Kate's Hot Take: Politicians Edition

Here’s a scenario for you: You get hired to work at an insurance company, by a board of 5 individuals. They are all diverse, from their qualifications to their roles, and from their age to their race. After an interview in which you made an abundance of promises, and truly outshined the competition, you are given a corner office looking out into the city. For a few months, you live up to your expectations. You are respectful and kind. You try your best in every aspect of your job and rack in the clients. You aren’t the first choice of many potential clients, but you still stand out to most.

However, after those first few honeymoon months, you begin to disrespect your clients. You call them names, you ignore them, and you alienate them for their concerns. Your bosses are horrified and attempt to speak to you about your behavior. In response, you call them names, treat them with extreme disrespect, and claim to be the best in the company. All the while, you stop meeting deadlines and ignore your responsibilities. 

Would you expect to be fired for this, or would you expect to be promoted every 2 or 4 years? 

You should not only expect to be fired, but you should also recognize you deserve it. Your behavior became toxic and unprofessional, even after promising the panel of bosses the sun, moon, and stars. 

Here’s another scenario for you: A friend gets an interview at this same insurance company, based on your recommendation. This friend seems to be qualified on paper, so the board of 5 is interested in them. However, almost every question the interviewee is asked is answered with a swift, “I’m sorry, but I won’t be answering that”. Some questions are answered so incorrectly, members of the board begin to question whether or not your friend even knows what they’re interviewing for. The interview goes on for hours, yet the board finds no reassurance. 

Would you expect your friend to be hired, or kindly given the, “Maybe next time” letter?

Of course, they wouldn’t be hired. They couldn’t even show some respect to the board and answer basic questions. 

Now, let’s replace you and your friend in these scenarios with representatives, senators, presidents, governors, attorney generals, and judges. And, while we’re here, replace those clients and board members with loyal voters and constituents. You may be wondering what my point is here, especially after the long and aggravating metaphor. Honestly, it took me a while to even think up this metaphor, but it came to me after my own state representative called me names and implied I am an “operative” to “undermine his reelection campaign” on Facebook. Of course, I found this to be laughable and hilarious at first. An operative? Am I a spy too? But this got me thinking, and also led me to remember the countless times he spoke in poor taste towards and about his own voters- The very same voters that are responsible for his employment and privilege in the law-making process. 

The voters my representative speaks to inappropriately, and the voters he almost never listens to, are the clients and the panel of bosses in my metaphor. After careful consideration, he was chosen out of a field of many to do an upstanding job and be a rational voice. Instead, after a few months, he began to speak to his “clients and bosses” as inferiors. He stopped answering questions and refused to clarify his (may I add, extremely problematic) stances and opinions. Yet somehow, he has support and very few are considering voting him out. Despite the poor work and horrifying attitude, voters are afraid to go against the grain and kick him out of his metaphorical corner office. Keeping the established reality is undeniably attractive, especially now. It is hard to trust anyone. I understand the fear, but let me propose something. 

We don’t fire politicians like we used to. 

It is so easy to vote for the incumbent. Believe me; I have done it myself. It’s important to remember, however, that just because someone is currently sitting in an office, it does not mean they actually deserve to be there. Some of our politicians have been in one single office longer than I have been alive. Senator Mitch McConnell, who serves the beautiful, bluegrass state of Kentucky, has been a sitting senator since 1984. Just for reference, that is a whopping 36 years. The mayor of my own town has run uncontested for two election cycles and has been awarded 8 two-year terms. That is over 15 years. 

It is easy to get stuck in a voting rut, and it is especially easy to ignore when an incumbent is not only breaking their promises but treating their own voters poorly. However, I encourage you to do your research and consider new options at the polls. The incumbent that has been in office since before the Berlin Wall fell may be a racist, sexist xenophobe, who in no way represents who you are. The incumbent may have endorsed morally reprehensible practices, such as conversion therapy, on multiple occasions. (Of course, I am totally not referring to anyone in particular). You may need to make some cuts, here or there. Keep this in mind every November, and every primary. If your representative’s morals are flawed or inhumane...

Do not stop at the call out. Begin at the vote out.