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Posts Tagged ‘R. Jay Magill Jr’

VÄLJARE | Att framhäva politikernas personlighet och privatliv är något både media och politiker inte tycks kunna få nog av.

The American Interest

Det personliga säljer och politiker vill gärna få väljarna att tro att han eller hon är din kompis.

Det är därför Fredrik Reinfeldt gärna talade om att han tyckte om att städa och Stefan Löfven inte har något emot att berätta om sin arbetarbakgrund. Och det är därför Annie Lööf inte så sällan talar om att hon är uppvuxen i glesbygd.

Dessa berättelser är till för att väcka sympatier hos väljarna, få dem att identifiera sig med politikerna och öka förtroendet för politiken.

Om politikerna kan berätta en sympatisk historia om sitt liv hoppas man att detta skall öka sympatierna för deras politik. Och locka över tveksamma väljare.

Om väljarna kan fås att tro att politikern är ”som människor är mest” kan man minimera risken för att väljarna röstar på någon annan p.g.a. politiska förslag som inte är till förmån för väljaren. För inte skulle väl ”min kompis” fatta beslut som skulle skada mig som väljare?!

Resultatet blir att vi allt för ofta ser politiker som prioriterar deltagande i caféprogram och morgonsoffor istället för att möta hårdslående journalister.

En som var mästare på att säga ingenting var förra hälso- och landstingsborgarrådet Filippa Reinfeldt (M).

Den som lyckas hitta en intervju där hon verkligen får stå till svars för sin politik är bara att gratulera. Istället hittar man desto fler lättviktiga reportage och personporträtt som innehåller noll av värde för den politiskt intresserade.

En som tycker att det hela har gått för långt är författaren R. Jay Magill, Jr. som skriver om faran av politisk närhet mellan väljare och politiker (och media som så gärna bidrar till detta).

As the American presidential primary season gears up in earnest, prudent men and women would do well to steel themselves against the coming onslaught of mawkish promotionals bound to head in our general direction.

[…]

Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign message, too, is sculpted around intimate details of her life, including her upbringing by her long-suffering mother Dorothy Rodham and her rule-obsessed father Hugh Rodham. The script cries out, “I, like you, have been a victim”, a message crafted to resonate with Democratic constituencies. The New York Times eagerly assists in the effort; note the cover story of the July 19 New York Times Magazine by Mark Leibovich, “The Once and Future Hillary”, followed on Tuesday, July 21, by Amy Chozick’s front-page story, “Clinton Father’s Brusque Style, Mostly Unspoken but Powerful.”

Of course, emotional appeal has been an effective rhetorical device since the beginning of rhetorical devices.Of course, emotional appeal has been an effective rhetorical device since the beginning of rhetorical devices.

[…]

Some of what has happened to American political culture in recent decades is common to Western democracies generally, and some is not. On the one hand, there is evidence of a general personalization of politics in Western democracies over the past three decades. In Britain, France, Italy, Germany, Denmark, and the Netherlands there has been a increasing focus on the personality of a political figure: his personal preferences, consumer choices, how he looks, behavioral tics, psychological and emotional makeup, personal histories or private family affairs.

[…]

Though certainly there is civic good that comes of knowing that an elected official is laundering money, lying to the citizenry about matters of the public interest, or defrauding taxpayers, it is unclear if knowing about politicians’ private affairs actually matters in their conduct of affairs of state. Europeans tend to think it does not; politicians are not asked to share the intimate details of their private or emotional lives because those details are deemed irrelevant to politics. But Americans tend to think it does.

[…]

Whether one prefers European or American sensibilities in such matters, political leaders are not just ordinary beings like you and me. They have willfully entered public life and, in a representative democracy, agreed to accept the responsibility of adopting a representative public role within it. They have agreed, in effect, to perform for us. They are therefore charged not with disclosing their personal feelings about certain subjects but with achieving what their constituents want them to achieve. This is why politicians in democracies are also known as “public servants”, an arrangement we too often forget, or from which we have been distracted by the culture of political celebrity.

After all, democracy involves giving up some things you want and begrudgingly accepting some things you don’t. And since getting things done is what we expect of our politicians, we ought to focus less on how “sincerely” a politician holds a given belief and more on how effective he is on achieving the ends with which he has been tasked. Indeed, “sincere” beliefs can beget opposing ideological rigidities so powerful as to make pragmatic compromise all but impossible.

[…]

We would be wise to remember that a performing self only becomes “fake” when the standards and qualities set for the private self are substituted into the template for the public political self. It would be better, and it would, by extension, generate less fakeness in the end, if we simply removed the expectation of wanting some of the positive qualities we set for the private self—authenticity, genuineness, sincerity—from the category of the public, political self altogether. We should instead demand other qualities from the political self that have nothing to do with private subjectivity: a strong work ethic, clarity of expression, sound judgment, and even objectivity. Rebuilding the wall between the two kinds of selves and understanding that this demarcation holds is not only morally advisable but would help reinvigorate public life. It would also free politicians from the tyranny of the sense that they must attempt to be intimate with strangers—even if they are voters.

Tidskriftsomslag: The American Interest, September-oktober 2015 (Vol. XI, nr. 1)

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