One hundred and twenty years ago, the most popular stage act was that of vaudeville, a mix of the weird, comedic, tawdry, and kitsch, though those denizens of the stage could effortlessly hold a crowd. In an era where societies are growing more and more polarized, and the moderate centre is beginning to give way to the excesses of both right and left, it should be important for elected officials to attempt to hold themselves at a higher standard.
What has happened is frankly just the opposite. Politicians are more concerned with image and catering to/finding a loyal base, so in short acting like vaudevillian fools. Some politicians do this by holding rallies filled with vitriol, while others grow their support by building a social media following (hacky twitter wit does not constitute intelligence). Yet both have one thing in common - at the end of the day nothing ultimately gets done. It’s all a lot of talk, talk, talk, touching on points your supporters want to hear, yet when it comes time to deliver, those same raconteurs always seem to fall fifty metres short.
Instead of finding our leaders upon some rallied parapet, or in the wordings of empty social media posts, let’s ask ourselves how they might lead when they’re caught in endless meetings, in the midst of grave crisis, and to make change where it is desperately needed. If this is left unaddressed, we can expect the litany of inexperienced, poorly tempered, unskilled leaders to permeate through all strands of political life. Judging our leaders on how they make us feel alone, as opposed to their skill and ability will only lead to the ever worsening of government efficiency. It will also show the next generation of potential leaders that the road to success lies not with hard work and principled action. Rather, it lies with putting on a face and dancing to whatever tune the audience asks of them.
It should be the responsibility of us, the community and the individual, to ensure that this does not continue to pollute the public life.