My Top 10: Fictional Leaders and Politicians

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As election season approaches its end, much of the political discussion on campus has taken on a bitter and disillusioned tone. In particular, some students are dissatisfied in the selection of candidates, and feel that their first vote is a decision between “the lesser of two evils.”

In hopes of renewing campus faith in future elections, this week’s issue of The Oracle presents 10 fictional politicians and leaders sure to keep standards high.

10. President Richard Nixon’s Head, “Futurama”

The resuscitated head of Richard Milhous Nixon, 37th President of the United States. Nixon’s head was revived sometime before the year 3000 and placed in the Hall of Presidents, where he shared wisdom and stories with visitors. As nobody could become President more than twice, Nixon purchased Bender’s body to legally run for President of Earth, winning by one vote.

Nixon’s résumé includes staging the moon landing (on Venus), rigging the 3004 presidential election, incriminating himself in the Watergate Hotel again and playing the electric guitar.

9. Maj. Gen. Olivier Mira Armstrong, “Fullmetal Alchemist” (manga)

A one-star general officer in charge of Fort Briggs, a stronghold at Amestris’ northern border. Major General Armstrong led her troops with a harsh “survival of the fittest” policy, leading to teamwork and skill that she could count on even without commanding it. After several Briggs soldiers died exploring a strange tunnel linked to a military conspiracy, Armstrong decided to investigate in hopes of protecting her men.

Major General Armstrong’s background in politics includes laying siege to her nation’s capital, successfully negotiating with soldiers sent to kill her, executing a corrupt superior to have a shot at taking his position, and accepting her subordinates regardless of history.

8. President David Palmer, “24”

Winner of 2002’s presidential election and the first African-American president of the United States. Before entering office, he campaigned as the Democratic nominee, despite being targeted by assassins. As President Palmer started his career in office, he worked to keep his administration honest and trustworthy despite the duplicity and dishonesty of his supporters.

President Palmer’s platform is built upon being difficult to assassinate, solving problems by communicating clearly, trusting Jack Bauer despite having absolutely no good reason to and generally doing the right thing.

7. Marquis de Lafayette, “Hamilton”

A French aristocrat, politician and military general who allied himself with colonial America during the Revolutionary War. After his arrival, Lafayette quickly befriended American leaders like George Washington and Alexander Hamilton. He provided indispensible aid to the Continental Army, including manpower, guns and ships, and even today is recognized as a national hero in America.

Lafayette’s strategic decisions consist of negotiating down America’s debt to France, blockading harbors to limit British backup, persuading American forces to avoid invading Canada during the winter, and rapping at six words per second while jumping all over the stage.

6. Mycroft Holmes, “Sherlock”

A British official of unknown position and authority. Mycroft claimed to hold a low position in the government, yet his power and information resources suggested otherwise. He introduced himself as Sherlock’s “archenemy,” but later clarified that he is actually his older brother. Mycroft often assisted Sherlock’s investigations with the full resources of the British government – when he could swallow his pride enough to ask for Mycroft’s help.

Mycroft’s policies encompass abusing government surveillance to look cool, kidnapping people he wants to introduce himself to, caring about his brother and trying to avoid seeing “Les Misérables” with his parents.

5. Senator Steven Armstrong, “Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance”

A Colorado congressman and a contender for the 2020 presidential election. Armstrong’s public service began when he joined the US Navy. After an honorable discharge, he founded military companies that provided employment to veterans and led a project to give third-world children job skills. Armstrong’s motivation ironically stemmed from his dislike for “war as a business,” and he ran for President in hopes of ending it.

Armstrong’s qualifications include providing advanced prosthetics to disabled veterans, hiring diverse applicants at high-level positions, turning down an NFL career to work with the military, and being honest about the problems he saw in his country.

4. Théoden, “The Lord of the Rings”

Rohan’s 17th king. Théoden had fallen under Saruman’s toxic influence before regaining resolve with help from Gandalf. Tragedy and terror had struck Rohan in his absence, but Théoden felt that his people still needed a king to believe in. After defeating Saruman’s forces at Helm’s Deep, Théoden mustered 6,000 riders from across Rohan to defend Gondor against Sauron’s army.

Théoden’s ruling style involves being scared to death but saddling up anyway, winning fights against impossible odds, leading soldiers from the front and having really cool horses.

3. Prince Ling Yao, “Fullmetal Alchemist” (manga)

The 12th son of Xing’s emperor. Ling traveled to Amestris in search of immortality, hoping to use it to convince the dying emperor to name him as his successor. Ling soon found himself involved in Amestris’ own, far more complicated problems, but never lost sight of his belief that “a king exists for his people” and never forgot the subjects depending on him.

Ling’s treasured values consist of using greed to provide for his people, fighting dirty to deal with assassins, refusing to see his subjects as expendable and collapsing in the street to get free meals from bystanders.

2. Professor Minerva McGonagall, “Harry Potter”

Deputy Headmistress and Transfiguration professor at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. McGonagall was responsible for Gryffindor House, and provided stern guidance to her students while refusing to tolerate rule-breaking, however noble its purpose. Her experience with structure proved vital to organizing the school’s defenders in the Battle of Hogwarts.

McGonagall’s curriculum includes undermining government tyrants, instructing poltergeists on the proper way to drop chandeliers, getting really worked up watching Quidditch matches, and triple-teaming Lord Voldemort in magical combat.

1.  Darth Vader, “Star Wars (original trilogy)”

A Sith Lord and Supreme Commander of the Galactic Empire. After Vader failed to prevent rebels from stealing blueprints to an Imperial space station, he worked tirelessly to protect it. He fought on the front lines to defend the facility, but the rebels exploited a structural flaw to detonate its core, killing everyone onboard. Despite his failures, Vader continued to strive for galactic order while trying to reconcile with his estranged children.

Vader’s conduct entails personally handling termination of disrespectful workers, arguing convincingly in defense of his faith, peacefully disarming violent gunmen and standing up to his superior in defense of his son.