In my last political book before this one, “Trump’s War” I wrote an entire chapter titled, ‘Beware the True Believers,’ and in it I warned that we should be happy Trump is President, but we have to be honest about his actions and not agree that everything he touches turns to gold. He is a man, not a god. And in the last few days, I’ve disagreed with some of the things he has done and many of you think I’m wrong about the things I said. I believe having Kanye West in the oval office was a mistake and you won’t convince me otherwise.
But why does he feel he has to have these celebrities visiting him? Perhaps because he is of that world. He is a celebrity President. Is he the first? Yes. Will there be a trend of celebrities becoming Presidents? Maybe. Is he the first President to become a ‘celebrity?’
You can take it all the way back to our first President, George Washington. He was the most famous man in America, the most respected man in America, but he also thought of one thing, his country and it’s citizens above himself. They wanted to make him King, he said no. They wanted to give him a grand title as President, he said no. They wanted him to serve until he died, he said no. Because he loved his country more than himself. That is no longer the case.
Presidents after Washington were respected, but they were seen as what they were, leaders and politicians, not celebrities. Not until John F. Kennedy was there a media propped up President. They made him a celebrity. They talked about his good looks, his youth, his vigor, his beautiful wife, his life in ‘Camelot’, while ignoring his father’s bootlegging, his many affairs, and his horrible health problems.
That was probably the trial run of the media made up celebrity of a President. Nobody came close for a while afterward, Nixon was not well liked by either party, Ford had no personality, Carter was bland and depressing. Then Reagan came along. You might say he was the next celebrity President, but you would be wrong. Yes he came from Hollywood, and today we look back on his Presidency as successful and look on him with respect. But while conservative Americans loved him, the establishment Republicans hated him, and the Democrats painted him as a dangerous dumb cowboy. But the American people respected him, admired him, but they did not worship him.
Celebrity Presidents really took hold with the Cult of Clinton though. Even though there were many scandals, Whitewater, Rose Law Firm Records, allegations of sexual misconduct and rape, the media ignored it and created a celebrity in Bill Clinton. Scripted dances with Hillary on the beach, Harvey Weinstein orchestrating his entrance at the convention for television consumption, these were the tactics that were just being developed for the age of the Celebrity President.
When George W. Bush won, they used the same tactics on him that they tried unsuccessfully to use on Reagan, but this time they were successful. First, he stole the election. Sound familiar? Then, After being the most popular President in history after 9/11 they successfully turned him into a racist failure after hurricane Katrina and an economic meltdown that was not of his doing.
With the rise of cable news channels, more talk radio, and more and more television programming able to peddle the ideas of a socialist ideal, the media would not fail again to allow another Republican to take over. So they created the ultimate celebrity President in Barack Obama. He had the looks, he had the smile, he had an empty message of hope and change that they could sell even though it meant nothing. And he was black. And ‘articulate’ as Joe Biden said. He was so perfect they tossed Hillary Clinton to the side. And for eight years he was the perfect President. No scandals they said. No Fast and Furious, no IRS scandal, no spying on reporters, no Benghazi. They covered up for him and recreated Camelot. Celebrities like Jay Z and Beyonce were paraded through the White House. And the Celebrity Presidency took hold in America. They didn’t respect him or admire him, they worshipped him.
But Obama’s bad policies, and big media gave rise to a real Celebrity President in Donald Trump. Without the make believe perfection of Obama and a Republican Party who did nothing for us, Trump could not have arisen. And we are happy he is there because he is promoting our agenda. But he has continued the poison of the Celebrity Presidency by parading more celebrities through the White House. Now its Kim and Kanye.
But what’s different is the climate. Was the hatred for Obama as bad as it is for Trump? Some can argue yes, but what you didn’t have during those years was the violence we are seeing. This is the new element. So we’ve gone from celebrity worship to now motivating the worshippers into becoming a violent mob. Did we encourage our anti-Obama people to beat up the other side, to destroy property, to get in people’s faces in restaurants? No.
When Eric Holder, the former chief law enforcement officer in the nation stood up before supporters and said when they go low ‘we kick them’ he also said this is the new Democratic Party. This is new. This is the result of a Presidency that is a cult of celebrity. Now we’re not allowed to call Antifa a mob. The word mob is not to be used according to these news denizens. This is a dangerous place we’re in.
Here’s the main point. A cult of celebrity has gotten our society to where it is. Obama used it to his advantage to gin up the radicals we are seeing roaming the streets now. Because of the celebrity of Trump, Hollywood and the media have ginned up these radicals to acts of violence. And then there are those on our side who say President Trump can do no wrong. The True Believers. This is not healthy either
Maybe we don’t need a celebrity in the White House anymore. Maybe we do need a sober bureaucrat who makes governing about the people and not himself or other celebrities. Trump is encouraging these celebrities to run because that is the world that he comes from. But can this Pandora’s Box be closed now that its been opened. I’m not sure it can.