OPINION: Celebrities should stay out of politics, at least running for office

During a time where national politics has become a center of attention, it seems as if an increasing number of elected officials are celebrities only concerned with inflating their own status and worth even more and not actual legislating and / or governing.

There are a number of reasons why people run for office. Activists and advocates desire sweeping reform. Moderates and conservatives wish to uphold the status quo. But now, more people are running seemingly for their own personal gain – to increase their status, wealth and influence.

This is especially true of celebrities. We’ve seen individuals like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Clint Eastwood actually win and hold state positions. Donald Trump has served as president, and is now endorsing Dr. Mehmet Oz’s run for one of Pennsylvania’s Senate seats.

Now obviously, everybody and anybody has the ability to run for elected office for any of the reasons listed above. However, celebrities do not live the same lifestyles or experience the same issues as many of the people they would represent in whichever district or state they are running for. Many make millions of dollars each year, live in mansions and own multiple businesses and collaborate with large corporations and brands.

It boggles my mind that voters continue to express support for these candidates and are not alienated by their comparably inflated status and worth. There’s not one name mentioned above with a net worth below $ 375 million – something most people do not and will never experience.

Oz is still currently attempting to secure the GOP nomination for one of Pennsylvania’s Senate seats: but how connected is he with Pennsylvania voters? He’s spent most of his life outside of the state.

It seems Oz has done the bare minimum in order to run for Pennsylvania’s Senate seat. However, most people do not see it this way. They still resonate with the TV personality because they feel like they know him.

This is one of the foremost reasons celebrities run for office, simply because they have name recognition. Voters see these celebrities on TV and in movies and they think they have an understanding of what someone’s priorities are and what their agenda is because they’ve tuned in to watch them for however long.

Now, I’m not saying the celebrities who run for office do not have an ounce of altruism in their bodies. Oz said the primary reason he’s running for office is because of how the United States has handled the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is a noble goal. We’re still losing loved ones to COVID-19 – the current death count sits just shy of one million, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But as noble as their intentions are, celebrities like these often aren’t representative of the states and districts they run in. They may have some platform or key issues which they would like to work on to fix, but much more of them do not align with the people they hope to represent. Put simply, they do not understand the same socioeconomic struggles with the people they wish to represent

Celebrities can make great activists and advocates for specific issues and can use their platform greatly to spread awareness about these issues, but this does not always necessarily qualify them to govern.

Sean Gilley (he / him) is a senior studying political science and economics with a certificate in informatics.

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