The Цесаревич appears to be entering the world of politics, with his declaration yesterday that he intends to run for Student Council President of Muscovy Junior High School. The decision was not reached easily, but was made quickly.
Last year, a seventh-grader ran for the position and was elected (despite the stipulated preference that the position be reserved for eighth graders) because no one ran against her. With no opposition, she won unanimously and subjected the generally conservative junior high to social justice hell. For example, the kids were forced to hold a Day of Silence for GLBTQ awareness in which they would be publicly shamed for speaking in school the entire day unless specifically addressed by an adult. “As if they don’t get enough attention,” the Цесаревич remarked about gay students. “It was awful.”
The social awareness presidency was so overplayed that this year, dozens of students announced they were running against her, ostensibly to ensure that the student in question (who has announced her re-election bid) is denied a second term.
The Цесаревич wasn’t interested in running, just in joining the growing chorus of students opposed to her potential second term. However, two of the new candidates (both eighth-grade boys) have made no secret that they are running gag campaigns, one specifically spoofing Donald Trump’s platform and the other making outlandish promises to the student body just to get laughs. And this is when the Цесаревич became angry.
Thanks to the 2016 elections, in which candidates of the Democratic, Republican, Green, and Libertarian parties are running as skit-show caricatures of actual candidates, today’s students think that leadership has become a joke, the Цесаревич explained to us. Today’s kids (and tomorrow’s voters) believe the whole point of a political campaign is to be silly and get laughs. While the Czar feels student council elections has always sustained jesters and jokers, he feels quite sympathetic to the Цесаревич’s indignation.
He didn’t want to run, and he didn’t believe for a moment he could win. But with three useless competitors, he felt he should at least make a stand for actual leadership. The Czar suggested he start a whisper campaign the next morning to gauge what other students felt about his idea. The Цесаревич agreed, and yesterday he reported to us that the response was overwhelmingly supportive. Only three students (all of whom are good friends of his, incidentally) suggested he shouldn’t do it. Based on the enthusiasm of the other students, he filled out the paperwork and declared his intention to run. Already, the Цесаревич has appointed the Царевич as a campaign assistant, and the latter, in his usual Boss-Tweed-like fashion, has assured him that 75% of the sixth grade will vote for him. And they are good friends with the most popular 7th grader in the school (by far), and are recruiting him to join the team to lock up that vote as well. Time will tell, and he needs to determine what the actual roles and responsibilities are for the position and base a simple campaign platform on that. And some of the competition will be very good.
But the Czar has been thinking deeply about his indignation. When the media shows Donald Trump making patently outlandish statements on the news, or shows Hillary Clinton dabbing on a variety show, or Gary Johnson making flip comments about his own ignorance of current events, what are teenagers supposed to think? There’s no counter-example: you never see Donald Trump lauded for a salient speech on foreign policy, or Hillary Clinton taking part in a substantive discussion on the economy, or Johnson or Stein raising points about third-party viability. Not in media monitored by teenagers, anyway.
To them, thanks to the pop celebrity of Barack Obama, the whole point of politics is pure entertainment. Act silly, look clever, and have a few after-school specials about terrorism. The Czar knows what you’re thinking, as he usually does—but Czar, baby kissing and cowboy hats and turkey wrestling are a long part of the entertainment value of presidents dating back to John Adams shooting peas out his nostrils at reporters.*
Some of this is true,** but these pictures have always been balanced by the more serious behavior. Kids today don’t see the counterbalancing, they only see the entertainment.
Of course, the Czar doesn’t hold President Obama as solely responsible for this: Bill Clinton’s sax playing started off the modern trend in 1992, and frankly the news media is responsible for almost all of this functional inability to un-entertain themselves away from Obama. In their desperate attempts to humanize the almost completely inhuman politicians we have today, the media continues to promote our candidates into cartoonish pop culture icons instead of portraying them as deeply screwed up under-intelligent buffoons, which would allow voters to choose vastly more qualified individuals.
It’s a deep sob for our country’s future, but the painful embarrassment of 2016 may indeed by a harbinger of worse things to come in 2020. And 2024. At least, based on what teenagers think.
*The Czar remembers this, but you might not have been there.
** The John Adams thing is probably something we just made up, the more we think about it.
Божію Поспѣшествующею Милостію Мы, Дима Грозный Императоръ и Самодержецъ Всероссiйскiй, цѣсарь Московскiй. The Czar was born in the steppes of Russia in 1267, and was cheated out of total control of all Russia upon the death of Boris Mikhailovich, who replaced Alexander Yaroslav Nevsky in 1263. However, in 1283, our Czar was passed over due to a clerical error and the rule of all Russia went to his second cousin Daniil (Даниил Александрович), whom Czar still resents. As a half-hearted apology, the Czar was awarded control over Muscovy, inconveniently located 5,000 miles away just outside Chicago. He now spends his time seething about this and writing about other stuff that bothers him.