The Political Omen of ‘Saints Row’

By Javier Reyes, Contributing Writer

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SaintsRowIV_FeaturedImage.jpeg
Box Art for ‘Saints Row IV’
Photo Courtesy of playstation.com

To say politics in the United States — and many other countries for that matter — have become increasingly unstable and divisive would be an understatement akin to someone stating the Golden State Warriors are a good basketball team.

President Trump, in his ever-growing propensity to exacerbate every conceivable issue, especially ones that seem to insult minorities, is impossible to ignore no matter where you go or who you talk to. However, I do not want to talk specifically about President Trump. I have found that these last couple of years in the political climate have yielded an intriguing narrative involving the coalescence of celebrity culture and elected government officials.

This trend reminds me of an unapologetically crude and outlandish video game I played years ago: “Saints Row IV.” The series is essentially the opposite of “Grand Theft Auto.” It has grown exponentially in popularity with each game released. Over the course of each game, the street gang known as The Saints becomes criminally powerful and internationally popular. This all culminates in the fourth game in the series when the player disarms a nuclear missile, earning the complete adoration of the American people. In return, the player is elected as president. A wave of insanity ensues from the entertaining game experience.

Now while the premise is clearly an exaggeration, I found myself intrigued by its subversive message. No matter what you may think of him, President Trump used to be primarily known for hosting the reality TV show “The Apprentice.” When he was elected, he was a celebrity with no experience as a government official. For a myriad of reasons, people overlooked his lack of experience and decided that he was somehow viable. Almost exactly like The Saints in the “Saints Row” video game series, who became celebrities and had the people become enthralled with them.

It all makes me wonder if celebrities will continue to become more relevant when it comes to politics. After all, if Trump could successfully be elected to the highest level in government, why would Kid Rock be unable to secure a Senate bid? Why would Kanye West not follow through on his promise to run for president in 2020 from his speech at the 2015 Video Music Awards? We have even seen Jimmy Kimmel, a television host, become a prominent and vocal figure for health care.

For most people, the government and its elected officials have not instilled enough reasons for us to be optimistic. It is a system littered with agendas and unkept promises that disregard the common man or woman. From the perspective that politicians just twiddle their thumbs while trying to convince you they are taking action, I can understand the notion of just supporting some celebrity for the sake of artificial change. Is the possible rise of celebrities in politics a good thing? Objectively, I do not think so, but it is also quite understandable.

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