Politics is the root of most of this world’s problems. It’s sad when you think about it; some families are broken, friendships lost and marriages are set asunder for something as petty as political differences and ideological divergences. At the core of this issue is the need too many of us have to deify political idols and elevate people we don’t know or never met as gods to worship. I don’t know what it is about humanity; the very same people who are neglected, and even exploited, by the rich and famous feel the need to offer more of our backs to the gentry and beg to be stepped on.
Actually, I kind have an inkling of an idea why we seemingly become a collective of masochists when it comes to groveling before the gentry. We put the rich and famous on pedestals because we too want to be rich and famous by derivative. This same theme was touched upon by a rabbi at 6th and I synagogue in DC I visited a couple of years ago—I’m a bit of a free spirit when it comes to exploring people’s faiths. The rabbi noted that our egos and our desire to be acknowledged makes us glom on to those who are famous because it makes us feel that we too are important by extension. When we take pictures with a famous personality or a movie star, we do so mostly to show off our exploits to others. Our need to be noticed makes us latch on to those who are noted.
By the way, there is a reason the title of this article has we instead of they in it. I’m not separating myself from the rest; I too fall victim to idolizing those who are elevated as stars. If someone renowned walked into this coffee shop right now while I’m writing this article, I would reflexively take a picture or at the very least gaze in astonishment. After all, it was not too long ago that I was a political parrot and a toady of Democrats [read My Political Awakening]. True enough, two years of wandering the wilderness has made me a lot less reverential of the rich and famous and a lot more admiring of broken strangers, but I would be a liar if I tried to pretend that I’m not occasionally in awe of people solely because of their notoriety.
But it’s one thing to be star struck by a movie star or an athlete—it’s human nature after all to extol the well known. However, idolizing people in politics and in the process being held captive by the ideologies and dogma of partisan “heroes” is something all together different. I write this in context of American politics and the two malignant parties who have conspired and colluded to monopolize governance in the United States, but this same logic can be applied to any nation where people let personalities become more important than ideas. Choosing our leaders and those we entrust to govern us should be done with utmost deliberation; there are few decisions in life greater than empowering people who will rule over us. Sadly, too often, we make this decision not based on the character of people but on their level of celebrity and the depth of wealth they have hoarded for themselves—we are led the pretentious and the gluttonous.But the aristocracy are who they are, a leopard can’t change his spots. Perhaps we should inspect the part we play in global pyramid scheme where the rich thrive as the rest of us shrivel. We have become society centered on a a cult of personality where we lionize the rich and famous in ways that is demonstrably unhealthy. So wedded are some to their political idols that they regularly do flips and somersaults from one side of the argument to the other in ways that Gabby Douglas could never imagine. Remember when RT News was once the darling of liberals because they were against Bush’s wars? The same RT News is now hated by many on the “left” simply because Obama and Hillary said so. Remember when conservatives were in an uproar over Benghazi and Obama’s imperial presidency? That same mob was sure mum when a new Benghazi took place in Niger busy as the were bowing to the impish imperialist Trump.
Of course, the ruling class know very well how too many “commoners” are quick to idolize political personalities. This is why a parade of demagogues and fraudulent politicians keeps being foisted upon us. Eight years of the empty suit Obama was pushed center stage to mollify the “left” and enrage the “right” only to be followed up by what is likely to be eight years of Trump deranging liberals and placating conservatives. Both sides too busy staring at their dear leaders as the true powers who rule with their bank accounts and affluence pillage us and rape our planet. Our politics is nothing but a theater of the absurd where personalities are manufactured and propagated by the ruling class in order to keep us perpetually distracted. Of course we fall for it as we let political actors prevent us from seeing the big picture.
Not only do we get distracted by these vacuous politicians in DC, we actually make it our purpose to line up and defend these two faced shysters. It never fails, I am met daily with some of the most hateful and bile filled pejoratives by people who get offended by something that I wrote criticizing either the Democrats or Republicans or because I dared condemn their favorite politicians. I can say this with almost absolute certainty, not one of the people who have inboxed me to curse me out and defend their political gods has ever met the people they are defending nor will they in the future aside from attending rallies or being used as stage props. I’m bracing for the tirades I’m set to receive when tomorrow’s lead article “the First Bank President”, a write up about the confidence man Barack Obama, gets published.
It’s ironic that I write this on a day that Charles Manson passed away. Using his persona and charisma, Manson was able to convince his adherents to kill others in his name so that he could realize his sick idea of starting a race war in America. The case of Manson is an extreme example of the problem we are facing as a society. It’s easy to cast aspersion as the louts who blindly followed him and see them as deranged lunatics, but in a lesser way isn’t that what we have become as a people? Wars started by the rich and fought by the poor, patriotism sold by the gentry and borne by the commoners, ideologies espoused by the wealthy and defended by lay people—we keep letting the rich and famous espouse virtues they never follow as we suffer for their rhetoric. We have become a nation of groupies.
It’s tragic, people are defending rich and famous politicians while these same politicians can’t wait to flee their hangers on once the camera lights are off. Breaking news, most of the famous people we prostrate ourselves over have nothing but contempt for us—why do you think they call us their “base”? The base is something that is built upon, something that is beneath the foundation of a structure. The “elites” are calling their most loyal devotee their base, insulting them by saying that they are beneath them, and yet too many not only overlook this libelous term, they actually wear this ad hominem proudly on their chest. Politicians are our nation’s Jim Jones and politics has become the red Kool-Aid of America.Joseph de Maistre once said that people get the government they deserve. As long as we keep electing people based on their level of illustriousness instead of following people based on their ideas and their character, we deserve every bit the pillaging we get as a people. But I believe that we are nearing an apogee of sorts; soon enough our unhealthy addiction to the rich and famous will go by the wayside. It is for this reason that I write about our politics. If we are able to see that we have a lot more in common than we have that divides us, we have a shot at bending the arc of history towards justice. If we unite as one instead of bowing before the powerful, then maybe, just maybe, we have a shot to get the change we have all been waiting for. #StarSmacked
“Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.” ~ Henry David Thoreau
If you are in the DC area, make sure to check out my book discussion and community conversation at Sidamo Coffee on Saturday, December 16th. RSVP by clicking HERE or by clicking on the RSVP picture below.Check out the Ghion Cast below where I discussed the corrosive nature of our politics and how our addiction to politics is leading us astray as a people.
Originally from Ethiopia with roots to Atse Tewodros II, Lij Teodrose is a former community organizer whose writing was incorporated into Barack Obama's South Carolina primary victory speech in 2008. He pivoted away from politics and decided to stand for collective justice after experiencing the reality of the forgotten masses. His writing defies conventional wisdom and challenges readers to look outside the constraints of labels and ideologies that serve to splinter the people. Lij Teodrose uses his pen to give a voice to the voiceless and to speak truth to power.