Since the election, I have noticed a disturbing trend. I am sure it has been going on for years, but I am only now beginning to see it. When I turn on the TV or scroll through social media, I am shocked by what I see. Picture upon picture, I notice the trend. News article upon news article, I notice the trend. It is everywhere.
We seem to be idolizing politicians.
We are placing them on pedestals, making them seem like they are so much more than human. Once an individual steps into the political sphere, they are praised by one party and degraded by another. The party that praises them places them on a separate level than the rest of the citizens, which is not an American trait in the slightest. Then, when they stand on their political pedestal, they are able to exercise their power without being checked or balanced because the system has handed them loopholes when they begin to idolize them.
Instantly, these politicians become idols for the party and, subsequently, people begin to identify with them. Once we have placed these politicians on a societal pedestal, we stop holding them accountable for their actions. If someone raises a negative word against the politician one supports, we are quick to point out the good things they have done instead of recognizing that this individual has made mistakes.
America was founded on more than just the principles of freedom and bravery. It was also founded on the principle that people who hold positions of power should be held accountable for their actions. Their mistakes can’t be ignored, and their blatant disregard of the people has to be recognized.
Since we live in a bipartisan system, it is important to acknowledge that both parties are guilty of raising people up to the point where we idolize them, claiming they will be the green light at the end of the dock. In all reality, they are human and they will make mistakes, but we need to acknowledge those mistakes and hold those politicians accountable.
If there is one thing my generation is excellent at doing, it would be “canceling” people. This phrase is used when an individual is called out for their wrongdoing and ostracized from a societal circle.
Once we are able to find some mistake the person has made, we “cancel” them. However, there are two extremes to this. Cautiously correcting a person who may not entirely understand the situation or made a simple mistake should be the expectation when someone has made an error. We need to hold them accountable, but we shouldn’t hold it against them unless they fully understand how wrong their actions are or if there is a repeated offence.
There is a balance between “cancel culture” and not holding people accountable at all.
In the end, we must acknowledge that no person is perfect. We make mistakes, and, therefore, should never be idolized. Politicians are the same way. They have been raised above the status of citizen and placed on a level that we can only hope to reach, remaining untouched by facts and news that would tear down their career.
Over this last Thanksgiving, I hope you steered away from politics, but, if it did come up in conversation, I hope you made sure that you were holding all politicians accountable. It is okay to support someone but not support their every action or ignore their mistakes.
At the end of the day, we are all human, so tearing someone down for their mistake creates a hateful slander that can hurt them as well. We must find a balance between accountability and acceptance to avoid idolizing someone who is entirely capable of wrongdoing or making a mistake.
Emelia Richling is a junior at Northwest High School.