I can see why Aaron Schock has done well so far as a politician. Young (especially for a congressman), handsome, great smile, and charismatic as all get out. But this is not about politics (directly). I'm not one of his constituents and I'm not here to debate his voting record or work he's done for the Peoria/Springfield area. I admittedly know very little about that.
What I can't abide by is how he is giving travel enthusiasts a bad name. He's been in the news a lot lately, starting when he redid his D.C. office Downton Abbey style, then for his various travels over the past year, and most recently for taking a private plane to Chicago for a Bears game. The problem? It looks like Rep. Schock used a lot of taxpayer money to fund these ventures, much of which he is now saying he will pay back from his own accounts.
One look at Rep. Schock's Instagram account, and this guy knows how to travel. Hawaii, Argentina, Los Angeles, Myanmar. The stuff of travel blog dreams. But he also knows how to Insta-brag. On this account which is clearly public and where Rep. Schock displays photos of political events and initiatives are intermixed with selfies around the world that give off an air of "Look at awesome I am, suckers!" Travel should be about experiences, gaining knowledge, and trying new things, not about showing off and creating some serious FOMO or jealousy for others.
And the use of taxpayer funds? Besides perpetuating politician stereotypes (and being highly unethical), Rep. Schock's lavish trips perpetuate the idea that travel is an elitist pursuit. It gives a bad name to those of us who save and budget endlessly to explore the world, who know what it's like to travel on a shoestring, and who aren't interested in just the photo op.
Maybe Rep. Schock can take his apparent love of travel and seemingly limitless travel budget and help his constituents see more of their state, country, and world. Help students study abroad and entrepreneurs learn from foreign businesses. Now that would be newsworthy.
And as usual, Jon Stewart sums it all up nicely (and much more humorously):
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Filed under: Travel