On the night of what will probably be the most historic election of my lifetime, I have finally decided to publish this blog. Now before I go any further, I want to make one thing clear. I support Senator Barack Obama for the presidency of the United States of America. And while I do not pretend to be a political pundit of any form or fashion or even a hard news writer, I have done my research on both candidates-as any good voter should.
That’s the issue I have with the “idea of Obama,” and by that I mean this phenomenal support that the junior senator from Illinois has garnered, my fear is that while many have done their due diligence to align themselves with the candidate that best speaks to their issues (the economy, healthcare, the war in Iraq), more often than not many voters will be voting for Obama simply because he’s become a pop culture phenomenon with enough swag to rival that of Hannah Montana or because he simply has the support of famous friends like Jay-Z, will.i.am and Scarlett Johansson or… simply because he’s black. There, I said it!
As I said, I am by no means a politico, but I do know a thing or two about pop culture. It is with that said, that I firmly assert the following statement: “The 2008 Presidential election has been little more than a popularity contest akin to any glorified reality show. Granted, its prize is not an iron clad record contract or a committed relationship with some washed-up D-lister, but it is still being promoted, watched and merchandized with the same rampant fervor. Between the music videos, t-shirts, comic books and action figures, I think many of us, particularly in the hip-hop generation; have become swept up in the idea of Barack Obama rather than truly understanding the issues that the man represents. In all honesty, it’s Obama’s fault. To many Obama represents what our entire generation represents – change, ambition and aspiration. From Russell Simmons and Diddy to MySpace and Facebook, Barack Obama’s campaign speaks to the younger generations in a way that no other candidate has. He has all the flash (not to mention the swagger and marketing) of Diddy, the reach of MySpace and the influence of Hov. But beyond all that, what do YOU really know about Obama? Have you researched his policies of the history of his running mate? Probably not. But you rock the buttons, the t-shirts and nod to all the tribute mixtapes.
Fortunately, Obama is the right candidate (or at least I think so). But imagine if we all got swept up in the mania of supporting a candidate that was NOT the right candidate simply because he had celeb support, cool marketing tricks and swagger. Luckily, that didn’t happen this time, but I’m just saying….