Last week, I mapped out the topics I wanted to write about. My creative process usually involves developing a simple idea or even just the title of a future story, and then everything else just falls into place. My idea for the week was to write a story about Kanye West. With all the media attention he received after announcing his presidential campaign, I decided to write an extremist, fictional tale about how ridiculous a Kanye presidency would be. I wanted the story to be funny but at the same time, allow the reader to acknowledge how preposterous such notion would be. As I was writing, I was struggling to inject humor into the situation. As an avid comedy enthusiast, I am aware of how easy this task should have been. I mean, Kanye West, the Kardashians, the White House… together it’s all comedy gold. And then about six paragraphs in, it hit me. The reason why I was struggling with the humor in the story is that this situation just isn’t funny anymore. Today, more than ever, it is important to reject this modern wave of inflated egos, ineptitude, and social experiments from dictating the future of the country. As we have seen in the last four years, political leadership requires more than charisma, popularity, and extremist sound bites. Allowing people with no political experience to hold positions of power has proven to be detrimental to society. It’s time we stop normalizing the concept of the “celebrity president.”
A reality show host with numerous failed businesses is “leading” the country today, look at how well that’s working out. Celebrities all over the world are choosing politics as the next bullet point on their resume. Frankly, I understand why people would vote for unorthodox candidates. There is a particular appeal tied to choosing someone outside the norm of politics. All of us have been witnesses of a corrupt system for so long that we have learned to acknowledge that most politicians don’t have our best interests in mind. Disgraced politicians seem to be a common factor in government. In most elections, there is a wicked expectation of picking “the lesser of two evils.” By voting for someone who doesn’t have political experience, we could potentially be choosing someone with a fresh perspective, someone who isn’t going to succumb to the temptations positions of power create. But as we have discovered, time and time again, our hopes are nothing but a romanticized illusion that often gives unqualified, charismatic candidates, way too much credit. When we elect someone without credentials, experience, or political knowledge, we are gambling on the futures of the communities affected by our decisions.
Kanye West running for President is as dangerous as it is ridiculous. We live in the era of trolling, an era where “voting as a joke” is a legitimate option for some people. The idea of people wasting their votes is infuriating, especially for those of us who are unable to do so. I am a resident of the United States, therefore I am unable to aid in making decisions regarding this country. The number of years I’ve lived here, the amount of money in taxes I have paid, the contributions I make to the community, none of that matters. Unless I was born here or give up my nationality, I am not worthy of opining in my future. It’s specially hard not to take that personally when there are people out there voting for someone ironically or as a joke. When we have people like Kanye West on the ballot, we make a joke out of democracy.
Kanye West has made a numerous amount of dangerous, racist, misogynistic, problematic, and straight-up erroneous comments in the past few years. Regardless of this, he still somehow remains a powerful business man and a profitable musician. Out of his millions of social media followers, some are bound to be influenced by his words. Many media outlets report that he is going through a manic episode that is being heightened by his refusal to treat his bipolar disorder. As someone who has been personally affected by mental health issues, it pains me to see someone going through it. Years ago, at the beginning of his antics, I blamed his egotistical nature and delusions of grandeur for his behavior. Today, it is very obvious to me that he needs help. According to his latest tweet storm, his wife has attempted “to bring a doctor and lock him up.” It is no secret that the mental health system in the United States is broken. Even if you exhibit obvious signs of mental distress, you don’t get any help unless you verbalize a plan to harm yourself or others. Even if that’s the case, depending on your state laws, you get a 72-hour hold where you are placed under psychiatric care without consent because of a debilitating mental illness. After the hold, it is up to the person to decide if they want to remain in treatment, if there’s a bed, if they can afford it, if they have insurance, and if the doctors recommend it. We need to let that sink in. In the United States you can’t get help for your mental illness unless you get to the point of admitting plans to harm yourself or others. Kanye West should be a topic of discussion, but about the flaws of the American mental health system, not about the possibility of voting for him.
Whether or not he’s mentally fit to be in a position of power is not the issue here. The issue is that political ineptitude is something we should not abide by. Politicians should have a proven record of public service. Politicians should have a background in politics, laws, and ethics. Politicians need to be held accountable for their actions, past or present. The way we rebuild this country starts by electing the right people into office. As voters, remember your voice matters. Remember that voting ironically or as a joke, is essentially a slap in the face to those who don’t even have the opportunity to do so. Let’s reject the idea of voting for someone’s charisma, fame, or shock factor. Let’s vote for people who are actually capable of leading our community. It is our responsibility to research our candidates and ultimately reject those who don’t have our best interests in mind. Let’s normalize the concept of having capable leaders. After all, we seek professionalism, experience, and knowledge when choosing our doctors, hairstylists, and teachers, why not hold our leaders to the same standard?