By Caleb Berry
The election of former television personality Donald Trump to the office of president has led to the general public entertaining the possibility of other celebrities seeking the White House. Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson has recently claimed to be interested in running for commander-in-chief. Oprah Winfrey has been asked by thousands on social media to begin a campaign despite the fact that Oprah has said she is not interested. Even Kanye West is throwing his hat into the ring. As entertaining as it would be to watch Kanye West dabble in politics, it is rarely positive and largely negative for celebrities to run for president.
The argument that celebrities should not run for president is based on a very simple thesis: politics is not supposed to be a circus. Presidential elections are very serious and solemn affairs where we as a nation of free men and women come together to pick a person to lead our society. A presidential election is not about being entertained. It is not about who has a popular TV show or who has the most triple-platinum albums. Many people treated the 2016 presidential election as a joke and honestly, they should not be blamed for doing so. The 2016 election was something the country has never seen before and will hopefully never see again. When celebrities launch a presidential campaigns, it turns the election into a circus.
When Trump announced his candidacy, he turned the 2016 election into a novelty. People stopped looking at the presidential election as a serious contest between qualified public servants to attain the highest office in society and started treating it like a reality TV show. Granted, some celebrities are more qualified than others. Oprah is definitely more qualified than Kanye West to run the country. That does not change the fact that we have set the dangerous precedent of simply electing popular people known for being on TV to public office.
There is an important distinction to be made between someone who is a household name and someone who is a celebrity. Any congressperson, governor or holder of a high office is most likely going to be a household name. Most citizens who paid attention to politics knew who Sen. Bernie Sanders was before he announced his candidacy for the presidency. That does not make Sanders a celebrity. The difference between Sanders, Barack Obama and George W. Bush is that they gained their fame prior to their presidential campaigns by serving in public office while Trump has not.
The president is our highest public servant. Those who seek the office should have a long record of public service to demonstrate they have the ability to perform the duties of president.