When Politicians Become Idols

Politics has been at the center of countless discussions for centuries. Philosophers and politicians alike are doing their best to answer some of the most fundamental question relating to the nature of the human society, which inevitably leads us back to politics each and every time. One of those questions has always been about the qualities we should look for in a politician, as well as our own attitudes towards people in power. What follows is a brief discussion about what happens when we start perceiving our politicians as our idols.

The way we do politics has changed a lot over the last couple of decades. It’s not so much about the philosophy advocated by any single party, as it is about our identities, be they ethnic, religious or communal. We can’t really tell whether this is the result or the cause of our social loneliness, but it’s a fact nevertheless. Consequently, our politicians have stopped trying to win us over with the beneficial outcomes of their policies for our society. Instead, they are now doing their best to create myths that we will like, stories with which we will be able to identify.

The myth that Donald Trump is creating for us is one we haven’t heard before – it is directed against our age-old image of a politician. So far, we have perceived politicians as superior individuals. The purpose of Trump’s myth is to make us believe we have been wrong all this time, that those people are actually clueless and that all the virtues we are looking for in a politician are in fact our own virtues. At first glance, this doesn’t sound troubling. After all, there are plenty uneducated and morally corrupted politicians, just as there are countless virtuous individuals to be found among regular people.

However, this is the classic strategy of any system based on idolatry. For Trump, the first phase of the process has proved to be a success. The problem emerges when we start realizing that he is an incompetent individual with nothing to offer to the society as such.