Monday, June 6, 2011

The "One of Us" Myth

I listen to talk radio, in Texas, so a lot of hot air is exhausted over the potential Republican party nominee for the presidential run. A recurring theme is that this person must be "one of us."

First off, I'm insulted that they keep including me in this "us." I guess it's a twist on the Rene Descartes phrase: "I listen, therefore I am." You don't know me. That's as bad as saying that government is just a word for things we do together. Like this or this or this. Don't include me in those atrocities or your groupthink.

Second, there are over 160 million registered voters and I guarantee you that not two of those people think the same about everything. Even if you come to the same conclusions on some issues, you probably got their differently.

Third, according to a study, a lot of politicians share personality traits with psychopaths.
Kouri, who's a vice president of the National Assn. of Chiefs of Police, has assembled traits such as superficial charm, an exaggerated sense of self-worth, glibness, lying, lack of remorse and manipulation of others.
All those traits that make a good serial killer also make a good politician. That's why, even though you have good ideas, you're not running.

So, if you are looking for somebody like you, you will be sadly disappointed. But if we can't rely on the "like us" test, who will we vote for?

There are only two criteria for a politician of any kind:
  1. Are they THEMSELVES. Because, you know, if you try to be everything to everybody, you are   nothing to anyone. And probably a serial killer.
  2. Do they're ideas regarding policy match your ideas of good policy.
Regarding the first criteria:
  • If they begin to sound different as they gain more national prominence, they are not themselves. You see this all the time. Early on, usually before or at the beginning of a primary run, candidates say things that appeal to the Democratic or Republican base. Then as they get closer to the general election, their answers get muddier; they begin walking back certain statements. NOT a good sign.
  • Make sure they answer the question. A new study shows that you are not listening to their answer. "Researchers believe this could be because our brainpower is usually focused on interpreting the speaker's social actions — whether they think the person is honest or trustworthy — which distracts them from recognizing the dodge. (emphasis added)" Basically, you're hearing what you want to hear because the person has a nice smile or nice hair.
On the second point:
  • What are their means to an end? Like me, a lot of people think drugs are bad. I, however do not believe locking them up and throwing away the key makes their life better. I don't think that would have made George W. Bush or Barack Obama better off, do you?
  • Religion doesn't matter. They could be Christian, Mormon, Muslim, Scientologist, or Jedi. If they believe that torture is okay in certain circumstance, empire building for national security is cool, or that I HAVE to buy health insurance at gunpoint, they are not a good candidate.
So, don't go looking for somebody like you. There is nobody like you. If you think only someone like you can fix the problems, then you'll have to run yourself.

1 comment:

  1. I've been saying the following for a long time:

    1) government solutions are, by necessity, a one size fits all solution
    2) It is impossible for anyone to be smart enough to create a one size fits all solution that is the optimal solution for each of the 310,000,000 people in the USA.
    3) All politicians think that rule 2 doesn't apply to them.

    Nice to know someone else agrees (exaggerated sense of self worth).