Rant : Presidents are created by the mainstream
The presidency in most countries in the world is fortunately a democratic process. There is universal suffrage giving the right to vote to all adults, regardless of status or background.
Last week saw new developments in the elections in the U.S. making it almost
clear who the representatives of the Democrat and Republican parties are going to be. Some were shocked by the choices. Or at least one of them. Many expressed
disbelief that a certain candidate who’s election seemed more like a joke when they entered the race, now has realistic chances of becoming president of the United Sates of America. Regardless of one’s citizenship, the election in the U.S. affects the world.
But how is the choice of president in modern times ,especially in the developed countries, all that different that the choice of consuming a certain food, entertainment or any other product where there is no immediate effect regardless of the choice ? And why is the choice not seen having long term implications? Four years for a term is a rather long time after all.
Last week’s Billboard number one was Rihanna feat. Drake with Justin Bieber a close second. Not to want to go into a discussion about how popular music is mediocre, but taking most of the Billboard top tens in recent years, you would end up bemoaning the same thing. That product placement and promotion trumps talent and originality (see what I did there?). Popular music has elements that make it immediately attractive just like a fast food dinner, sure. The important musical artists of the last decades have not featured much in the charts though.
Commercial music has always existed and always will exist and will target a specific audience. But it’s true that there was also a time when Nirvana, the Clash or John Lennon were rated high in the charts. So, is this targeted audience more powerful now then it once was or does it just have more members?
Commercial music or movies do target a specific audience. Usually those that are part of the audience either just want to have a good time consuming the entertainment product and or they are satisfied with less sophisticated material. Something that does not require much of a commitment. Something that does not risk taking one out of their comfort zone.
Also, there are movies and music targeted to every emotion. For example the movies that are generally most popular are about blowing stuff up or about being whisked away in some hard to believe, generic romance. There are of course exceptions, but the aforementioned movies are always destined to exist and be successful. And there is nothing wrong with that, really. Everyone has the right to enjoy themselves the way that they want to and get what they paid for.
But when life is generally not very difficult (as is the case in many western countries, thankfully) and reality is constantly fighting for space with virtual reality, then more important choices, like choosing the president, are made by the majority of people, in the same way that they choose what movie they’re going to see or what dinner they’re going to have.
The choice is as comfortable. Many want to see the movie where the protagonist defeats all expectations and despite being an underdog winds up winning and goes on and kicks everybody’s ass. It’s a similar situation in the choice for a political product, I think.
I don’t mean to say that in developed countries life is entirely easy. Of course, there are problems as anywhere in the world and the possibility of different type of personal or social disasters occurring, always exists. But generally people do not have to struggle to survive. Which is a wonderful luxury.
Furthermore, advancements in technology have made it so that people are connected to the news every minute of the day and their immediate reactions on the internet make it feel as if they’re almost controlling what is going on. When these things happen, I believe, it’s harder to put into perspective just how difficult a job like say… being the president of the country really is.
Would anyone hire you for a job if you clearly did not have the knowledge of some of some of the basic elements that are needed to have good results? Would someone hire you for for a job if it seemed like you being hired would create an unfair advantage for your other businesses? Would anyone hire you if there was the slightest chance of disaster occurring, like say… a war or economic meltdown?
“Most people” do this and that. You may not be “most people”. But it takes them to win an election or get a single to number one on the Billboard charts. People read news off their phone and they choose a movie, a song, a contestant to win a gameshow or a president almost in the same way. The comfort eliminates much of the responsibility of the choice.
Then people move on to something else. There is endless entertainment to be had at all times. And it happens to take up most of one’s time. Why expect that choosing someone for office or deciding on trying to fix a large issue like global poverty or hunger would be any different? After all, it’s the same people making the choices and doing so in accordance to the same values.