Politics Mondays: They Chose, We lost.
Check it: Over 21 million 18-29 year olds came out to vote this time—that’s
up over 9% from 1992, the previous pinnacle of youth voter turnout. However,
according to national exit polls they chose Kerry by only a 54-44 margin.
That means 44% or over 9.2 million our so-called of the so-called youth
rolled with Bush. All things being equal, given that Bush won by about 3.5
million votes, there’s your margin a victory and then some. Forty-four
percent rolled with the incumbent. I guess Saul Williams was right when he
said, “Rap has gone Republican.”
Did it ever cross anyone’s mind that young people, specifically young Whites
are a lot more conservative than they pretend to be? Did it ever cross the
HSAN or Citizen Change’s minds that they were registering almost as many
Republicans as Democrats? Has it ever crossed anyone’s mind that Hollywood
(or would they not) is only liberal in public when they have something to
sell or when it’s safe to be so and quite the opposite behind closed-doors?
Did it ever cross anyone’s mind that almost half the kids who claim to be
down for hip-hop, down for inner city youth, down for Blacks and Latinos,
etc. would actually go into the booth on Nov. 2nd and pull the switch for
the GOP like they did? Well it crossed my mind. So much so that I warned
folks weeks ago in my “Hip-hop is not a Voting Block” piece.
Once again, the assumption that 18-29 year old mainstreamers would support
causes and candidates relevant to the Black and Latino community just
because some of them listen to Black music, have Black friends and
occasionally have sex with Black folks, etc. has backfired like Jay-Z’s
second tour with R.Kelly. As I’ve said before and as has been proven time
and time again, just because someone likes “urban” music, buys “urban”
clothes, etc. does not mean they give a lick about urban causes or urban
Just like the Democrats pimp older Black folks by marching out Jesse
Jackson, Al Sharpton, doing NCAAP photo-ops and drive-by glad-handing in
Black churches every four years, Hollywood, MTV and the Democratic party
pimped young Black folks and minorities with via Choose or Loose: They got
Drew Barrymore to cry and look all sympathetic while filming some Black
teens in the south… The got Christina Aguilera to do her “honorary sistah
girl” act... They got Ashton Kutcher, Ben Affleck and the rest to do their
“we’re down for the cause” thing. They got just about every White liberal
with a name to talk about how racist, homophobic, and corrupt “The Right”
is. (And of course they pimped Big Rush, Diddy, Dame, Missy and the rest for
photo ops, consumer research, White liberal sympathy and cool points.) And
you know what? It worked like Katherine Harris in Florida in 2000.
But when it came time to show and prove, most did one of two things: (A) A
lot of 18-29 years olds didn’t vote. There’s truth to that because of the
200 million-plus Americans over the age of 18 only 120 million or so voted.
And (B) many of those who did vote screamed revolution for a while but went
behind the curtain and changed clothes on us and rolled with the G-G-G-G…O-P
Unit! And as the exit polls showed there was a lot of that going on. (I
guess Diddy ran out of t-shirts.)
But this is nothing new.
Our parents and grandparents went thru this same crap back when Funk, Soul,
Blues, Jazz, etc. were in effect and dominating the pop cultural landscape.
At the same time young Whites were cheering for James Brown, Little Richard,
Sly Stone, B.B. King and John Lee Hooker and John Coltrane, etc. Blacks and
Latinos were still second-class citizens, facing lynching, Jim Crow racist
cops, failing schools, workplace discrimination, wars, etc. And you know
what? White liberals and mainstreamers were giving the same “we care about
you/we’re down for your causes/candidates” speeches.
When are we gonna recognize once and for all that you don’t form political
alliances based on fashion trends and tastes in music? When are gonna
recognize that just because someone says they’re down, doesn’t mean they’re
down? When are going to stop looking from support from the same group of
folks who continuously disappoint us year-end and year-out. Also, when are
we gonna realize that our best hope for change in communities has to come
from within our own communities? And most importantly, when are we gonna
realize that changing our communities isn't a "once-every-four-years" thing
or just an election thing, but a 24/7/365-at-every-level affair?
(By the way: I don’t care who anyone votes for; I truly don’t. All I ask is
that you get informed and vote your conscience. And that you be honest with
people about what you believe in. I already know what the Republicans are
about—they’re crazy and they’re proud of it. And more importantly, if you
ask them, they’ll tell you the same. The Democrats on the other hand? A
buncha two-faced, soft, triflin’ pseudo-hipsters, most of would be
Republicans if they weren’t so consumed with denial and White guilt. Black
folks, we gotta do something. And fast.)
Hadji Williams is author of KNOCK THE HUSTLE: How to save Your Job and Your
Life from Corporate America. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and
Monday, November 8, 2004