to travel somewhere and have a conversation with Ms. Warren over a beverage. I do not want this.
My quibbles with this are based in a larger overall frustration I have with American electoral politics: the paradoxical celebritization and everymanning of candidates. Any given candidate must be both a celebrity and your best friend. Modern (particularly Democratic Party) politicians have to tread the line between a sun-touched demi-god blessing us with their mere existence and a chum you wanna drink three Bud heavies with and pass out on the couch playing Halo 2 before you have to wake up and go work at the Red Lobster tomorrow morning.
Neither of these things are things that you should want from a politician.
A politician is not a celeb, reader. Treating a politician as a celeb is a dangerous route to travel down. The functions the celeb and the politician are fundamentally different and incompatible. A person who becomes a celebrity has done something worthy of acclaim. Kanye made Graduation. David Beckham scored that goal against Sevilla. Ashlee Simpson stole our hearts as Cecilia on Seventh Heaven. The world’s two fattest twins took that cool pic on the mopeds. These works build up a sense of credibility and trust we have with the celebrity, which leads to fandom. I think celebrity fandom, when kept to a healthy level, is fine. The fan gets to enjoy some enriching work of art or sport or something, and the celeb gets attention and money.
Yet, when Kanye makes that song with Lil Pump, or David Beckham tries to open up a soccer team in an empty overgrown field, or Ashlee Simpson comes out to the wrong song, or the two fattest twins… Well, maybe they’ve never done wrong. But still, when a celeb does something bad, when they make a career-level boo-boo, generally, the damage is limited to an embarrassing moment and a mediocre work. Being a fan of a celeb has relatively low stakes.
But when, say, I dunno, Joseph Biden makes a career-level boo-boo, thousands of people are wrongfully incarcerated and the prisons end up overpopulated. This is part of the job. Decisions like that, potentially disastrously consequential decisions, are necessary in national-level politics. The stakes are high.
But that’s why politicians are politicians, not celebs. If you let yourself become a ‘fan’ of a politician, and you treat them like you would treat a celebrity, you will tend towards the side of forgiveness even in the case of the heinous consequences which are a natural part of their job.
And, besides, even if somebody is a celeb, I don’t want to grab a beer with them.
For one, the phrase “grab a beer with…” triggers that disgusted cacophonous disgusted response in my brain the way the phrase “moist” and “panties” or a combination of the two does for other people. I think it’s the prominent Rs and Bs in the phrase, coupled with the fact that beer is something you put in your mouth which makes you throw up later if you have too much of it that just… ugh. Don’t care for it.
Also, “Let’s grab a beer” sounds like something that somebody trying to pretend to be a normal person says. It’s like Mark Zuckerberg repeating “smoking these meats”. Normal people would say “let’s go to a bar” or “let’s get a drink”. Specifying that they’re getting beer strikes me as a decision based on market research which show that beer is an everyman drink while wine or cocktails are typically associated with the upper classes that the politicians are pretending not to associate with while still accepting donations.
And, to be fair – that is precisely what politicians are. They are pretending to be normal people because their job kind of depends upon it. The above image of Lindsey Graham post-direct-downward-pour-of-beer-into-a-pint-glass exemplifies that. The video of Elizabeth Warren struggling to describe getting a bottle of beer from her refrigerator the way a normal person would exemplifies that. For whatever reason, campaign staffers or managers or whomever advise politicians to do things that reflect the actions of the average person. I’m sure the recent influx of politicians offering the opportunity to get a drink or eat a pizza with them is something that’s been heavily researched and marketed and was determined to have enough of a positive affect on their polling numbers and general image to justify the direct interaction with the unwashed masses.
Make no mistake about this – A politician, particularly an American presidential candidate, is not your friend. Nobody stumbled into power. Every politician saw the opportunity to grab the position of the most powerful person in the world, and decided that they wanted it. That should make you suspicious.
The fact that a politician pretends to be like you, to enjoy doing the things that you enjoy doing, to further their career, should cause suspicion. The ‘winners’ of these contests will be effectively used as props in a photo-op. Support candidates based on their proposed policies, support candidates on their leadership qualities or what have you, but do not give into astonishment. Politicians are not your friend.
And, please, for the love of god, Instagram, stop showing me the Elizabeth Warren ad
Dear God this is like the fifth politics post of the year. Somebody stop me before I run for Encinitas city council. You can find other assorted things over at the Tweet Hole, the Post Hole, and you can donate to win the chance to drink a glass of shitty Muscadet with me and play Take the A-Train for PS1 over at Ko-Fi