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The politics of hypocrisy no longer work, we must move forward

The politics of hypocrisy no longer work, we must move forward

The politics of hypocrisy no longer work, we must move forward
March 09
14:00 2021

I remember an era of politics that was heavily present throughout my childhood.

My parents were stalwart liberals in the Bush era. This definitely caused conflicts inside and outside our extended family, but they held to their beliefs. One of the characterizing feelings with this time for me was the idea that our political beliefs were morally and intellectually sound. People my age can’t recall this but at the time President George W. Bush was often seen as a buffoon and a national embarrassment for liberals in America.

I could write an essay on the elitism present in liberal politics, but it’s important to note that liberals almost always see themselves on the moral high ground. We see echoes of this mentality today with people proclaiming to their neighbors how much they “believe in science.”

Another defining feature of the Bush era, even moving into the Obama era, was the idea that while morally bankrupt politicians could exist, if they were found out, they would be ousted. Jon Stewart of “The Daily Show” would prove their hypocrisy, or their poorly hidden racism, and within weeks, a politician would resign in shame. 

I don’t even need to state how much that mindset has shifted in the past five years. We saw an ugly presidential election where former President Donald Trump was caught on tape making ugly remarks about women, yet he still won the presidency. Trump then went on to continuously lie throughout his term.

For people who weren’t fond of Trump, this time was characterized by a feeling of disillusionment in politics. How could this unequivocally bad person be the “President of the United States?” Where were our “heroes” who could prove he as a fraud and save our country? Those heroes were still there. In fact, a pocket industry of books about Trump emerged after 2016. The problem was, just because they revealed Trump’s misdeeds did not mean anyone would do something about it. 

This brings us to the world we live in now, and I’m not exactly happy about it. The most pressing topic being that everyone benefits from a culture where politicians can be openly corrupt, Democrats and Republicans alike. We see it in the form of  Sen. Ted Cruz fleeing to Cancún during a deadly winter storm, but we also see it with President Joe Biden opening more “child migrant facilities,” or whatever the Biden administration’s term for “kids in cages” is now. 

There are moments where people can organize themselves and bring consequences for the actions of politicians, or other corrupt public figures. One recognizable case in recent years has been the #MeToo movement, which called out sexual assault and harassment in the entertainment and political industries.

Another example has been the Black Lives Matter movement, which calls to attention to police brutality among Black and brown communities. Both of these movements have led to material change for people, whether its the resignation of Al Franken after allegations of sexual harassment, or replacing police with social workers for emergency calls in order to stem police violence. 

The problem is still present, though. How do we hold politicians accountable for their corrupt and morally unsound practices? I don’t have an exact answer, but I can tell when we are not making much progress. As a society we need to move beyond declaring someone a liar and work to create material change in our communities. Whether this change comes in the ballot box or on the streets, it’s up to the people to decide. 

Featured Illustration by J. Robynn Aviles

About Author

Javi Cavazos Weems

Javi Cavazos Weems

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