How did national elections descend into a reality TV show?
If cancer reinforced any lesson, it’s that fear is paralyzing. This troubled world needs leaders, not fear-mongers. I expect shenanigans from the Kardashians. None of their clan expects to emerge as elected leader of a democratic nation. Maybe democracy is now courtesy of “reality TV” producers Jeff Probst, Ryan Seacrest and Simon Cowell. Why else would election candidates resemble contestants on Survivor and Big Brother?
I envision a panel of Jeff, Ryan and Simon, seated behind desks, as a candidate enters the audition room and pivots to face the judges.
Jeff opens. “Tell us what’s unique about you that we should pick you to compete in an election.”
The candidate: “Well, Jeff, I’m average, middle class, very wealthy and know every important person on the planet. So I completely understand the challenges ordinary people face in their little lives. I’m committed to helping them overcome those challenges.”
Ryan says to the camera: “Beautiful answer, love it.” He turns to the candidate. “Tell us what kind of experience qualifies you as a contestant – er, I mean, candidate, in our game, uh, I mean our election?”
The candidate: “Great question, Ryan. I’m a true player; competitive, argumentative, no pushover, can’t be persuaded to change my mind, don’t see other’s perspectives, and I win at all costs. I don’t let others finish a sentence. People will root for me because I’m ruthless and good-looking. You should select people like me. No one would watch or vote for unattractive people.”
Simon leans far back: “So, if you see people arguing, I take it you’d look for strategic ways to make their situations worse and your situation better.”
The candidate: “Of course I would.”
Hmm, this candidate must have been selected to appear in the election debates.
Here’s my message to candidates: Jeff, Ryan, and Simon aren’t your judges, voters or pollsters. Ditch the divisive fear, and expensive promises no one expects you to keep. Show leadership to solve the planet’s many problems instead.
Could not agree more Deborah. What is the world coming to when our candidates have nothing better to do than make inconsequential comments, avoid real issues and sling mud at each other. It is tough enough to get the younger generations to become informed and get out to vote, this is going to make it that much tougher.
Thank you Erin; very insightful comments. Like you, I wish our leaders would both model respectful dialogue and act beyond personal self-interest.