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Elections as Entertainment

When each presidential candidate enters the race, Americans everywhere race to learn more about their potential future leader. The media broadcasts information about candidates singing odes to pizza, having affairs, forgetting their own talking points, and driving to Canada with a dog strapped to the top of their car. The focus shifts from the policies to the fun facts, from the issues to the entertainment. Four years ago, Tina Fey’s impression of Sarah Palin took on a life of its own, influencing voters across the nation. The Republican race has boiled down to a competition of who can mess up less. Characters like Herman Cain and Rick Perry surge to fame for several weeks at a time, capturing the attention of voters with their theatrics, before nose-diving out of popularity.

In a world of gimmicks and instant gratification, it is not surprising that candidates might assume that the American people do not, in fact, want to hear their opinions and plans. To garner attention, they must make themselves more exciting. But would an exciting candidate necessarily make the best president? Has the presidential race been pared down to some sort of reality TVesque competition?

Deerfield students should look past the SNL skits, the media blitzes, and the publicity stunts, and search for the politician who speaks to their needs, to their experience, and to a better future. Candidates must provide a realistic plan for the economy, health care, and government spending. Public displays and declarations may no longer be enough.

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