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Why We Love to Hate Politicians

House of Cards' straight-from-the-headlines plot and the recent return of Anthony Weiner to the national scene remind us that real life rarely ends like a Disney movie.

Becky Graebner


May 29, 2013 - 7:00 am
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Check out the previous installments in Becky Graebner’s dissection of House of Cards. Spoiler Warning!

May 8: 3 Washington D.C. Stereotypes House of Cards Hits Too Close for Comfort

May 15: The House of Cards Vision of Infidelity: More Fact than Fiction

May 22: Seduce Your Way to the Top? Meet The Anne Boleyns of Washington, D.C.


Politicians… we love to hate them. And sometimes we love them more than they deserve.

Politicians have a tough rap in Washington, D.C. Unfortunately, many citizens have come to associate public office with corruption. Thanks to the media, it has become the norm to see “scandal” written all over the papers, and these frequent scandals have exposed some of our leaders as immoral, untrustworthy frauds.

Playing with our already preconceived perceptions of politicians in Washington, D.C., House of Cards portrays almost all of its political characters as being corrupt.  I shiver to think that there are politicians running around D.C. killing their mentees, but sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction.  A lot of the activities seen in HoC are things that our beloved senators, congressmen, and presidents have been caught doing. What’s even more shocking is that the public seems to take them back. Are we so jaded that bad behavior has become the norm?  Not quite — but I do blame Disney.

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All Comments   (5)
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Such a pleasure to see Graebner's intelligent and well written pieces on popular entertainment. Hope she's a regular contributor!

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
That's not even a real Disney "Cinderella" story going on, though... unless Cinderella was dressing up as her own evil stepmother like Norman Bates. A redemption story isn't the same as a Cinderella story. And the problem with a redemption story is that we, the post-Christian West, have forgotten many of the guidelines that make possible the seeking of redemption. The chief of these here is "love the sinner, hate the sin." We used to be better at understanding and respecting that difference; take the case of a criminal who goes to jail. Just because he shows true remorse and reform does NOT mean that we just unlock the cell and let him walk away. The crime is punished, the criminal gets mercy, both at the same time.

The absence of this dynamic reveals itself in how so many treat people who merely disagree with them - as if they themselves are flawed, worthy of complete destruction. However, those who are on the same side are protected regardless of any transgression.

Without the ability to distinguish between person and deed, redemption becomes literally impossible - there's no way to separate anyone from their behavior.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Um...because we elect them to do a job and they always do it badly?

When we send someone to Washington to do the country's business, we shouldn't have to constantly ask, "What the hell are we paying these idiots for?"
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"When a group of people put their trust in one person to “represent” them, they should be the most honorable of men and women."

True, but the majority of people don't understand what their congressperson does, so it's a popularity contest only and the biggest personality wins. Add in the party machines - the people who want to sway policy don't want incorruptible people in office, they want people they can bend.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
As I said in a different comment, I'd settle for people who can actually do their jobs. Not "fundamental transformation," which should be an extracurricular activity. Just the basic stuff - passing budgets, balancing budgets, protecting us from foreign threats, etc. If our current leaders can't even do the basic things, why should we trust them with the big things?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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