Shaking up Haiti all over again

On Jan 12, 2010, a tremendous earthquake hit the island nation of Haiti. Eight months later, this tumultuous and devastated society is facing another threat: the pure unadulterated hubris of celebrity.   Wyclef Jean, a native Haitian who has become famous in the United States and around the world for his music, is now trying to run for president of Haiti. Let me start off by saying I am certainly not attacking Mr. Jean as an activist or a benefactor of the nation. Wyclef helped start the Yéle Haiti Foundation, which provides the means for thousands of Haitian children and young adults to attend schools throughout the country. However, what I am attacking is the fact that celebrities of any kind have the audacity to run for public office. Yes, Wyclef Jean is a large public figure in Haiti and around the globe, but someone please inform me what playing a guitar has the slightest bit to do with reviving a completely leveled country. At this point in the election process, Wyclef has been banned from the ballot on grounds that in order to run for president, the candidates must have lived in Haiti for the five years preceding the election, which he has not. Instead of assuming his place as a musical ambassador and advocate of the country, Mr. Jean has become outraged and in response has written a song in opposition of the current president, stating that he is wrongly being blocked from running. The only thing that Wyclef’s actions are accomplishing is distracting the people and government of Haiti from the true task at hand: rebuilding. This obnoxious show of egregiously ungracious losing only strengthens the argument that celebrities have no place in the area of public policy, unless they have studied it thoroughly. I, for one, would much rather have an unattractive man with a Ph. D in economics in office than Lady Gaga.    Celebrities will always have some sort of play in politics because of their mass exposure to the people. However, they should not be involved with the policy at all. Actor Martin Sheen played the president of the United States on television for more than seven years. Mr. Sheen has thrown his support behind candidates such as Howard Dean and Barack Obama, as well as frequently attacking the actions of the Republican Party. Yet, when asked if he would ever run for president or any public office, he gracefully responded, “I could never run for president, I’m just an actor.”