When Matt Bevin won the general election to become Kentucky’s new governor this past Tuesday, I was forced to confront a truth about my fellow Americans: we hate politicians. But this is not ordinary hate, the sort that breeds satirical cartoons and light bitching. No, it’s the kind of hate that drives you to be contrary, even if it means cutting off your nose to spite your face.
We will elect anyone as long as they’re not a “career politician.”
Take Matt Bevin. Matt Bevin is not a politician. In fact, Matt Bevin has never held a political office despite the fact that he’s run for the United States Senate and recently become Kentucky’s governor. Every piece of information lists him as an “entrepreneur” with his own Facebook page calling him a “military vet, small business owner, and father of nine.” He is also, as I said in my latest post, a deluded, inept liar.
But, as one post or comment that I can no longer find pointed out, he is not a “career politician,” which his Democratic opponent Jack Conway was. The comment didn’t even have to define a “career politician” or let the readers know why one was bad – we all just knew. And that is why Bevin was elected (though I am desperately hoping that these rumors about the race being rigged in his favor are true).
Or look at Republican Presidential hopefuls Ben Carson and Donald Trump, both of whom are as deluded, prejudiced, and mendacious as Bevin. Routinely, they rail against transgender people, Muslims, Latinos, Mexicans, women, and Obama, slinging out accusations that are repeatedly shown to be false. And yet, these are the top two polling Republican candidates. People are lauding them for how outspoken they are, how un-PC, how anti-Obama, and how very not “career politician” they are (If you’re keeping track, neither of them have ever held a political office either.).
Even Bernie Sanders’ popularity is partially based on the fact that he’s not a “typical” career politician with many people juxtaposing him with Hillary Clinton, the other major Democratic Presidential candidate. People remind you that Sanders has maintained many of his positions for his entire political career, that he’s never compromised, he’s never sanctioned an attack ad, he’s honest, he’s passionate, he won’t take money from super PACs, all of which has helped him escape the dreaded taint of being a “career politician” (despite the fact that he’s been a politician since the 1980s and is in fact a career politician).
If anything could show us how little we trust our politicians and how universally corrupt they are, it’s this willingness anyone other than a politician to a political office. You have to be epically fed up with something to say, “You know what? No, I will not support them, even if it means supporting another person who is so completely against my morals, convictions, and needs that it causes me irreparable harm.”
With the exception of Bernie Sanders, none of these candidates is a good fit for the American people. They lie constantly. They spend half their time bashing other people. They have no experience governing. They engage in illegal activities. They don’t have any of their facts straight. They won’t support good programs if someone they dislike is supporting it. They don’t care about all citizens equally. But guess what? They’re not “career politicians” so we’d better just elect them any way.
This is dangerous behavior that will come back to bite voters in the ass. Yes, many of our politicians are corrupt, lazy, and corporate-owned. Yes, politicians have a long history of being so. The answer is not to elect any old person just because they’re not a career politician. The answer is to hold our politicians accountable, to kick them out of office when their term is up, to support third party candidates, to demand recalls, to lobby for reforms, and to put in the actual effort to clean up our political system. Racism, prejudice, incompetency, and knee jerk reactions will not fix our country’s problems, only changing the system and holding our politicians accountable will and that starts with making good voting choices.
* Photo taken from the Lexington Herald-Leader, http://www.kentucky.com/2015/11/03/4120544_matt-bevin-shocks-jack-conway.html?rh=1