Kanye versus Obama: It's easier being a celebrity than a politician | Bleader

Friday, April 27, 2018

Kanye versus Obama: It's easier being a celebrity than a politician

Posted By on 04.27.18 at 02:14 PM

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click to enlarge Kanye West - CHRIS PIZZELLO/INVISION/AP, FILE
  • Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File
  • Kanye West

I realize it was only a few days ago that I was complaining about Barack Obama's reluctance to end the war on drugs by taking a wishy-washy stance and legalizing marijuana.

But now let me do a bit of reversal to rise to his defense against the unfair criticism leveled by Kanye West, who, while reaffirming his bizarre love for Donald Trump, felt compelled to take a shot at Obama.

After tweeting that Trump is "my brother" and bragging that they share "dragon energy," Kanye wrote:

“Obama was in office for eight years and nothing in Chicago changed.”

C'mon, Kanye—give me a break.

First of all, Obama did do something for people in Chicago—they call it Obamacare.

Yes, it's flawed—it's no single payer—but it's better than no health care. Which is what many people had and will have if Trump gets his way and eradicates Obamacare.

Secondly, it’s a lot easier for a celebrity—rap stars included—to take bold positions than it is for mainstream politicians, like Obama.

Celebrities are accountable to no one other than their fan base. Give the fans what they want and it really doesn’t matter how many other people you turn off in the process. And for every fan he loses by embracing Trump and "Make America Great Again," he possibly earns another one.

So Kanye can go on TV—as he did in 2005—and say “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” and his brand only grows.

But if Barack Obama were to say that, he'd probably never get out of the  Iowa caucuses.

I'm not saying celebrities shouldn't speak up. They play an important role. They can give a voice to unpopular but important causes—as former NFL quarterback Colin Kapernick has done.

But there are limits to the roles they play.

It reminds me of what Don Rose, the great Chicago political strategist, once told me about the difference between an elected official and an Alinsky-style community organizer.

A community organizer has to fill a room with 100 or so people who already pretty much agree on the same thing.

Elected officials, in contrast, have to win elections, convincing a majority of voters to vote for them—even if there are some issues on which they disagree.

Compared to Obama, Kanye's got it pretty easy. Talk some shit. Sell some products. Let Obama—or other political leaders—worry about the details.

That said—c'mon, Democrats, it really is time you picked up the pace on ending that war on drugs.

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