The clowns in Congress are the same ones we invited in

The clown — former New York Representative George Santos — who just left the circus — the U.S. House of Representatives — has found his next lucrative and profitable venue: being a Cameo superstar. Expelled from Congress in December due to charges that included conspiracy, wire fraud, credit card fraud and identity theft, according to the U.S. Department of Justice, Santos quickly embraced a new role as a money-hungry creator of personalized videos on Cameo, a video-sharing website. Initially, his minute-long scripted messages cost $75; now they are going for $350 apiece.

Santos’ Cameo gig, documented on the TikTok account @georgiescameos, paints a depressing and dismal picture. Seated in a nondescript apartment or a dimly lit SUV, his face frozen with Botox injections and fillers, Santos mechanically delivers condolences, congratulations, generic Gen Z expressions like “slay, mama” or “kill it, queen.”

In his heyday, Santos’ absurd claims and erratic on-camera performances (such as stumbling over his office door or inexplicably holding a baby on Capitol Hill) provided some entertainment. But it is undeniable that Santos’ attempt at humor through Cameo messages inadvertently undermines the gravity of his crimes.

In truth, this new gig serves as a reflection of the perceived absurdity within the U.S. political system. Even when facing serious charges, Santos seemed eerily unphased.

By delivering lackluster and often nonsensical messages in his videos, Santos not only diminishes the seriousness of his “fraudulent schemes and brazen misrepresentations,” according to CBS News, but also exposes a certain level of mockery toward the political institution from which he was expelled.

The ease with which he transitioned from the corridors of power to the realm of entertainment illuminates a flaw in our political system, in which individuals facing serious allegations can trivialize their actions and create a platform for amusement.

Our country’s political scene is now analogous to a theater. Santos’ dramatic expulsion could have shaken Americans more drastically if our governing body were not already polluted by absurdity: former House speaker Kevin McCarthy’s rise and fall, former President Donald Trump’s campaign amid 91 felonies and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ book censorship rants, to name a few.

But the curtain has not fallen on Santos yet. Viral fame, coupled with his political downfall, fails to inject any remorse into Santos’ character as he plods through Cameo scripts.

In a recent interview, when asked how to make him go away, Santos credited his celebrity status for his continued fame, suggesting he’d only disappear once people stopped inviting him to places. And this, from the clown himself, is the ultimate solution. Until we start, on a bipartisan level, being more selective in who we invite in — vote for — the circus will continue.

Previous post Pro/Con: Limited Public Comment
Next post A plane ticket isn’t an all-access pass to your destination