Sometimes I feel like life is one big reality show. I can’t say that I’m an avid follower of “For the Love of Ray J”, “The Bad Girls Club, or “The Real World”. However, I do know that drama and ratings are positively correlated. Many of the stars on the reality shows go on to have lucrative careers in entertainment, not necessarily for their acting or musical prowess, but because of their star power. These days, people are just famous for being famous. I’m afraid that this attitude has spilled over into the realm of politics. We all know how dramatic politicians can be. In fact, I think Hillary Clinton deserves an Oscar for her star-studded performance in New Hampshire in 2008 for “the cry heard around the world”. Who can forget former Illinois governor, Rod Blagojevich. It seems like criminal allegations have made him more famous than he was before. You get accused of trying to sell a Senate seat and before you know it every reality show producer wants you as a cast member.
I think Sarah Palin stole the show from everyone last year. How do you quit your job as governor during the middle of your first term, and become an even bigger public figure? There have been plenty occasions where Mrs. Palin’s political ineptitude shone brighter than a star in the sky. Yet, it seems like her “dim” knowledge on foreign policy and everything else political has made her a star. Her name is even being tossed around as a potential Presidential candidate. While I’m not saying that Palin is unqualified for anything, I am saying that her recent behavior makes her look like an opportunist. While opportunism has always been a part of our political system, I feel like it has become widely acceptable by the electorate. Do we want leaders or cool people to run our country?
Politics has never been for the faint of heart. In today’s digital age, being an effective legislator is only part of being a politician. With the interconnectedness of the world via social networking and other technological mediums, every action that a public servant makes can instantly be put on display for the world to scrutinize. Conversely, many politicians today enjoy a celebrity status that few in their cohort group enjoyed before. Like any profession, public service has its pros and cons. The ability to make a positive change in the world through public policy lures many idealists into the field. However, the ability to extort and control lures many nefarious and corrupt crooks to the field as well. But do politicians really wield enough power to make positive changes for their constituency, or is it merely a field laden with special interests and ulterior motives? While I don’t have the answer to those questions, I do know that some of our elected officials could give Tom Cruise and Halle Berry a run for their money.