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Star Parker

Founder & President, Center for Urban Renewal and Education

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Opinion

Elections are about ideas, not superficial entertainment

Aug 25, 2023

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Americans in both parties lament the era of what they call entertainment politics, where insults, gossip, and TV ads sell better than real ideas. Recent elections have seen entertainment professionals running against — and often beating — those who discuss policy solutions.

Straight Arrow News contributor Star Parker argues that citizens and journalists need to be much more careful about who they put in the White House, and take a moment to consider the gravity of their choice.

What we’ve seen lately is elections have become all about spectacle. We cheer on candidates in ways that are very similar to how we cheer on sports teams. Sports are a form of entertainment, that’s their purpose. And it’s fine if we blindly support a team, no matter the situation. But for the purposes of elections, of our duties as citizens, as voters, it goes much further than that.

And in fact, elections are not built for entertainment, even if they are sold that way. And we see a lot of selling now. We hear a lot of ads now. But if we focus on the purpose that elections ultimately serve, then we will better understand what’s required from those who are running, and we need to demand real answers from them. Their candidates are always loud, just loud, very loud. And because they’re loud, we hear from them all the time.

But what are they really saying? What are they saying that’s going to make our country better for our children or grandchildren? Boasting a personality that demands attention, they are no different than wrestlers in the entertainment industry, yelling jabs about the other guy’s personalities as they puff out their chests.

But we need to talk about ideas, not about personalities.

I think more and more people are beginning to realize that elections have consequences. And as we move into 2024, more thought needs to be given about what’s at stake in our country, and the primaries themselves.

 

What we’ve seen lately is elections have become all about spectacle. We cheer on candidates in ways that are very similar to how we cheer on sports teams. Sports are a form of entertainment, that’s their purpose. And it’s fine if we blindly support a team, no matter the situation. But for the purposes of elections, of our duties as citizens, as voters, it goes much further than that.

 

And in fact, elections are not built for entertainment, even if they are sold that way. And we see a lot of selling now. We hear a lot of ads now. But if we focus on the purpose that elections ultimately serve, then we will better understand what’s required from those who are running, and we need to demand real answers from them. Their candidates are always loud, just loud, very loud. And because they’re loud, we hear from them all the time.

 

But what are they really saying? What are they saying that’s going to make our country better for our children or grandchildren? Boasting a personality demands attention, there are no differences than in wrestlers in the entertainment industry yelling jabs about the other guy’s personalities as they puff out their chests.

 

But we need to talk about ideas, not about personalities. Our country is $32 trillion dollars in debt. Our federal government spends some $6.27 trillion a year. And yet look where we are. Most Americans are very unhappy and can barely pay for their gas and their groceries. And while some candidates have a grasp of the media cycle, and how to grab attention, others have the grasp on policy and make their voice heard. The intellect, the capabilities, policy, people are policy, policy are people here in our nation’s capital.

 

And those who crafted our nation’s set of laws and principles, our Founding Fathers, they were not the loudest ones in the room. They were bold, they were bright, they were brilliant. And that’s why they chose to lead. That’s why they were chosen even to lead. That’s why they put it all on the table so that they can build a great country. And it’s been true that pioneers of ideas throughout our history have fueled the engine of progress forward. And sometimes they’re the quieter in the room, but they’re the ones most focused on what it’s going to take for our nation to reach new heights that we’ve never seen before, that we never dreamed about before.

 

We cannot continue on the road that we are on. Our nation is morally and fiscally racing downward. Deep questions of policy and principles must be asked and answered. It’s the responsibility of those that have the microphone as reporters, as news gatherers, to make sure that the candidates answer hard questions.

 

You know, when I entered into the political scene, it was because I had lived the life of the left on welfare, believing that my, my life was in somebody else’s hand, dependent on Uncle Sam, three and a half years consistently, seven years over time. And after a Christian conversion, I changed my life. The next thing I knew I was involved in trying to find answers to our most broken zip codes in the country. Here in Washington, DC, you hear little about the policies that are going to make our country move toward individualism, freedom, and ideas that people can self-govern. And in the months to come, we need to be prepared for what’s going on.

 

As you can see, the questions before us are quite literally life and death. And in these next coming months, our candidates, especially those that are involved in the presidential nomination for Republicans, must discuss these questions. Who are we? They must discuss ideas. What will move our grandchildren and our children into a future of independence? And they must demonstrate an acute understanding of policy.

 

Oh, the flamboyant gets our attention. Now, talking about policy may not be as interesting and entertaining as watching a touchdown. It might not be as amusing as a wrestling match. But it’s far more impactful to the life you’re living, I am living, and the life of our future. Because entertainment and personality are not solutions to the amount of money it currently costs to fill up a tank of gas. They’re not solutions to the staggering price that you’re hearing from that person, that cashier at the grocery store. These are not solutions when we have candidates who can’t even articulate whether a child should be born. I tell you the price a realtor gives you when you’re looking to buy a house, this is not about entertainment. Personality does nothing for the decaying culture, in our families, on our streets, the crime, the tears, the hardships. Ideas do. After all, that’s what moved us toward where we are 200 years later.

 

And to look at where we are right now, we owe it to the founders to appreciate the ideas that come forth from our candidates. So pay attention to the ones not seeking a soundbite, but the ones that say, here’s what I will do to make our country better, because we need leaders who are looking to make our country better.

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