Politics has always been personal….now it’s entertainment as well

By Ed Moed

I laugh when I read or listen to American citizens complain about the mean spirited turn that politics hasPolitical_3
taken in our age.

Just last night, I watched on TV a democratic political operative ask the question, "Why can’t our political debate go back in time when it wasn’t personal?" After the last Republican debates, an older woman was interviewed about how it went. She replied, "I’m sick and tired of all the mud slinging and personal attacks. It was just so much more humane when I was a kid."

Wake up people and read any American history book. Politics has always been down right ugly.  In Andrew Jackson’s time, politicians dueled to the death because of personal insults. In honest Abe Lincoln’s era, opposing views on slavery created an incident where one senator was caned to unconsciousness while sitting on the floor of his senate seat. And, in one of the most despicable political acts in American history, Rutherford Hayes literally stole an election by agreeing to end reconstruction of the south, thereby killing all rights that African Americans had won as a result of the civil war (this also led to the launch of the KKK and many deaths).

Back in the 19th century, politics was only personal. Candidates spent
most of their time giving stump speeches in small communities. And, our
citizens saw it as their personal duty to listen, argue and rally
behind causes that matter. Because it was interwoven into their beliefs
and very existence, tempers often flared and personal attacks were the
norm, not the exception.

The only major change in our day (aside from duels with pistols) is
that 24 by 7 complete transparency has forced politicians to take on
perfectly coiffed and superficial images to make their constituents
believe. And, this is very entertaining.

Every single move that our presidential candidates make is immediately
analyzed and recorded to possibly be used against them at a later date.
Because of this, the race for office has truly become a game (or
sport). It’s no longer about which ideals, political beliefs and
integrity stand out (because none of them hold true to anything). Now,
the winner of this game is the one who’s still smiling and standing
tall after all of the personal and professional attacks because he/she
was choreographed most effectively to create solutions for today’s most
pressing pain points. But, almost none of it is real. Sadly, it’s
become entertainment.

2 Comments

  1. Matt

    And let’s not forget that it was only two generations ago that many Americans refused to vote for a Catholic president for fear that he would take orders directly from the Vatican. Talk about getting down and dirty politics.
    JFK’s dad had to end up buying the election for him. We have not had a Catholic president since.
    Note that Lincoln was one of only two president’s without a dedicated religious affiliation…yet was probably our most “spiritual” president.

  2. RMM

    Both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were deists with really no religious affiliation.I am sure there were more if I researched it.

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