El Estoque

Blind Faith

Andrea Perng

When Donald Trump, former host of reality TV show “The Apprentice,” ran for president, talk was rampant about how he had none of the military or political experience that he would need to serve the country effectively. That in itself should have been concerning, and a huge point against him becoming president in the first place. But nonetheless, Trump was elected president. He wasn’t the first celebrity to have been elected to a significant government position; Terminator star Arnold Schwarzenegger was elected to California governorship in 2003 and actor Ronald Reagan scored the presidency in 1986 in the wake of Watergate.

Following widespread criticism by liberals that Trump’s celebrity status was what got him elected, I thought that they would have been just as critical about the idea of other celebrities running for governor or president, but that has curiously not held true. Perhaps it’s because these celebrities hold the same viewpoints as them.

One particularly notable example is the enthusiasm for an Oprah Winfrey presidency following her moving speech at the Golden Globes, despite the fact that Winfrey also has no military or political experience. Now, Sex and the City star Cynthia Nixon is offering a liberal challenge to incumbent Andrew Cuomo in a race for the position of New York’s governor, again, with no political experience to support her. And the fact that she has supporters regardless of this is outrageous to me, as it should be to any responsible citizen.

The recent trend of supporting the bids of celebrities without prior experience for public office is extremely troubling to me. Why is it that we are not holding them to the same standards as other politicians? Is it because we automatically trust the same face that we see on all those screens? Is it because we generally know more about their personal lives than we do about other candidates? Regardless of how much about them we know, it’s still very important to be critical of each candidate that we vote for. Our democratic society demands it to work.

But when such celebrities post on social media making fun of the criticism they get as a political candidate, it gets worse.

Cynthia Nixon’s response on Twitter to incumbent Andrew Cuomo supporter Christine Quinn’s comment that Nixon was an “unqualified lesbian”. Quinn herself is openly gay. The tweet gained over 61,000 Retweets and 320,000 likes as of March 24.

Suddenly, followers of this celebrity become enamored with the idea of this sassy, witty and well-known person running for office and beating out an established politician. This is entirely different from the Hillary Clinton “Delete your account” debacle of June 2016 because at the time, Clinton was well-established as having more than enough political experience, having previously been Secretary of State for President Barack Obama as well as a First Lady. By contrast, Nixon’s support is derived almost entirely from either a major disdain for Cuomo or the fans that followed her from Sex and the City.

The hypocrisy of liberals when it comes to celebrities in politics is astounding. You can’t vehemently oppose Donald Trump becoming president on account of his celebrity status and turn around and praise Cynthia Nixon, who embodies exactly what you criticize in Trump: same celebrity status, same amount of experience.

To make matters worse, Nixon’s behavior strays worryingly close to the puerile behavior that Trump displayed with his name calling: while Trump uses names like “Crooked Hillary,” Nixon calls Cuomo “Andrew the bully.” Obviously, Trump’s long history of scandals and bigotry dwarfs anything that Nixon has done in her past, but that alone does not make Nixon any more fit to be a governor than Trump is to be president.

Especially considering the current political climate, in which emotions and simple perceptions overrule facts, it’s on us as citizens of a democratic society to know who we’re voting for and why we’re voting for them. It’s our responsibility as citizens with the right to vote not to blindly trust the faces that we see the most, and instead to trust those that we know have the experience and capabilities to lead.