When America saw the celebrity-type crush that Barack Obama’s voters had on their candidate in 2008, it should have taken note. Obsession to the point that you believe another person is infallible is extremely unhealthy. Too often, this adulation is directed at politicians.
Obama spoke of hope and change when campaigning and delivered only the latter. He has disappointed many who supported him by not living up to their lofty expectations. Those expectations held that he was the answer to everything.
But government is never the answer to the ills plaguing society.
Fast forward to 2016, and voters again picked up the rose-colored glasses. This round, the left sought to make Hillary Clinton the first woman president. She promised a government that would look out for its citizens in the usual progressive way. On top of that, she claimed that her run (an inevitable win, of course) would break that romanticized glass ceiling. Women had finally arrived at the ultimate boys’ table.
But Hillary lost. Those who viewed her as a crusader for women’s rights were disappointed. Some, like Lena Dunham, saw their savior being taken away from them, and were downright inconsolable:
The three hours I spent at the Javits Center Tuesday night, surrounded by campaign staffers and fellow surrogates for Hillary Clinton, are blurred and spotty. At a certain point it became clear something had gone horribly wrong. Celebrants’ faces turned. The modeling had been incorrect. Watching the numbers in Florida, I touched my face and realized I was crying. “Can we please go home?” I said to my boyfriend. I could tell he was having trouble breathing, and I could feel my chin breaking into hives.
By the time we’d made it over the bridge, a friend called. “It’s over,” she said. “I love you.” I was frozen. We stopped at the diner. No one was speaking as they ate, no one in the whole place.
At home I got in the shower and began to cry even harder. My boyfriend, who had already wept, watched me as I mumbled incoherently, clutching myself. “It wasn’t supposed to go this way. It was supposed to be her job. She worked her whole life for the job. It’s her job.”
Concluding that your candidate’s defeat means she was robbed of her magical destiny says much about your lack of clarity. Can you imagine what Ms. Dunham’s behavior would have been if Hillary had won? She never would have thought twice about any of Clinton’s words or actions, for her chosen one had been exalted.
Whether the political junkies among us want to admit it or not, elected officials are not our saviors. They are a necessary evil we should scrutinize and almost reluctantly select when the time comes. Most important of all, politicians should be held to extremely high standards once in office, for they have a sacred duty to represent their fellow citizens.
We shall see whether Trump supporters care enough to hold him up to that standard. To some, no matter what he does, he’ll always be right. This small subsection of the electorate will view their choice as completely good and his opponents as wholly bad.
No matter who voters put their faith and trust in, and no matter whether they view that person as a “savior,” they’re likely to be disappointed. Besides being imperfect, politicians campaign on promises they cannot keep. This happened to Obama after riding that “hope & change” wave and a similar thing will occur with Trump who promises to “make America great again.”
Voters should not view those in national leadership in such lofty ways. Elected officials deserve a chance to prove themselves, however imperfect they may be. But the electorate needs to sober up, or they’ll find themselves repeatedly disappointed after every election season.