Stop idolizing politicians


Photo Courtesy of The Washington Post

Throughout history, the idolization of politicians has led to abuses of power and the destruction of democracy. Leaders like Joseph Stalin and Adolf Hitler created a cult of followers around themselves creating a cushion and preventing them from receiving any major backlash or criticism —  allowing them to further consolidate their power. In recent years, the adoration of politicians has gotten out of hand. Stan culture and social media have caused the group of people willing to condemn lawmakers and government officials to decrease significantly, allowing those in power to escape criticism. 

Politicians are supposed to create legislation that impacts society positively, as well as serve the people they represent faithfully. Politicians create an appealing image to the public in order to receive votes and so they are able to write legislation that appeals to their voter base. While this appealing image is eye-catching to many, it causes a cloud of judgment, essentially creating a mental space where the leader is thought to be incapable of doing harm. 

A now popular term, “stan” is used to label a fanatic, originally coming from rapper Eminem’s 2000 song “Stan.” This culture in politics creates a mentality that the politician representing them can do no evil.  

Take Donald Trump, former president of the United States. During his term, his party and the right wing let his rampant misinformation go unchecked. After months of publicly advertising his “Save America March” and claims of voter fraud, things quickly fell apart when his avid supporters stormed the Capitol to do what they were told was their patriotic duty. 

“Donald Trump sent us,” rioters said repeatedly to Capitol police, according to CNN.

When asked to hold himself accountable for his actions and role in the insurrection, Trump ignored the accusations, with many of his followers and party members standing with him. Their belief that he could do no wrong and that his actions were in the country’s interest blinded them from seeing that he was asking for his voters to overthrow democracy.

Another example is New York’s 14th district Representative, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, often known by her initials AOC. Praised for her large social media following and being the youngest woman elected to Congress, her work in legislation is often disregarded. In one of her most recent Instagram live streams, Ocasio-Cortez spoke regarding aid for New York citizens due to flooding caused by Hurricane Ida. Comments flooded in during the stream, one user commenting “ILY AOC”. In another post regarding insulin prices, a follower commented “Why so perfect?”  Ocasio-Cortez is seen more for her style, charisma and appearance rather than her policy, creating an atmosphere where she is treated more like a celebrity than a politician. These responses to her posts demonstrate this clearly as their comments have nothing to do with the topic she is speaking about. 

The false reality that politicians can do no wrong obscures the truth, leading to devastating outcomes. When people neglect their responsibility to hold the government accountable, officials are enabled to make reckless decisions without having to face condemnation. As time continues, more and more citizens are allowing politicians to get away with their self-serving intentions.