The Student News Site of Monta Vista High School

El Estoque

The Student News Site of Monta Vista High School

El Estoque

The Student News Site of Monta Vista High School

El Estoque

They’re not like us!

Politicians spend a lot of time trying to get the public to believe that they’re a lot like the rest of us. Hillary Clinton has photos of her stuffing an entire side of pork into her mouth, as we average Americans do. Jeb Bush eats a corn dog, then grills more pork as we average Americans often do. Ted Cruz cooks his bacon by wrapping it around the barrel of a machine gun and then firing for 10 straight minutes, as apparently average Texans do. Donald Trump, of course, goes against conventional political norms and just flies small children around in his helicopter while managing to categorically insult almost every minority found in this great nation of ours.

There’s the Donald, classy as always.

The point is, according to our presidential candidates, the average American eats a lot of meat, cooks a lot meat and exclusively exists in a hypothetical version of the Midwest comprised of corn and good ol’ fashioned family values. In their world, the booze is cheap and the main topic of porch conversations center around “those darned homosexuals,” “those darned coloreds,” and of course, “those darned feminists.”

A politician's average American
Illustration by Zach Sanchez

Living in a representative democracy means that the people we elect need to reflect who we are and what we care about. Looking at the current field of candidates, we have two white women, one black man, two Latino men, one Bush and a billionaire troll doll masquerading as a human being. Everyone else is a white man, middle aged or older, who has previously held public office. Or, even worse, they’re Bobby Jindal, a sellout who tells people his brown skin is the result of a perpetual tan.

I checked the latest census statistics, and apparently white men are 37 percent of the population. This is in contrast with the white men that comprise 71 percent of the population running for President.

Statistically, the majority of this country is not comprised of its 37 percent. Most of us just aren’t white men anymore, and in fact we never were: apologies to the KKK, Neo Nazis and many of Donald Trump’s supporters. Today’s average Americans span spectrums: skin color, gender, sexuality. We come from all walks of life, born of experiences that shape our beliefs into the entire collection of individuals we like to believe make us so great.

Think about the life you live, the people you care about: every person you’ve ever encountered. How many times do you see yourself in the people who represent you?

And no, Bobby Jindal doesn’t count. Not even Bobby thinks he’s Indian.

The fact of the matter is that the lives that we live are as vast and varied as we are, and it’s time our politicians acknowledged the fact that most of those lives don’t take place in a cornfield. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve even seen one.

Most of us just aren’t the type of Americans our politicians think we are, people who’d be satisfied with different iterations of the same chunks of fried meat, plaid shirts and just enough midwestern twang that in focus groups connoted folksy charm rather than blatant incompetence.

Changing the demographics of our political representation isn’t something we’ll be able to do in one cycle, or even in a couple. The electoral landscape is far too crowded this time around — lord forbid we find anyone else with an ego large enough to believe they can lead the free world.

In the meantime, I’d be satisfied with just a different gimmick, one that feels a little more with the times than the whole rough-and-tumble farmer even most Iowans agree doesn’t exist beyond Mike Huckabee’s wide and vivid imagination. Even if our candidates don’t reflect reality, maybe they could start accepting it.

To start, I’m a vegetarian so maybe they could try a salad.

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