‘Personality Politics’ – The WORST Aspect of UK & US Politics in 2019
In the world of business, leading companies choose CEOs to take the helm based upon their performance and track record NOT their personality; in modern American and British politics, however, this is not the case, far from it…
It seems to me that a ‘shift’ of sorts has recently taken place, occurring within only the last decade; a move towards merging ‘American Idol-esque’ TV entertainment with mainstream politics, where the views or position of an individual politician no longer matter, it is his/her personality that we care about these days. This saddens me.
In the United States, this phenomenon has reached its zenith and it is far ahead of (or should that be behind) the rest of the world in regards to placing the personality, behaviour, tweets and personal history of the candidate over substance, policy and manifesto pledges.
Putting aside the fact that this (seeing leaders as their personality alone) leads to false idolisation, fawning and sycophancy, the real harm is that a well-practised liar with good acting skills is able to ascend to the highest levels of power, by virtue of how leaders are now chosen in multiple nations across the world.
There are, of course, exceptions to this.
In the case of President Trump, there has never been such a unique and contentious candidate for the presidency; in his case, however, any ‘negatives’ associated with his personality and past were not greater than the mistakes made by the previous administration, which led to his victory.
But this article is not only about how we choose leaders but how we treat them ‘after the fact’, once they have been democratically elected.
Take the Brexit in the United Kingdom, for instance.
The referendum was won by the ‘Leave’ campaign, comprising many thousands of individuals, yet their opposite number (almost immediately after conceding the referendum/election) launched attack after unprecedented attack against a small minority of those who were vocal in their support of achieving independence from the European Union, something the majority voted for after being privy to ALL available information.
No other EU nation will hold such a referendum, by the way, as the result would be same as the Brexit result; Brussels will not allow another display of democracy like Brexit…
This is the argument of those who attack some of the main ‘players’ involved with the campaign to achieve freedom, independence and re-found sovereignty and self-determination:
‘Because Mr X is a “roguish character”, has been married thrice, has a gambling addiction, has business interests abroad and/or is rude and brash and not politically correct, we need a second vote because his addition to the debate (democracy) led to the ‘wrong’ result. We need to remove Mr X from politics because we don’t like him, his politics, his views—anything!’
(Results should matter, they should be everything. Election results and thereafter results in office, accomplishments and success should count, not personality, someone’s sex life from way back when, a bad business deal from 37 years ago… This is desperate; this proves the politician is virtually faultless at the present time, due to mentioning either the distant past or their ‘personality’)
If you haven’t watched it yet, there is a movie (a whole movie!) about this type of revisionist ‘Personality Politics’ mindset, occurring in this instance after the fact—the one starring Benedict Cumberbatch.
I believe it is aptly called The Brexit Movie or something quite similar—it is clearly propaganda, anti-democracy propaganda, which is why I’ve resisted the temptation to watch the production that is in no way claiming to be an accurate portrayal of the events surrounding ‘Brexit’ but rather an interpretation and a fictional reimagining of that British referendum.
For two years now, in the U.K., the people there have borne witness to this bizarre new form of politics, political revisionism and the re-imagining of democracy and what it means, with the thrust of their argument being that the people made ‘a mistake’ when they voted to leave the EU, that they were ‘tricked’ by the leave campaign—but all politicians are tricksters and not to be trusted, don’t they know this? It is a cliché almost that the two groups you can’t trust are lawyers and politicians!
What the losing side are saying to the majority (who won, or thought they did) is that they cannot be TRUSTED to vote anymore due to them being too stupid to see through lies/deception—this is dangerous territory, this is a prelude to Communism.
What the ‘Remain’ camp don’t mention, however, when they (still today) are pushing hard for a second referendum is that the vast majority of U.K. political parties (all the major parties) big businesses/banks and 99% of celebrities, the majority of news outlets and even David Cameron AND Theresa May all encouraged the people to vote to Remain within the EU—do they not think this was unfair pressure?
Do they not think that, had THEY won the day, the losing side in that scenario (the Leave campaign) might have had a far more valid case for a second vote, a real people’s vote? I certainly do, especially as I am aware just how many millions were spent by the major parties in the U.K. (including Theresa May’s party) on scaremongering about a future without the EU, talking my great nation down, depressing and belittling an ancient and proud people…
The fact is without such pressure, lies and indoctrination coming from the Remain side the Brexit victory would have been even greater; as it was, over 60% of Labour constituencies and 70% of Conservative constituencies voted to LEAVE. It was London and a few other large population centres that skewed the figures, which is why in the States (for instance) the electoral college exists, to prevent any one area or mega-city from controlling the rest of the country/the will of the people. If London didn’t exist, the result would have been closer to 70% of all Britons voting to leave, and without the tremendous (and negative and demoralizing) Remain campaign’s propaganda and scaremongering about the future, creating hitherto unheard of levels of anxiety in the body politic, it may have been 80% or higher…
Looking to America, I see a nation truly splintered, splintered and lost.
