Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Politics, American Idol and High School

I've reached the conclusion that politics are a lot like American Idol and both of those are a lot like high school.

There are stereotypes, shocking revelations, backstabbing, popularity contests, obsessions, scandals and a whole bunch of people who think they know more than they really do about any given topic. There are fans and critics. There are leaders and followers. There is victory and setback.

This comparison occurred to me while contemplating the fate of the next presidential election. Where are the candidates that stand out? I probably wouldn't have voted for him, but at least Donald Trump had some chutzpah. He was like the Casey Abrams of American Idol….most people knew he would not win, but it sure was fun to watch him! It is going to take a savvy, high tech campaign to go up against our rock star president, who believe it or not, has already been campaigning. His "town hall" meetings are basically just an attempt at reaching out to younger voters and telling them what they want to hear. Reminiscent of high school years when everyone follows that one charismatic good-looking kid even when some of the things he/she does has you lying awake at night (I'm not speaking from personal experience, my high school years were fairly unscathed in that regard!).

But, how does this compare to American Idol, you ask? Well, much of the criticism of American Idol this year is that the voting process is not fair. Many of the shows most talented hopefuls were sent home early in the race. The same will hold true of Republican hopefuls. We did not end up with the best candidate in the last election. I can only hope the same mistake does not happen again. People hear what they want to hear based on their values and convictions (or lack thereof). The most loyal supporters will pound the pavement/school lunchroom for votes (or text their vote in 200 times). Are they the majority? Probably not. Part of that problem is the reality that is created by those "in charge"....there is so much that goes into convincing people to believe something that is not always entirely true. We need to be aware of that and not blindly follow a person or doctrine.

Is it a good thing that these particular things have so much in common?  I guess that depends on your perspective.  Most of us have moved past the politics of high school and American Idol is just a TV show.  The part I'm really concerned with is the direction our country will take after this next election.  I only hope everyone keeps their eyes open for the bullying, manipulating and phony tactics that will be employed in the next 18 months.

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