The warning signs were always there.

No one in their right mind thought John Fetterman was in his right mind. No one thought he was even remotely capable of the duties of a senator.

Yet he was elected anyway.

On May 12, 2022, the then-52-year-old candidate for U.S. Senate tragically suffered a stroke. From that day on, his campaign was never the same.

Running against Trump-endorsed Republican Doctor Mehmet Oz, Fetterman misspoke often, blundered his way through interviews, and gave a debate performance so terrible his opponents paid to have it played on a mobile billboard outside a Democratic Party fundraiser.

In a word, his campaign was disastrous.

While both Oz and Fetterman were generally considered weak candidates, many argued that the latter patently lacked competency for the job.

“There’s a whole host of things that a senator does, but it requires competency,” explained former Senator Rick Santorum. “It requires being able to communicate, being able to effectively formulate ideas and present those ideas in ways that are persuasive.” He concluded that “[i]f you don’t have the ability to communicate, that becomes nearly impossible.”

Not surprisingly, the media hushed up complaints that Fetterman was incapable of being a senator. Some even called it indicative of “endemic ableism in the political world” to question his fitness for office.

And while it’s not surprising that the media downplayed Fetterman’s mental faux pas, why didn’t the voters see through the ploy? Practically every time he opened his mouth to speak, what came out was confirmation of incompetency. Why did the people of Philadelphia elect him anyway?

Well, for the same reason that the nation elected Joe Biden.

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The answer is that we live in an unserious age where people are deeply unserious about politics.

How is it that the President of the United States was elected after telling stories about Corn Pop and his hairy legs, and consorting with Cardi B? How is it that the man who today stands in the shadow of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Ronald Reagan, regularly gets lost on stage, claims he’s been to “54 states,” described America as “asfutmsifwffutsh,” believes in mobilizing “trulinamunumaprzhure,” cannot count, hired a “nonbinary” luggage thief, and invited BTS, Olivia Rodrigo, Sam Smith, and Dylan Mulvaney to the White House? 

Is that man really our president?

To be clear, I do not delight in Fetterman’s or Biden’s obviously declining health. It breaks my heart.

And it embarrasses me.

As it should embarrass us all.

As I previously wrote, “this great nation” has become “the world’s favorite object of ridicule,” “the laughingstock of the world.”

And it’s all because we refuse to take politics seriously.

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For months, the media dismissed criticisms over John Fetterman’s health. Now, he is already in shambles.

Last night, scarcely more than a month into his six-year tenure, the senator from Philadelphia checked himself into a hospital due to “severe” depression. Amazingly, this is not the first time he has been hospitalized since assuming office. The New York Times previously reported that, after being released from the hospital last week, “Mr. Fetterman suffers from auditory processing issues, forcing him to rely primarily on a tablet to transcribe what is being said to him.”

Funny how the media is suddenly acknowledging the severity of his “physical impairment and… mental health challenges.”

After he got elected.

Again, my heart breaks for Fetterman. Nevertheless, this is a big “I told you so” moment. The consequences of not taking politics seriously are indeed severe.

Our country is being run by a president who barely knows his own name and a man who needs a tablet to know what others are saying. And the world is laughing at us. My plea to voters is to stop falling for unserious candidates just because the other side is “too extreme.” If America is going to be respected on the world stage again, we need to take politics seriously again.

We’ve learned our lesson; let’s not make the same mistake again.

Jakob Fay is a staff writer for the Convention of States Project, a project of Citizens for Self-Governance.

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