Oval Office Thunderdome: Stay in Your Lane, Famous People

Apparently, this website is no joke. Kid Rock is running for the Senate. I blame Donald Trump for this. One thing Trump’s election win proved is that the American people no longer require any relevant experience or qualifications to hold elective office. That’s probably been the case for a while, now, but it took Trump to prove to all the other celebrities in the country that they, too, can ride their popularity into a position of real power. And this is has the potential to be a huge problem.

The United States has long been a country that rewards celebrity. Celebrities are showered with money and respect, even if their greatest contribution to society, in the case of actors, for instance, has been pretending to be someone else. All this money and exposure naturally inflates the ego of the American celebrity, fooling them into thinking their opinions are more informed than a regular person’s, and that they have the smarts to be a politician. That’s what got us Trump. But instead of recoiling at the idea of further celebrity politicians, some celebrities, including Kid Rock, see this as an opportunity.

A quick search in the tubes turns up a whole list of celebrities who are considering running for office — some for the office of president. Kanye West, Stephen Colbert, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Tim McGraw, Ben Affleck, and, of course, Oprah Winfrey (who probably is qualified to be in Congress). Riches and fame confer on people an inflated sense of their self-worth. It’s bad enough that our elections reward candidates who display sociopathic behavior. We now run the risk that our elections could turn into a nationwide test of the Peter Principle, whereby celebrities are elevated into posts of real responsibility for which they are totally incompetent.

In fact, that test is already being conducted. President Trump has been in office for six months as of today, and his presidency, with the exception of getting a stolen Supreme Court pick through the Senate, has been a total failure. It could very well end with members of the administration on trial for obstruction of justice, electoral fraud, or worse. There is a very real possibility that our president and members of his staff have been compromised by Russian intelligence, making them susceptible to blackmail and other forms of coercion. Only a narcissistic celebrity can look at our first celebrity presidency and think, “Yeah, I can do this. Why not?”

Some celebrities seem to look at the performance of Trump as president, and think he has lowered the floor of acceptable performance, making them suddenly qualified. No, absolutely not. We don’t need any more celebrities in office who think adulation is affirmation.

The fact of the matter is, despite the downsides, we need professional politicians to run the country. These are the people that are familiar with political processes, and, more importantly, the law. We have a class of politicians that are conniving, underhanded scoundrels who are for sale at the highest bidder, and yet those people are still better than ignorant celebrities like Trump. We need people who rise through the ranks of public office and are ready to perform their duties on the first day. We can’t afford any more incompetence or politicians who are learning on the job. The stakes in Washington are much higher than album sales or box office receipts. The jobs entail more than adeptness at public relations. Actual legislation has to be delivered. Actual oversight has to take place. Actual action, against foreign aggressors, to address global warming, to address healthcare, et cetera, is needed. Actual governance must happen. It’s easy to look at Washington today and see it as one press conference after another and little else, but there is real work going on when there aren’t any cameras around, and this country won’t survive long if celebrity culture overtakes our government.