Talib Kweli – "Know your enemy, know yourself, that's the politic." (Dead Prez)Follow
Ten years ago I wrote a lyric that went “I don’t fuck with politics, I don’t even follow it.” That same year Dead Prez was reminding us that everything is political. Were we two sides of the same coin? When I examine my past, the truth is I fucked with politics enough to know that I didn’t fuck with it.
That was ten years ago. Today I have many different types of fans, and they all claim me as their own. Some are progressively working toward revolution and actual change of the current system. some participate in politics and try to change the system for the better from the inside. And some don’t care about the state of the world at all, they just like the way I rap. I belong to all of these people and none of them at the same time. What many of these fans do not realize is that we all need each other. I need all of them to inspire me, and they need be to be a voice for the voiceless. So even when I would prefer not to align myself with politics, I must discuss it at crucial times like these. After many conversations with fans and messages from people like Russell Simmons and Michelle Obama, I feel like I should speak on how I feel about this election.
There are those that say the Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are two sides of the same coin. They say that politics on the presidential level are so corrupt that it makes no sense to participate in the process at all. They say these candidates collect money from the rich and votes from the poor while all the time playing those two groups against each other. They say that the democrats and the republicans are all in the pocket of international bankers and corporate lobbyists. These are valid arguments that cannot be ignored.
Barack Obama promised us a change we can believe in. But then he extended the Bush tax cuts and bailed out Wall Street. He signed the NDAA bill which gives the U.S. the right to illegally detain people. He has a kill list and orders drone attacks that wreak havoc on communities and kill innocent people. His record on immigration is suspect and he does not vocally address the needs of the African-American community, a community that truly supports him. When you look at these facts it is easy to come to the conclusion that he is no different from any political puppet.
But these are not the only facts to consider. Fact is, if you believed Barack Obama was going to be anything more than a politician, that’s on you. Obama never promised a revolution. He promised to try and work with his opposition and do what he could within the system, and to that extent, he has done a wonderful job. Consider the United States place in the world from 2008 until now. Politically, Obama has been the most progressive president almost ever. Imagine if he didn’t meet with the resistance from the party of no, a lot of it raced based. Imagine if the G.O.P was focused more on making the country better than winning elections they’ve already lost. They are focused on demonizing Obama. He is not a socialist, actual socialists would be quick to tell you that. You can tell by his foreign policy alone that he is not a Muslim. Based on his actual record, Barack Obama is a right of center democrat, a guy who believes in the core principles of the democratic party and who honestly believes, or believed that he could work with the other side and achieve progress.
I have no reason to make excuses for our president or to prop him up. I do not agree with many of his decisions, because they are based on politics. But when I supported Obama in 2008 I didn’t go into it thinking he would change the world and I definitely didn’t expect to agree with him on everything. That would’ve been foolish of me. Anyone who expected Obama to be their saviour in 2008 deluded themselves. I respected what he symbolized for my children, and it was the first time I saw a politician with a background that was so relatable to my experience. I expected him to be a good politician. He turned out to be a great one. While that is not necessarily a compliment, it is the truth.
If you refuse to vote because you are mad that Obama had lunch with the Bilderbergs or you realize that the electoral college is a flawed system, I can’t even be mad at you. I completely understand that sentiment, and I have voiced my disdain with our current system on many occasions. If this is you, you can stop reading right now.
If you are the type that follows politics and thinks that a change can happen from within, Barack Obama is your clear choice. As a person who tries to focus on compassion I cannot honestly say that today’s democrats and republicans are two sides of the same coin. It is true they often are, especially when it comes to war and destructive financial policies. The amount of money that both parties raise for campaigns should actually be raised to help the country. But today’s G.O.P has fully realized the batshit dream of Kevin Phillip’s emerging Republican Minority. They are so far off the deep end they make the conservatives I grew up hearing sound like left wing liberals. Ron Paul is the only candidate who ran on the republican side that represented what conservatives and tea partiers say they are really about. Ron Paul is the essence of what they say they believe. but they are so dismissive of him it’s disrespectful. The G.O.P hates Ron Paul because they are not interested in actual substance, they are interested in winning. So they picked someone who they felt was stronger politically, Mitt Romney. That was foolish. If they let Ron Paul go at Obama, maybe even Huntsman, that may have been interesting. But a robot like Romney is no competition for the beast of a politician that Obama is.
Life is complicated. If it was simple it would be boring. My view on voting and on Obama is also complicated, but I support what he is trying to do. I don’t think he is my personal saviour who is going to change the world to my liking, the limitations of political office be damned. But I also do not think he is a fraud who sold me some magic beans. I think his challenges are real, and as a black man he had to work harder than anyone who has ever been president. As evidenced by the ugly racism that reared it’s head all over America once Obama was elected, we live in the most racial society, not the post racial society.
Revolutionaries, politicians, working class, rich, poor, black, white, latino, asian, we all need each other. Instead of tearing each other down we must find common ground. That is my purpose for writing this, to stoke the fire of discussion and compassion. I am not asking you to vote. Voting without knowing the issues is just as bad as not voting. I am asking that you educate yourself and pay attention to the things in the world that affect you. And if you are going to vote, Barack Obama is who you should vote for, not Mitt Romney. In my humble opinion. I’d love to hear yours. Cheers.
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