“Mitt Romney, will you accept this rose?”
Whether or not you admit to ever having watched TV’s “The Bachelor,” most people are familiar with this phrase. It means you’ve been chosen. You’re “the one.”Reality TV has permeated our culture, and although it isn’t high-brow programming, every American has probably been captivated by at least one of these shows. In fact, I would guess that more Americans have watched an episode of “The Batchelor” than a single presidential debate.
So in an effort to engage the American public and get a true idea of the candidates’ values, I propose a reality TV overhaul of the presidential election. I predict the format would draw a larger variety of candidates, and it would increase voter participation.
The American people like to vote, just not in elections. They easily pick their favorite quick-step on “Dancing with the Stars” and assume the role of record producers picking the next “American Idol.”
But when it comes to the presidential election – or any elections, for that matter – they tune out. And who can blame them?
People are disenfranchised and frustrated. They feel as if one candidate is no better than another. The political rhetoric is deep, and it’s difficult to dig down and reveal the real person behind the party platforms.
The campaign process has been reduced to a series of speeches and debates where candidates spout rehearsed one-liners with pre-planned hand gestures, always toeing the party line, not necessarily considering what is best for the American people.
Serving the public means getting up every day and putting someone else’s needs above your own. In the case of politicians, it means putting the needs of entire populations above your own, and I’m not sure that happens on a regular basis.
I realize much of reality TV is also orchestrated, but much less so than the series of debates and campaign stops that pave the way to the White House.
On “The Voice,” judges sit with their backs to the stage while performers sing. Without seeing the contestants, the judges pick their favorites.
Imagine an election without perfectly coiffed hair, expensive suits and bleached teeth. Imagine voting without ever seeing the candidates. It might be a contest focused more on ideas, passion and service, but be warned – the winners could have Coke-bottle glasses, buck teeth or long hair.
Or the suit might win. But that’s the true beauty of it – it’s based on ideas and ability or desire to pursue those, not status or wealth.
Obviously, candidates’ true character would be revealed on reality TV. Throw them all on an island for a red, white and blue “Survivor.” Winner gets to be president.
The twist would be that instead of their own tribe members, the American people get to vote who stays and goes.
It wouldn’t take long to narrow down the choices. We would see how they operate under duress. How are their decision-making skills when they’re tired and hungry?
What’s their initial reaction when threatened? Do they lie to get their way?
Can you build a fire or create a shelter? Common sense would go a long way in office.
On a show like “Survivor,” we would see what these men or women are made of. We would find out who chooses to be honest and who doesn’t.
And if in a challenge you can’t direct blindfolded tribemates to large block puzzle pieces scattered on the beach and then assemble that puzzle, you shouldn’t be president.
“The tribe has spoken.”