If you are in anyway educated in good quality music then the above lyric from the great Billy Joel should resonate hard with you. Maybe you too have been recently awakened to the distorted view of what it takes to lead; who to vote for to be the head of a school board, to be a leader in a political party or heavens forbid, to lead a country as President!
You can see where I am going with this, right? Oprah 2020, Dwayne Johnson as her right hand man and maybe Lin Manuel Miranda as Chief of Staff? There will be no limit to our fantasy government if we vote according to what the masses claim is the right thing to do.
Speculating people into office was once harmless but then along came social media. Where this speculation ends is now out of our hands, due to the power of trending hashtags and the virality of a catchy tagline. The bigger issue is our acceptance of the ‘low bar’ politicians, people with no experience who pass the approval test - too easily. We shouldn’t jump for joy when an individual of significant ‘celebrity’ rank uses their platform to state something that the electorate has been preaching since the dawn of time. Today, Trump is an easy target - he does himself no favors and it doesn’t take the most politically in tune to know this much, but we will sadly always have another Trump.
The issue nowadays is the way we deal with these politicians and our suggestions for a more appropriate replacement via trial bu social media. The Oprah Winfrey- Golden Globes moment is, for now, nothing more than that, a moment. She will always hold sway online due to her fanbase but what about looking at our current crop of politicians? Is the standard in office currently so low that we must pull from another industry, one that may not have any experience in a political role (which I am aware sometimes isn’t the worse thing)? If we have deemed nobody up to scratch then as voters we have to look at the role we play in this.
As voters in democratic states, we hold the majority of the power with regards who we elect. Each election is like interviewing individuals for a new job and we need to start taking the process more seriously. Who interviewed Donald Trump? In hindsight, it may seem like they hired based on an impressive (interesting) CV but forgot to hold a face to face meeting.
Looking at elections that are occurring across the globe in 2018, we need to set our criteria a little bit higher. If the right candidate doesn’t apply for the job, we need to start recruiting the right people. It’s simple practice!
People Who Deserve Our Votes
So, some actionable steps for all the voters out there for 2018, here's what I will be looking for in my politician the next time I'm in the polling station:
Someone who has put in the hard yards - I don’t believe we should hand our vote to anyone out of pure convenience or because they jumped on a topical subject just to raise their profile. We should do our research and know the person we are electing very well. There is nothing worse than surprise that comes out post elections! Remember you want your politicians to represent you in a fair and civilized manner.
Someone who will make an effort - I say effort because that’s what I look for in my politicians. As a young voter, I think we have a responsibility to show respect for a politician who tries their best and we need to recognize that sometimes, they won't get the bill passed. Something that has crept into our society over the last number of years due to the growth of social media is putting people on blast online, this only serves to grow mob mentality. For our politicians to get better results from us we need to work with them and not against them!
Visible in the community - being elected shouldn’t take you away from your electorate, it should serve to solidify your position further if anything else. I don’t want to vote a good politician away from me, that isn't the way progression in politics should be viewed. It’s always positive to see a representative engaging in the community and you don’t want to be chasing that person down after election day.
Good personality - It's important to vote for someone who gets on with people. You must consider how they work as part of a team on a bigger scale. Politics is as much about collaboration as it is about problem-solving.
Stance on the core issues - Like any individual, your politicians will have core beliefs in areas that are constantly discussed and views are continually recycled. Do your core beliefs align with the person you are voting for, I'm talking about education, the economy, health etc. Curveballs often come in politics but having an open mind is critical when looking at contentious topics, this applies to both the politician and the voter of course.
What are the important sticking points for you when voting? Let me know below.