The 2021 inauguration was historical for several reasons. It gave our nation a healthy resurgence of patriotism after what had happened two weeks before, served as a reminder how great our democracy can be and proved that our country can be a place of opportunity for minority groups. This gave inspiration to masses of Americans.
While it is important to celebrate these dates in our country, should we take it so far as to celebrate, and almost glamorize, the people that run our country?
The insurrection on Capitol Hill was a prime example of people idolizing a single politician. Several lives were put in danger and five people were killed. But it is no lie that individuals on both parties are guilty of idolizing politicians. For example, the amount of merchandise that these politicians and large corporations profit off of proves how much we obsess over politicians. In short though, we should avoid these obsessions at all costs. Our nation needs to let Jan. 6, 2021 be a reminder that politicians are people that we should not worship.
The behavior of idolizing and obsession over an individual, especially one with such power, is not healthy. Mark D. Griffiths describes this obsession as Celebrity Worship Syndrome. The syndrome is characterized by an over interest in a celebrity — whether that be a politician, author or journalist — and also has three separate dimensions of worship. These include entertainment-social, intense-personal and borderline-pathological.
The entertainment-social dimension relates to individuals who are attracted to a celebrity because of their abilities to entertain and to become a social focus of conversation with others who are of like-mindedness. The intense-personal dimension discusses individuals that have compulsive feelings about a celebrity. The borderline-pathological dimension relates to individuals who display uncontrollable behaviors that relate to a celebrity.
The idea of Celebrity Worship Syndrome links heavily with the idea of “presidential obsession.” Presidential obsession has been an ongoing theme since the beginning of our nation’s democracy. Americans have always wanted to know about our nation’s leader and what he does on a day to day basis, which can come to the point of being rather obsessive.
Knowing what the public desires is not a bad thing at all, but former president Abraham Lincoln once said: “Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it, nothing can succeed.” What he means is that the president may set the precedence for the nation, but the nation’s citizens ultimately decide how we respond.
Of course, our response can be good or bad. Throughout his presidency, Donald Trump created numerous jobs and repealed the Affordable Care Act penalty. During Barack Obama’s two terms, he legalized same-sex marriage and entered the United States into the Paris Climate Agreement, which is designed to help save our planet from global warming. All of these acts were taken considerably well by the public. Of course, these same presidents and many others have made rather questionable decisions that were not taken very well.
Because we can become over-obsessed with presidents and politicians, their actions and decisions can lead to individuals or groups of people becoming outraged. On a much smaller scale, people on social media can be harassed and get into heated arguments about subject matters. On a larger scale, it may be possible to see protests and insurrections similar to what had happened on Jan. 6.
The Capitol Hill insurrection was an absolute disgrace to our democracy and its principles. The entire event was an act of treason incited by Trump, because he and masses of people believed that the election results were fraudulent.
As Senator Mitch McConnell said on the day of the insurrection: “If this election were overturned by mere allegations from the losing side, our democracy would enter a death spiral. We’d never see the nation accept an election again.”
When we see an over-obsession of politicians and presidents, it can become very clear that this is dangerous and can have catastrophic events. To avoid this, we must recognize the fact that politicians are just people. They live regular lives just like we do. They have opinions just like we do. They are all in a position of power to make decisions for us to hopefully better our society and our country. If anything, we need to hold our politicians accountable for their actions and offer our criticism so they understand what we desire.
Once again, it is important to acknowledge the days in our country in which we can celebrate patriotism. It is okay to celebrate our inauguration or other important days in our political world. Democracy comes from the people and if we truly care about our democracy, we should celebrate its people over the institutions.
Adam Flowers is a freshman music education major. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.