The Rock is Cooking: A Potential Presidential Campaign America Doesn’t Need

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The Rock’s presidential goal is painfully generic and unnecessary.

Noah Osborne, Staff Writer

WWE Superstar and actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is stirring the political pot as he hints at a potential presidential run. The actor has found great success in Hollywood and the WWE, where he is known as the most “electrifying” professional wrestler of the promotion. The Rock’s legacy has left him with many other names, including “the people’s champion.” However, this does not mean he is capable of being the people’s president.

Johnson made it very clear that he needs the people’s support in his run for president. He also said if he were to run, he would prioritize uniting the country. However, besides these teases, it is unclear how The Rock will cook up a serious presidential run because American politics is unlike any wrestling ring Johnson has ever stepped foot in. For starters, not only is Johnson’s goal to “unite the country” painfully generic for any would-be presidential contender, but it is also unclear how he plans to take on this challenge. American tastes are always changing — with growing concerns about racial justice, rebuilding an economy damaged by the pandemic,  gun reform and immigration, it is very unlikely an entertainer lacking political experience has the necessary skills to unify America.

Media-loving Americans look fondly on their favorite entertainers and celebrities, but political history books do not. For example, former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger held a lot of star power but nearly terminated the state’s finances by slashing funding for AIDS protection, women’s services, child healthcare and many other government-funded safety-net services. Additionally, 45th President Donald Trump gave speeches at his rallies about his desire to unite the country. Yet, four years later, the country could not be any more divided. Following Trump’s presidency, America has seen a rise in race-related hate crimes and gun violence, and a bipartisan battle is being waged on voting rights while the coronavirus pandemic still rages on

However, inexperience does not always equate to political disaster. According to historians, America’s greatest president Abraham Lincoln held minimal political experience before taking office. Still, he took a large step towards racial equality. Dwight D. Eisenhower is also viewed favorably by many political scientists and historians. To put this in perspective, out of 46 American presidents, only six lacked political experience. Although the majority of these inexperienced presidents led the country many decades ago, America and its needs have changed, and we have just seen what happens when those needs are ignored or cannot be met as a result of such political inexperience. Typically, inexperienced candidates hold favor among communities who feel disenfranchised, and this still holds true today with the election of former President Trump. Although inexperienced candidates’ ability to reach these marginalized people is remarkable and should be noted by unpopular career politicians like Hillary Clinton, the fact that someone with no experience is seen as a better listener to disenfranchised Americans’ problems than a Washington veteran reflects poorly on the government’s ability to listen to its people. 

However, at such a crucial junction in our nation’s history, it is uncertain that an inexperienced candidate’s connection with historically ignored Americans will translate to meaningful change. We cannot afford to take any chances in giving celebrities like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson unnecessary attention, should he choose to run for office. The nation is not seeking to be victorious in a world war effort but for world peace, as we approach the Biden administration’s historic move to withdraw troops from the Middle East in an effort to end the nation’s longest war. No longer does America hunger for racial desegregation, but for intimate integration where justice is applied equally despite race, which we have seen somewhat in the guilty verdict for Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis police officer convicted of George Floyd’s murder. We long for an equitable economy that allows all Americans to contribute regardless of gender, social class, race, religion or sexuality. Where we once fought to gain a foothold in the arms race during the Cold War, now we hunger for gun reform so no one has access to a military-grade firearm to unleash onslaughts in local spas, grocery stores and now FedEx plants. Our nation’s priorities have evolved and become far too complex for an inexperienced celebrity to run for office, pin down our national problems and walk away with a unified country after more than 200 years of division. 

America is hungry for change it can believe in, but not for what The Rock is cooking.

Noah Osborne, FCRH ’23, is a journalism major from Harlem, N.Y.