The Stress of Keeping Up Appearances

elected official imageOne of an elected officials primary focuses is keeping up appearances. Half of their job is maintaining an image that the public finds pleasing. They shake hands, kiss babies, make appearances at events and do a lot of smiling, and it is indeed appealing. But what the public does not see is that this routine of keeping up appearances can cause stress. This is not because public officials are secretly bad people. It is because they are normal people who have flaws and can become exhausted with always trying to cover them up.

All elected officials are acutely conscious of their public image. Every time they do something and any member of the public is around to see it, they have to think about how what they are doing would be represented to their voting public. Even the most moral of people can fall into bad circumstances in this role, even if it is merely due to an event being misinterpreted and misrepresented. This leads an elected official to scrutinizing their own behavior constantly.

Even to the sturdiest politician, this constant dance with public image can become stressful. Anything about them that can end up in the media has the potential to be twisted and misconstrued, and it can lead to a state of paranoia for the politician. The natural human response to this is to express some of their stress, but with cameras and news people constantly prying, releasing stress can be impossible at times.

The unfortunate thing about this predicament is that it often leads to a purging or binging of bad behavior on the elected official’s part. It is frequently the case that one can only keep their imperfections bottled in for so long before they come out with a vengeance. This is why we so frequently see politicians acting out with incredibly bad behavior, and we think to ourselves that if anyone should know better, it is them. But before you judge a politician, consider the expectations on their shoulders and ask yourself if the politicians you see in the media making mistakes are unhealthy or just human.