Trump was necessary in my view, you can call him a necessary evil or a necessary good, but he was necessary as he has the skillset required to get things done and would rather die than fail at making his nation as powerful, wealthy and content as possible—this is HIS personality, as I see it.
But the side that lost that election almost immediately became angry, to an extraordinary degree, likening the man to a monster, the devil even, but what was the other choice?—Clinton or Sanders, both unelectable to the highest office, was I the only one who saw this? (They lost due to ‘Personality Politics’, for it does not discriminate. Their personalities just didn’t ‘mash’ with America)
Baggage. Baggage. Baggage and dishonest—a bad liar, a fake smile and a practised walk and facial movements, and everything is choreographed…
Not principled, ever changing her positions, the terrible ‘predators’ comment, attacking her husband’s victims (sexual abuse/abuse of power)—a typical politician … And then there was Benghazi and the Clinton Foundation, extreme corruption and the server ‘thing’ and, well, just a lot of ‘stuff’; she was a fundamentally flawed and untrustworthy candidate and ‘personality’.
This man is a Communist, in effect, despite being a multimillionaire—so even worse than a Communist, he is a hypocritical Communist…
Everyone loved his passion, but his zeal and ‘personality’ were off-putting to the majority; he came across as being overly ‘desperate’ for power, and rather than being relaxed and calm, talking slowly in a composed (and thus confident) manner, like a leader should, like an ‘Alpha’ should, he ranted and shot out attacks as if he were atop a soap box 100 years ago, somewhere in Eastern Europe, if not in Russia itself…
America does not want to be Communist, Mr Sanders; she fought against that doctrine on multiple occasions. Why did you ‘honeymoon’ there by the way (the Soviet Union) and praise that ‘Evil Empire’ also during the Cold War? There is a word (beginning with ‘T’) that Americans used to call folk who did and said that kind of stuff…
Beyond his politics, his personality rendered the man unelectable—if he had, perhaps, given some of his millions to charity (to prove he was ‘for the people’ and a Socialist/Communist) perhaps his campaign could have gained more traction, we will never know…
Solutions (to turning things around and moving away from personality politics); do I have any? Does anyone?—Maybe.
Extreme vetting for candidates…
An idea has been percolating in my mind for some weeks now; it concerns the selection process of elected officials. This scenario pertains to the U.S. presidential elections; however, it could be replicated anywhere:
If it is the assertion that sometimes the people make ‘a mistake’ by electing a ‘Trump’ or incorrectly voting for independence, a simple and perfect solution would be rigorous public vetting of contenders for leadership/office.
Imagine this scenario.
America, 2020 – presidential elections.
Every candidate for president must report to a TV studio of sorts that is being run by a non-partisan organisation…
What then follows is a televised ‘competition’ between the contenders that goes beyond the wholly irrelevant debates that prove only that someone can speak well or argue well—how will that end homelessness, child poverty or create jobs?
Imagine each candidate locked in sound-proofed rooms with a chair, a table and a camera inside as they hear questions from a loudspeaker and verbally give their answers, one after the other, while the whole nation watches at home—all candidates being asked the same questions of course…
Within but one hour such a test would cut out the ‘fakes’ and the ‘chaff’ from the herd, leaving only the strongest, most intelligent, most honest candidates—these are YES and NO questions, you understand, no chance to dodge the question or answer by delivering a speech…
In addition to this test, why not have them all sit mathematics, science and English tests also?—or do Americans not care about the intellectual capacity of those in charge of nuclear weapons?
Let’s go further. Treadmill … exercise bike … stepper machine—you need your leader to be strong, fit, able and physically capable, surely?
Drug tests. This is a no-brainer. Do you want a drug addict or someone who (for whatever reason) needs opioids or the like? There are also many drugs that increase mental performance (in, for instance, debates), which offer an unfair advantage due to many drugs increasing concentration, energy etc.
If it’s good enough for private companies and public institutions then why not for the most important job in the world?
A final test could be testing the candidates’ ability to cope under pressure.
They are seated; a voice tells them that a nuclear missile is heading for Colorado, it originated from Russia, which is in the midst of a civil war…
‘What are your orders, Mr President? Twenty minutes until detonation … what are your orders?’
This will help Americans choose the right man/woman every time, but the questions would need to be changed each time of course…
Personality politics is damaging the fabric of democracy everywhere, which can only lead to civil strife and worse. We are all either FOR the majority (whatever they decide) or we are AGAINST the majority (and thus democracy), in which case those who protest election/referendum results should ask a Communist nation for a passport…
Leave personality out of it, respect the people, put ego aside, believe in democracy, believe in peace and give your leaders a chance to PROVE that they can govern fairly and give the voters the respect they deserve by refraining from attacking their choice and opinions.
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