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Stephen Colbert, a popular comedian known for his provocative and intelligent humor on “The Colbert Report,” recently announced that he would be running for president in South Carolina.
Though he missed the filing deadline for getting his name on the ballot for the primary, Colbert did encourage his supporters to vote for Hermann Cain, the former GOP frontrunner who stepped out of the race, in his stead. The comedian will likely never become president, but should it be OK for him and others like him to run for president in jest?
By NEBEYU MEKONNEN
Instead of boring the nation with policy speeches while spending millions on ad campaigns, a comedian running for president reveals the harsh truths of American politics and uses humor as a medium to communicate flaws in the system.
The only requirements to become president are to be born an American citizen, have lived here for at least 14 years and be at least 35 years old. Any man or woman who meets these criteria has the right to be a presidential candidate.
Comedians have a history of running for office. Howard Stern ran in 1994, and both Al Franken and Stephen Colbert followed in 2008. Some had genuine intentions of holding office, like Sonny Bono, who became mayor of Palm Springs, Calif., in 1988. But most ran to point out the shortcomings of the nation’s leaders.
Comedians such as Jon Stewart and Colbert entertain and inform their audiences by mocking politics to draw attention to major flaws in the system. Similarly, comedians running for office use their charisma and humor to communicate political problems.
Comedians are within their rights to run for office and do so to the benefit of the people. They should continue to do so.
By ISRAEL CORONA
Comedians should not run for president because they take away votes from serious presidential candidates, and their mockery makes for a waste of time by driving attention away from the actual political race.
Several popular comedians have run bogus political races, including Stephen Colbert, a somewhat controversial comedian, who recently declared his bid for the presidential race in
He missed the deadline for adding his name to the ballot so he urged South Carolinians to vote for Herman Cain, a former candidate who had already dropped from the race. As a result, Cain received 1.4 percent of the votes, which could have gone to a serious candidate.
The efforts of Colbert and similar humorists waste the time and effort that people dedicate to these primaries. The process should be taken seriously, and mocking it does not benefit anyone.
Comedians who run for president as a joke take people’s attention away from what serious candidates have to say. Presidential elections should be respected, and if comedians should not continue to run for president because all they do is make fun of the system.