“I am glad that I paid so little attention to good advice; had I abided by it I might have been saved from some of my most valuable mistakes.” ― Edna St. Vincent Millay
I wonder what would happen if we forced candidates to run anonymously through the primaries, unable to present a name, a photograph, or even appear on Sunday morning talk shows in person. How would it change the process, and the number willing to run, if they were initially assigned a number and were forced to run strictly on the merits of their platform, with no personality involved? Would we be more careful about who we choose as our president? Certainly, we would want to reveal the names of the candidates at the party primaries, but in the circus leading up to that point what benefits might there be in ignoring names altogether and having everyone run anonymously, with no indication of race, heritage, gender, sexuality, or religious beliefs? I cannot help but think the process would be much better served.
Personality and ego are a detriment when one is considering who should hold public office, but yet those are the two aspects voters get heaped upon them the most often. In a crowded field such as what we are already experiencing in this cycle, we are forced to endure a constant battle of who can say the most socially provocative thing in an effort to get even 15 seconds of time on a newscast, or perhaps a small storm of controversy on social media. When over half the field of contestants is more well known for their ridiculous statements and social media gaffes than their actual platforms, we have a serious problem.
Such inappropriate attitudes toward sex and violence are one of the reasons we have had to stop giving names, even pseudonyms, to models who appear nude. We have had too many instances where technology allowed a model to be stalked after her name came up in some random Google search. With the increase in facial recognition software, I worry that, without any change in public attitude, we may be forced to limit figure art to anonymous forms such as today’s picture. Yes, today’s picture is quite lovely, but I’m always saddened by the fact I’m forced to crop out the model’s beautiful and expressive face because she rightly fears both social and professional backlash.
Anonymity can work both for us and against us. When it prevents ego and personality from obscuring fact and reality, anonymity is a good thing. When it allows shaming and inappropriate blaming to continue, though, anonymity is something that should perhaps be stripped away. I would dearly love to never have to crop another photo or avoid giving credit to another model to prevent putting them in any form of danger.
Maybe I should just run for president. Anonymously, of course.