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The Campanile

    Politicians should not be idolized

    [dropcap]A[/dropcap]s the 2020 presidential elections swept through America, the polarization in our country reached new heights. You were either for former President Donald Trump or against him. In an effort to find a suitable Democratic nominee to face off against Trump, the Democratic party fell victim to a disease that had already spread throughout most of the Republican party — idolizing its politicians. 

    Among my peers, this idolization is commonly directed towards the likes of congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Vice President Kamala Harris for the diversity they bring to the law-making process as well as the liberal legislation they aim to pass. 

    It can be argued this glorification of politicians stems from social media platforms that give politicians the opportunity to create a false reality, similar to what social media influencers do. While these influencers use filters and Photoshop to perpetuate the narrative of a perfect life and an ideal body image, politicians engage in online trends to form personal connections and create a narrative where they are supporting America.

    However, it is important to note politicians are people first. They have flaws, and as important as representation in politics is, holding lawmakers accountable takes precedence. 

    Politicians undoubtedly hold some of the most powerful positions in the United States, representing the people and passing legislation that directly impacts their constituents. With that power comes the need for accountability. While the government has checks and balances in place, these checks also come in the form of politicians being held accountable by everyday Americans. 

    The problem with idolizing politicians is by choosing to only look at their strengths and accomplishments, we overlook their flaws, making it OK for them to make decisions that don’t always benefit the people.

    Take Kamala Harris, for example. With an Indian mother and black father, the vice president has become the poster child for diversity in American politics. She has now been perceived as the minority voice in a sea full of white men, a demographic that has traditionally dominated government positions.

    However, Harris’ past alludes to a different narrative. Her criminal justice record from when she served as an attorney general shows her aggressive attitude towards crime and her responsibility for the mass incarceration of minorities, which is in stark contrast to her new statement as the vice president where she seeks to scale back on incarceration. 

    While Harris’ skin color and gender identity certainly break glass ceilings and open doors for the next generation of minority politicians, her past proves politicians should not be idolized on the basis of breaking barriers alone. Understanding and recognizing their choices is a key part in holding them accountable and honest once elected. 

    On the opposite side of the spectrum, many Republicans idolized former President Donald Trump and his political views to the point where they refused to believe there was a better candidate for the presidency than him. We saw the dangerous consequences of this idolization play out during the Capitol riot on Jan. 6 where thousands of Trump supporters violently demanded the government give the presidency back to Trump. 

    While the hope some politicians inspire is essential to maintaining the general public’s trust in the government, it is the work we do as Americans in holding them accountable and keeping them true to their word that ends up making society better.

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