North Texas Daily

No one needs to idolize politicians

No one needs to idolize politicians

No one needs to idolize politicians
February 04
12:00 2021

Throughout history, politicians were always somewhat removed from the rest of the general population. Social media has opened up endless channels of communication and has made people in power more accessible than they have ever been. While there are many positives to this such as constituents having direct access to their representatives and lawmakers, the line between politics and pop culture has become increasingly blurred.

A politician should not be a celebrity. They do not need to be praised blindly or idolized for doing the bare minimum. Especially when Americans have only been given two stimulus checks over the course of the entire COVID-19 pandemic. We should focus on holding politicians accountable for their actions, not putting them on a pedestal because they seem relatable or normal like the rest of us.

Stan culture, a term coined by Eminem in his song “Stan” in 2000, can be best described as a dedicated fan and “idol” relationship. Stan culture can often lead to a mob mentality when it comes to their idol. In the case of famous actors or musicians, this is mostly harmless and exists solely on the internet. However, when it comes to politicians who are discussing serious issues, things can tend to escalate as we have seen over the past few years.

While these people’s intent might be pure, there is many underlying problems with ‘stanning’ politicians. We tend to fixate on cute memes or funny videos which in turn creates a culture of celebrity around them. For example, Vice President Kamala Harris became a viral meme for her “We did it, Joe” video and was praised for her matching jewel tone pantsuit at the presidential inauguration. It’s disheartening to see these moments going viral and her being praised by stans for being a “queen” or an “icon” when she has put 1,500 people in jail for marijuana related offenses over the course of her career as a prosecutor.

Regardless of what politicians do or what they are praised for, they should not be exempt from criticisms.

This issue is not exclusive to just one party either. Both Democrats and Republicans are more focused on politicians taking to social networking platforms, such as Twitch and TikTok, to appeal to younger voters. Instead of advocating for their policies they are opting to appear as though they are “with the times” and relatable. Through these various platforms they are able to engage with supporters and further the idol-fan relationship.

Former President Donald Trump may be the best example of a politician and celebrity converging. Instead of questioning the accusations he made about the 2020 election being “rigged,” his supporters blindly believed his claims. What happened at the Capitol earlier this year is the negative effect of idolizing to the extreme.

Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is also another example of blurring the line between politician and celebrity. Her appearance on “RuPaul’s Drag Race” as well as her playing the popular online game “Among Us” with popular Twitch streamers has done more to prove her reputation as the young and cool representative instead of focusing on her platform and policies.

We live in unprecedented times. Fifty years ago, no one would have thought you could send a tweet or comment under whatever the president was saying online. It’s important that these people in power be held accountable because what they do in office directly affects all of us. A fancam or a mitten meme may be cute in the moment, but regardless a politician should never be idolized.

Featured Illustration by Miranda Thomas

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Meghana Vadlamani

Meghana Vadlamani

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