Leading Stories

by Nicole Allen, Staff Writer

For one of my classes this semester, I have been tasked with weekly readings that outline eras in our country’s journalistic history. About three pages into the first chapter, I realized my historical knowledge does not surpass the sheet music of “Hamilton,” made obvious by my one-woman musical performance of “The Election of 1800” during The Party Press chapter. 

A short rundown for those of you who are also historically unrefined: the Party Press era consisted of the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists (which later turned into the Whigs and Democrats) using print to promote their political views to the public. 

In short, a bunch of old white guys unethically utilized the current and only form of mass media to whine, deface opposing politicians and force their opinion on the public—much like they do today.

As I read through the exceptionally long Party Press chapter, I realized that, apart from the understandably weary Benjamin Franklin, early U.S. citizens largely played into the asinine and childish bickering by the country’s earliest elite. Again, much like they do today.

One would think that after 220 years, Americans would have mentally evolved into a country that doesn’t allow its leaders to divide, fraudulently persuade and demonstrate blatant immaturity. After watching this year’s State of the Union address, it became evident we elected people who are no more refined than a toddler whose parents refuse to buy them Cocoa Krispies at the local Walmart.

It is time to stop living under the spell of our political leaders by supporting their misdeeds because they claim similar belief systems.

Noah Rothman, associate editor of Commentary magazine, in a NBC News article said, “…the Republican party has long been saddled with the ignominious moniker, ‘the stupid party.’ Democrats must be jealous. They seem determined to take that embarrassing title away from their opponents.”

In other words, Rothman and I agree. Our political leaders are all idiots.

I rolled my eyes as President Trump refused Speaker Pelosi’s handshake. I shook my head in shame when Madame Speaker ripped up the president’s speech. I was disappointed but not surprised by their actions in this political circus.

What did surprise me was the response by seemingly intellectual citizens in support of these juvenile acts. Twitter republicans were quick to back Trump’s handshake snub and democrats responded with cheers to the speaker’s hissy fit, calling it a stand against lies and corruption. 

Very few called these performances for what they were—blatant examples of a failing political system. 

I took a step back and closed out all my social media apps after witnessing my liberal and conservative friends post ad hominem attacks on the intelligence of those in opposing political parties. Several of my conservative friends also called Pelosi’s acts “childish,” and I wondered, what would I do to my own two children if they acted like these two imbeciles? 

Well, I’ve punished my kids for less.

If my 9-year-old ripped up a classmate’s papers, I would expect a call from the principal. If I witnessed my 6-year-old being blatantly rude to another child, she could say goodbye to her Nintendo Switch. Comparing Pelosi and Trump to children is offensive… to our nation’s children.

So, the question bears asking, why do we hold our children to a higher standard than the leaders of our county and why do we, the educated, keep electing them? 

According to the Pew Research Center’s Fact Tank in 2019, Generation Z and Millennials have been outvoting so-called “Boomers.” Thus, we can no longer point fingers at older generations for our country’s humiliating political status. It’s time for Millennials and Generation Z to put our politicians in detention and hold them accountable for their bad behavior. 

I understand we all grew up in the age of reality TV but allowing our world leaders to turn our government into a significantly less attractive version of The Kardashians is taking our love for drama too far. 

Commenting on the July 31 democratic debates, TV critic Hank Stuever underlined some of the same concerns in a Washington Post article.

“So, can we possibly get past the idea that politics is a reality show? Fat chance,” Stuever said. “Having subjected us to two nights of garishly adorned, overproduced, conflict-obsessed live ‘debates’ among a field of 20 Democratic hopefuls (its own delusional gridlock of egos), CNN and the Democratic National Committee summoned the worst aspects of some of TV’s most popular genres and visual tropes.”

I would only disagree with Stuever on one point. I do not believe this is CNN’s fault. It’s our fault because, like any other news station, they are giving viewers what they want.

“The squeaky wheel gets the cheese” has become the motto of our most successful politicians and we are sitting back, cutting them another slice while their squeaks turn into temper tantrums disguised as speeches and tweets riddled with grammatical errors. 

There is a plethora of politicians who don’t use their voices to knock others down and genuinely strive to serve the American people, but we ignore them. They don’t secure our votes because they aren’t loud or “passionate” enough, and then we wonder why we are being governed by twiddle-dee, twiddle-dumb, and the rest of the “Alice in Wonderland” cast.

We are the future of this nation. We have the ability to build the world we want our children to live in but, to create that future, we have to stop buying into politicians who say what we want to hear, in a way we want to hear it. 

We are the generation of affection. I sincerely believe, of all our remarkable characteristics, our ability to empathize is far better than generations past. However, when it comes to politics, we lose this positive element. We forget we are human and play into the political divide we helped create.

It is time we evolve from 1800s politics and learn from the past instead of repeating it. We can no longer support the whining, defacing or forced opinions of our political elite. Stop condoning bad behavior because it comes from the mouth which others tell you not to condemn.

And, that’s the tea…

“Tea Time” is a continuing series of op-ed columns that covers various topics pertaining to life during and after college. It is currently authored by Voyager staff writer Nicole Allen.