Run-ins with the FBI, ongoing questions by the public and media about what goes on behind closed doors, controversies masterfully covered up with slick campaigns, an image that is almost certainly more polish than substance.
Who am I talking about?
Given that the zeitgeist has its eyes turned to American politics, you’re probably thinking Hillary Clinton. And you wouldn’t be wrong. But you also wouldn’t be wrong to say Apple. In fact, if you look closely enough, Hillary Clinton begins to look a lot like Apple, and, by extension, voting for Hillary begins to look a lot like buying an iPhone.
With Hillary, you’re giving a vote to a less-than-ideal and rightfully criticized politician with the hope (or knowledge) that she’ll live up to her experience and the fear that the alternative will live up to his words. With Apple, you’re giving a good chunk of money to a less-than-ideal and perhaps not-criticized-enough corporation with the hope (or knowledge) that it will live up to its image and the fear that alternatives will live up to their worth. To wit, you’re buying an iPhone because you’re willing to overlook the fact that Apple is a multinational corporation, with all the scary realities that come along with this, because a well-functioning smartphone is a requirement of the 21st century.
Now let’s talk about Hillary. Hillary has experience, which means she has erred. Hillary has ideas, which means she has critics. And Hillary has a long public track record, which means she has had public moments of regret. So the question is are we willing to overlook these realities because the position of the President of the United States implicitly demands experience, ideas, and a track record.
I’m actually not sure. I would never endorse cognitive dissonance. In fact, we should be celebrating those people who have the courage and will to demand more. On the flip side, though, we should not be vilifying the pragmatists–those who are willing to overlook negative qualities or perhaps aren’t willing to overlook proven experience. After all, those who live without an iPhone are a very small group. In the same vein, we shouldn’t be questioning the motives of Hillary supporters. To say that every candidate, or every smartphone, is the same is simply incorrect.
You might respond by saying that buying an iPhone isn’t the same as choosing the President of the United States. To this, my only response is ‘duh.’ But casting a free vote for an extremely powerful candidate and giving at least $100 to an extremely powerful corporation do look pretty similar in a lot of ways. So it’s not a stretch to ask that we think about casting a vote for president in the same way as we buy our smartphones, giving new meaning to the phrase “vote with your dollar.”