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Wednesday, October 4, 2023


Politics highlight class division

In a world where immense wealth and increasing power lies in the hands of a few, politicians love appealing to the common man. It’s an effective maneuver that wins votes, makes a nice photo op and elevates a politician’s image. But no matter how much politicians try to look like the American everyman – a worker with middle class values – they will never be "one of us."

Before the 2004 presidential election, candidate John Kerry went hunting multiple times to improve his public image. He appealed to the Midwestern battleground states by trying to appear as "just one of the guys" and distracting voters from his position on gun control. However, Kerry just looked foolish as he said he would "hang" dove--language hunters would not use.

Kerry also tried to look like a regular sports fan, but instead mixed up words and said things that were flat-out wrong. During an interview, he said Eddie Yost was his favorite Red Sox player, although Yost never played for the team.

The man who won the election isn’t innocent either. Despite packaging himself as a Texan, President Bush is far from it. Bush speaks with a "down-to-earth" distinctly Texan accent and manner. Bush’s photo ops in his ranch in Crawford include driving a truck, wearing a cowboy hat and selling "Southern hospitality" to foreign leaders. Although this superficially exemplifies values Texans cherish, it is nothing more than a persona used to enhance Bush’s image as the "good ol’ boy" from Texas.

In reality, Bush is as Texan as clam chowder and Yale University. As a child he never resided on a ranch, instead living the high life of a millionaire family.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) premiered an ad taken from Jimmy Dean’s song "Big Bad John" in the current 2008 Senate race against Democrat and veteran Rick Noriega. The video features horses running, Cornyn in a cowboy hat and ridiculous duplication of Western wear, and American flags. The lyrics say Cornyn "enjoys a good brew," and he’ll get things done (presumably because he’s from Texas). According to the song, Cornyn is doing the Lord’s work. This pitiful appeal to the heart of traditional Texans and conservative Christians may be effective, but hasn’t been spared the ridicule of comedian Jon Stewart.

Attacks are being thrown around that certain politicians are "elitist." The fact is, most of the common people of America will never attain the power or prestige of any high-ranking politician. Wealthy politicians do not typically identify with problems of middle-class workers and any attempt for them to appeal to the common man is, although effective, ultimately meaningless.

One could say we are the modern day version of Rome, with most citizens as plebeians and politicians as patricians. Perhaps we want to see a bit of them in ourselves, to be one of the famous celebrities of Washington.

Corgey, a political science junior, can be reached via [email protected]

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