Celebs in politics.. give it a rest..April 6th 2018

This evening I shall be performing open heart surgery on a cat. I completed a first aid course 25 years ago as part of my drivers licence so I have plenty of experience.  After that I’ll be appearing as Mimi the seamstress in Puccini’s La Boheme in the West End.

Obviously I’m talking out of my a**, but in this age of inexperience, bloggers are journalists, people with camera phones are photographers, vegan celebrities are dieticians and TV hosts are presidents. Donald Trump and ‘Terminator’ governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger led the way and now stars seeking political roles are becoming the norm. Sex in the CIty’s Cynthia Nixon is running for governor of New York, while Alec Baldwin toyed with the idea of mayorship- the list goes on.

The ‘Trump effect’ means all you need is a healthy dose of self importance and an ability to assure people that you’re ‘one of them’- not owned by corporates, banks, super pacs or the illuminati – whatever about experience.

Back home, on a much smaller platform there was talk of Miriam O’Callaghan potentially running for the Aras. While artist Kevin Sharkey has thrown his hat in the ring and Rory O’Neill, AKA Panti Bliss could be in the running. Beside a coterie of established types, Michael D Higgins, is set to nominate himself for a second term.

Who else could have a go is anyone’s guess. Maybe someone from Westlife or Glenroe. Or Jedward perhaps?

It’s the beauty of democracy- anyone can run for office, but you’d wonder how politicians feel about this celebrity infiltration. You can’t be a doctor or a chef in a Michelin star restaurant overnight, yet it seems anyone can do your job or can they?

The role of Irish president is mostly ceremonial and has no real thrust in the political sphere, so it’s understandable that someone like Miriam O’Callaghan would be a good candidate. She has a great profile and cognisance of what would be asked of her, but would she call right wing Tea Party organizer and Boston conservative radio host, Michael Graham a ‘wanker’ live on air, would she have little tea cosies and figurines in her honour- and most importantly, does she have the vast knowledge of history and politics, music and the arts as our current president modestly promulgates?

In the US, 22 percent of democrats want to see Michelle Obama run in 2020, while a large portion of them seem to think Oprah would make a good commander in chief- oh yes that bit. We keep forgetting that. A few solid orations about equality and empowerment and some well placed tears at awards shows might be all well and good, but what about OKing the systematic bombing of some country most of your citizens have never heard off?

Could Oprah give the go ahead to potentially killing innocent children and mothers- the very people she champions so furiously, for the sake of protecting the great nation of America? I can imagine Hillary would have no problems there, neither would Michelle, despite all her holier than thou rhetoric, but Oprah. No. Not the Oprah we know and love.

As a rule, I’m not a fan of first wives ‘chiming in’ either as Bill Burr so aptly put it. “Let’s say you have a leak in your house. Then you call a plumber. He shows up, then all of a sudden his wife walks in, who isn’t a plummer.., ” he said during one of his many hilarious standups.

“Why are you talking? You weren’t elected. Shut up. You’re husband’s not running a lemonade stand here, he’s running the country,” he continued.

I’d be inclined to agree. A first lady does not a president make.

In Germany you need three years training if you want to work in a supermarket as a certified salesperson, but Donald just got handed the code and if popular culture were to have its way, Oprah could get it too.

Anyone but establishment politicians seems to be the societal shift.

You can’t blame people. Many believe politicians are well meaning when they start out, then enter the darkness, succumbing to cronyism, nepotism and whatever else. Add fake news, conspiracy theory and next thing, people are voting for a property tycoon and golf player, because they trust him more than Hillary Clinton, who is allegedly ‘owned by the devil.’

Michael Specter, author of the exhaustingly titled book ‘Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet and Threatens Our LIves” ponders if the reason people don’t vote established candidates is due to ‘a rejection of reality or a rejection of politics? To argue that politicians are useless, so let’s try something else, is not completely insane.”

There are no courses in how to be president and people take different routes to get there, but it appears, that the one with the most grandiose notions of themselves and overinflated ego win the day.

In the field of psychology, according to the Dunning Kruger effect- people with low ability suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly assessing the cognitive ability as far greater than it actually is. Kanye West anyone? Does he not want to run in 2020?

Make of that what you will. Either way, being a politician is tough work. You can’t please everyone. You’d have to be mad to do it.

I’ll stick with opera for now.