Column: Americans shouldn’t idolize politicians

Kyara Morales-Rodriguez, Opinions Writer

It’s time to stop praising politicians. Yes, even the ones you like.

Every once in a while, I will log into Twitter to see the people of the internet praising some political figure or other, and I hate to see it.

Barack Obama, for example, will post a nice family photo or something and suddenly people will forget he wasn’t that great of a president.

I used to love him during his presidency, but I was between the ages of 7 and 15 at that time, so I never thought to criticize him for his negative actions.

Now that I’m older, I know that though he did some great things during his presidency, we shouldn’t let those things overshadow the horrible things he’s responsible for.

He created the harshest and largest immigration enforcement regime in American history, deporting more people than any other president at the time. He said he would focus on deporting dangerous criminals, but he ended up deporting many people with old/minor convictions and families who were seeking asylum.

There were also ten times more air strikes in the “War on Terror” during Barack Obama’s presidency than under his predecessor, George W. Bush. He even ordered an airstrike in Yemen that hit a wedding party (in 2013) and another in Afghanistan that hit a hospital (in 2015), killing and injuring dozens of people in both.

The Obama administration also aggressively enforced criminal laws on drugs, despite the disastrous human rights impact of the “War on Drugs” and its contribution to the mass incarceration that disproportionately affects African Americans.

Obama is someone whose problematic decisions were brushed under the rug because he’s funny, charismatic, and all-around likeable.

We can’t let history repeat itself with President Joe Biden. We must remember he’s not above criticism.

In fact, none of the candidates we vote for and support are above criticism just because we agree with some of their beliefs and actions. We all need to start criticizing government figures more and stop seeing our favorites as holy saints that can do no wrong.

Some of my favorite political figures are AOC and Bernie Sanders, so it’s even hard for me to stay out of that mentality. But one day or another, they may do or say something that is disappointing, and I can’t look the other way just because I support them.

America needs citizens who are alert and critical of the decisions politicians make. Otherwise, we risk becoming citizens who mindlessly follow our candidates no matter what they do.

Kyara Morales-Rodriguez is a junior English major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].