AOC, her Met Gala dress and the unseemly rise of the celeb politician
Americans are starting to realize the worlds of government and Hollywood entertainment are fusing themselves together to the point where actors believe they know the legislative solutions to our social ills and politicians behave like central-casting hopefuls who’ve never found a camera they didn’t like.
During Season 3 of “Keeping Up with Ocasio-Cortez” last year, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez attended the star-studded Met Gala and garnered lots of attention for wearing her “Tax the Rich” designer dress to an event that costs $30,000 per ticket. But her intention to tax the rich is about as real as any reality show. What has she done beyond voicing platitudes?
AOC’s now coming under scrutiny: The House Ethics Committee is investigating her after receiving two complaints alleging she violated House rules by accepting the Met Gala tickets from a corporate table sponsor.
While I’m surprised Congress has any ethics it abides by, I’m not surprised Ocasio-Cortez felt it appropriate to attend such a function — because our celebrity-politician culture has only intensified over the decades.
America spent eight years with “Barry” Obama, who appeared on nearly every daytime and nighttime television show to talk primarily about his personal interests while avoiding criticisms about his feature role as POTUS. Even Donald Trump was cast — as America’s arch-villain by the mainstream media to create an obsessive audience who hated his character more than his ideas.
One of my earliest memories of a celebrity politician was Bill Clinton as he played the saxophone on “The Arsenio Hall Show,” making millions of people fawn over his suave public image instead of his political substance. Today, though, our celebrity politicians don’t even need to be likable, just infamous.
Our politicians treat us like viewers tuning into the latest episode of a TV drama series called “Incompetence,” sponsored by Pfizer and Lockheed Martin. AOC had no qualms about walking side-by-side with the Hollywood elite because they’re of the same celebrity ilk with the same elitist mentality.
Ocasio-Cortez’s attitude is far more pleasant when she’s surrounded by wealthy celebrities than her mocking behavior when surrounded by her constituents demanding answers from the MIA congresswoman.
Too many Americans have grown comfortable with feeling they must become fans of a celebrity politician instead of a constituent who deserves adequate representation. We wear their political paraphernalia with pride, enthusiastically repeat their catchphrases and cast our votes to witness another season with the same stars but a different plot.
Politicians like AOC aren’t here to work for you but to entertain you. They’re here to play the role of the protagonist who feigns outrage when her scripted political opposition behaves diabolically and heroically saves the day with her rhetoric just before the end of the last act.
The reason the government is ignoring your calls to secure the southern border, ensure you’re safe in your city and do something about your dwindling economic situation is that it’s too busy attempting to entertain you. Being a celebrity no longer requires you to possess any unique talents or superior intelligence — much like to be a successful politician, you just need to find a way to grab attention.
We often complain about not enough being done to support the average American, but we actively participate in this ecosystem of celebrity-politician narcissism. We would much rather converse about the gossip of the day than the policy of the day. We promote people we think we need to support instead of expecting them to lead.
Just like any form of Hollywood entertainment, it’s partly meant to distract you from your daily routine, and our celebrity politicians want to distract you as well — just from their daily routine. They want to divert attention from what they’re not doing for you, their corrupt behavior and who pays them for their roles.
No one believes Al Pacino is really Scarface, but we believe our politicians are the characters they portray on television. They’re selected by lobbyists and industry insiders to play the role of your favorite protagonist — and we wonder why we don’t get much of what we desire?
We’ve all been slowly trained to become consumers of their political-entertainment products, and politicians like AOC profit in the DC box office every time we give them our attention instead of our scrutiny.
Are you not entertained?
Adam B. Coleman is the author of “Black Victim to Black Victor” and founder of Wrong Speak Publishing. Follow him on Substack: adambcoleman.substack.com.