My title’s a ripoff of the alleged quote “Everybody wanna be a bodybuilder, but don’t nobody wanna lift no heavy ass weights.” It’s true. I’d like to look like The Rock, or Zac Efron, or, hell, Tiger. But I don’t want to put in the work that’ll get me there. Same goes for a lot of other aspects of my life, and I’m sure y’alls as well. We want to be rich. But we don’t want to take that job that’d move us out of state, or work that overtime that’d make us miss most of our weekends. We want more free time. But we don’t want the pay cut that’d keep us from being able to afford the things we like to do during the free time we already have. For so many of us, in just about every aspect of our lives, our wants exceed our willingness to achieve.
Unfortunately, this is especially true in our politics. We want so much for our world. We want it to be safer. We want it to be healthier. We want those around us to be fed and taken care of. We want to have the freedom to act as we please. If we need something, we’d like to be able to receive it. That’s a long list. What’s not long is what we know we’re going to have to do to get everything on that list. Even shorter, the list of things we’re willing to do to make them happen.
That’s a problem, because after a while of not receiving our wish list, we start to get frustrated at the people we think should be making it happen for us. Our desperation for our wants grows and we lose more and more sight on realistic possibilities of obtaining them. Before long, we stop caring about hearing how we’re going to get what it is we want. Wait too much longer and we don’t even hear if it’s actually going to happen. We don’t care. So long as we feel like it is, that’s good enough for us.
I think this is why political grifters have enjoyed so much popularity lately. They tap into our frustrations and tempt us with what they know we’re most desperate to have. They realize they don’t need to explain how they’re going to give it to us. So long as they make the entire possibility of achievement hinge on sending them to office, we’re hooked.
Look at just about everyone vying for office at the moment. No matter what party, they’re probably promising you something off a wish list. Maybe it’s a wall. It might be a planet that doesn’t spontaneously combust in 12 10 years. It’s almost always jobs and money, no matter how extreme their other views might be. Regardless of what it is, all we have to hear is that once we put ’em in office we’ll have it, and you can bet we’ll put them in office again and again until a smoother talking grifter comes along.
We’ve gotta stop falling for that. We’ve gotta recognize nothing in this world is free, least of all, anything fundamentally altering to our society. I mean, come on. Do we really think all of this can be obtained by simply moving money around? We know it can’t. But we want it to be that simple. We want to have that feeling of satisfaction, that achievement, through nothing more than supporting someone who says they’ll get it for us.
Let’s be real, though. Just like the abs and the money and the vacation time, we don’t want to put in the work to get the healthier planet or the free healthcare or the safer community. If a politician came to us and said “I can solve global warming, but you can’t turn your thermostat below 80, you can’t drive your car more than 3 days a week, and you can’t use electricity after 9 PM,” an angry mob would rip them apart before their idea ever made it to legislation. Same for every other social issue. Someone could tell us it’s possible to provide healthcare for all, but it’s going to require a 25% tax increase across all levels, and we’d have their head on a pike in front of the capitol building before sunset.
For too many of us, being a hero comes with a giant caveat. Save the planet, feed the poor, make the streets and cities safer, but only at zero cost to my current lifestyle. Do whatever you want to the other guys, but if I have to get my hands dirty, or make an adjustment I’m not ready to make, I’m out. So, nothing changes. We stay pissed off. We stay wanting change and demanding better and more, but we never get it. Because, at the end of the day, everybody wants to be a hero, but don’t nobody wanna do nothing heroic.