Popularity and the Vote

What are the ramifications to celebrity and popularity in our culture?   Of course, to be popular is a wonderful thing because usually it means that you have positive attributes that people like about you, and that makes them feel positive towards you.  If enough people feel that way about you, then you’ve achieved “popularity.”  However, while it seems counterintuitive in some cases, popularity can be a negative.  The following are two examples which are similar but are handled differently and have two outcomes.

My grandson Jake and granddaughter Emma called me last week with one having exciting news and the other disappointing news.  Emma, 10 years old, got on the phone first.  “Grandpa, I have great news!  I was voted to the Student Council to represent my class, and I received 24 out of 24 votes.”  Of course, being the proud grandfather, I was so proud of her and told her so.  Then it was Jakes turn. Jake is 8 years old.  “Grandpa, I ran for Student Council in my class, but I lost.  I only got 1 vote, and that was my own vote.  I was so disappointed that I lost, because I am very popular in my class.”  I told him that I was proud of him for running for the Student Council and maybe he will win next time.  I remember 100 years ago that if you ran for the council you had to make a speech, so I asked them both about their speeches.  They both told me that they don’t give the speech personally, but wrote it down and the teacher read it, without telling the name of the person who wrote it.  Then the students vote for candidate number 1, 2, 3 or 4. This way, the children are voting for substance and not popularity.  I was pleasantly surprised to hear that.  What a great idea for deciding who to vote for in an election.

Another election with much more importance is the election for US Senate in Georgia.  Herschal Walker was one of the most dominating running backs in NFL history.  A powerful runner he played in the NFL for 12 years and was a very popular figure in a very popular sport.  Now the rest of his biography is as follows. 

As you read this, make believe you don’t know who this is about and ask yourself if would you vote for this person for US Senate? 

  • After his football career ended, he opened 1 fast food restaurant, and then started a small food production company. 
  • He wrote a book called “Breaking Free” where he describes his serious mental illness, called multiple personality disorder, where he had 12 “alter egos” living in his head.  He claims he is cured, as he puts it, “as you put a cast on a broken leg, and it gets better.”  Any psychiatrist would say that is absurd.  This mental illness can be controlled but not cured. 
  • He has a history of bad behavior towards women, having threatened many women with violence, and many police interactions due to his actions through the years have been recorded.

Now after reading this, would anyone really vote for this man?  Well, so far the polls in Georgia are close in the election for US Senate. 

I can only say that the elementary school in Commack, NY has it right.  I cannot say that about the American system and the American public.

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