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The Personalization Of Politics

The year is 2017 and we have all fallen out of love with politicians.

And I am not just talking about Trump, the same applies to Merkel, Varadkar, May and I am just waiting for the penny to drop with Emmanuel Macron. It’s a repetitive cycle - like any new relationship, we love every ounce of it in the early stages but once that “individual” gets comfortable we need to show them the door!

It’s the little things that annoy us first - their opinions on foreign policy, the dissecting of what their predecessor left behind, the CONSTANT comparisons. It never ends.

Campaigning is the idyllic phase in any aspiring politician's career. Usually, they are fresh-faced, free of past indiscretions and full of hope. The entire campaign is planned to allow for various hiccups, backups for backups if you like. There really is nothing compared to a new politicians vigor for transforming the world of governing. But then what happens?

We do…

Yes, we the people get involved. The voters who gladly gave them a number one. We subscribed to their policies, watched their interviews, shared their posts on Facebook. We invested, albeit too much at times. Then the turn comes. We are the first to fire off the 180 character tweets attacking our local politicians for not doing enough...they never do enough. We are no longer politically correct. We go after their dress sense, their fellow party members, their spouses, virtually everything we can get our hands on. The personalization of politics is nothing new, but the closeness we can get to politicians is. No longer relegated to a letter to their constituency office, we can now get after them through their DMs. Is it too much?

We covered the topic of how politicians were failing to use social media correctly a few weeks back but now it’s time we reexamine the way we, the voters, deal with the politicians through social media. They aren't there to be targeted and yet this is exactly what they are subjected to. Something gets twisted post-election, all the avenues we use to interact with them, to congratulate them on a job well done is suddenly channeled to a pipeline of anger, directly to what we perceive is the source.

We have become obsessed with ranking a performance of individual politicians. We don’t even need to wait until they are out of office anymore, we are judging them daily - we see updates on Trump’s time in office weekly, did anyone read a “First 100 days in office” article? I will be the first to admit that Trump deserves lots of the criticism he receives but there were also times when Obama received unwarranted abuse, it just goes to show that those who lead are always in the firing line.

Hillary Clinton did an interview with an Irish television presenter last week. The interviewer was speaking on a radio show about Clinton and level of hate that she was subjected to during the final stages of her campaign in 2016. He labeled it as unwarranted, unjustified and simply mystifying. It just goes to show that sometimes the people get it wrong, all shades of wrong.

To finalize, are we too focused on the personality of our politicians - temporarily to enjoy, bolster and promote but ultimately to break down and critique? Is this why only a few politicians survive for the long haul, re-election after re-election?

Share and comment if you think we need to change the way we interact with our representatives.

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