Tuesday, former Congresswoman Michele Bachmann wrote a startling Facebook post comparing President Barack Obama to the Germanwings pilot who killed 150 people. She claimed that because of the potential Iran nuclear deal, the president is driving the United States and its people into an impending doom.
Whether or not you like Obama, Bachmann, the idea of an Iranian nuclear deal or have an issue with executive overstep, as a nation we have to see the trend of these radical comparisons and the toll it’s taking on us culturally and politically.
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard crazy analogies by politicians who are trying to make a point. In 2013 an Arizona state senator argued for a comparison of Obama to Hitler after national park closures, and continued, citing that because Hitler started with gun control and national health care, we are on the same track.
These quotes are not even necessarily about issues or things that could productively be fixed. They’re just plain negativity spoken in an effort to gain attention or to gain political traction for themselves. In either case, I don’t see the need for such offensive language. To compare our president to someone who has killed millions and millions, or someone who killed in a tragic and unnecessary event, is disrespectful and insensitive to those who were killed.
Beyond those actual statements, the more concerning aspect of this entire story, is the fact that so many people agree and support these statements (10,000 likes on Bachmann’s Facebook post). This is an ever widening trend of hyperbole used to get a point across politically.
As said earlier, these statements often have nothing to do with the issue at hand at all. In Bachmann’s Facebook post, there is a lack of her having a point. The reader has no idea what exactly she has a problem with or what she thinks the government should do to fix it, but instead it is just an aggressive attempt to rile people up. The fact that many politicians are leaning to take this pointless direction, rather than debating a certain topic, shows how tragic American politics is becoming.
The more and more politicians stray from actually talking about issues and start taking offensive jabs at each other, the more control we lose as the people in a democracy to actually be selecting representatives that will convey what we want, think, need and feel towards the government.
Instead of giving the power to who we think will best represent us and do the best for our city council, state, and country as a whole, we give it to those who spark our interest with entertaining and dramatic quotes, however ignorant and insensitive they may be.
As a society we can’t be so easily be won over with such tabloid-like spectacles, as it will just drive us as a country further away from actual problems and solutions the government is supposed to take care of. We are the ones picking who runs the government — it’s our job to use discretion to pick people who we think have their heads in the right place, and to not get caught up in party politics and encourage the negativity. I think we would all be a lot happier if the nightly news wasn’t the latest episode of The Real Housewives: Washington D.C.
Collegian Columnist Alexandra Stettner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @alexstetts.