In case you’ve been under a rock the past few days, Kanye West loves Donald Trump. In case you’ve been under a rock for the past couple of decades, Kanye West is one the biggest, if not the biggest name in the hip hop/rap music industry, and is married to media magnet Kim Kardashian. This week, Kanye, who has hinted at being a fan of the President’s in the past, has been tweeting again about how much he likes Trump.
Predictably, a political firestorm of apocalyptic proportions has ensued. The Left is melting down and simultaneously trying to shame Kanye into silence while explaining to itself how on earth he could fall into the “trap” of liking Donald Trump. The Right, on the other hand, has been furiously patting itself on the back because a black celebrity actually likes a Republican, and jeering at liberals like its November 2016 all over again.
So why does any of this matter?
One could argue that it matters because it could be a sign that prominent African-Americans are starting to see through the Democrats’ decades-old tactic of paying lip-service to the black community while in actuality, destroying opportunities for economic success in black neighborhoods, preventing black parents from sending their children to better schools of their own choosing, promoting a radical social agenda that opposes their values, and greedily aborting, dismembering, and selling black children.
But I don’t think that’s actually the issue here.
Instead, I think the Kanye-Trump twitter lovefest matters because it highlights the sad situation that American politics is now in. You see, we are living in an age where right and wrong matter very little, and instead, winning and losing are everything. We have picked our “teams,” so to speak, and the political arena has become one big chicken fight to see how many points we can score against our opponents.
The comedic meltdown over “who Kanye likes” reminds me of the character in Mark Twain’s short story, The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, who was such an addictive gambler, he was “always ready and laying for a chance” to bet on everything from a horse race, to a cat fight, to the sermon at church, to how long it would take a beetle to crawl from one point to another, to whether a sick person would recover. We have become a nation of junkies “ready and laying for a chance” to “win” over the other side, no matter how irrelevant (or insane) the theater may be.
Another recent, more somber example of our addiction is the national obsession over the gun-control feud between the Parkland school shooting survivors. On the left, we have David Hogg and others who have been on a 24-7, well-funded publicity tour of the country demanding gun-control in memory of their murdered class-mates. On the other side, the Right has propped up Kyle Kashuv, another student from Stoneman Douglas high school who is pro-Second Amendment. All these kids, Left and Right, are being escorted around from interview to speech to interview, saying exactly whatever their respective “side” wants them to say. Everything they say is canned. Nothing is new or original, and I honestly don’t think anyone’s mind has been changed by any of them, but we get hot and bothered and cheer our hero and boo our enemy anyway. We don’t take them seriously–this popularity battle between 17-year-olds is just another way for us to get our fix and tick off “the bad guys.”
It could be said that this same blind tribalism helped give us Donald Trump in the first place. The man’s personal indiscretions have always been widely known, (and often bragged about). He never even tried to pretend he was a true conservative. And yet, he sailed through the Republican primary, winning “bigly” in our most conservative states, for the simple reason that we were angry, and he was the most angry candidate. We wanted someone who would punish the Left the same way we felt that Obama punished us. And he is doing it. For better or worse, he is doing almost everything we elected him to do.
The scary thing about this mentality though is to consider the question of where all of this will end? Donald Trump, to any rational observer, is not even close to being the next Hitler. But somewhere out there, there is another Hitler. We don’t know who he or she is, but if we as a nation continue to throw logic and values to the wind and feverishly support politicians, celebrities, and high-school kids just because they punish or insult our “enemies,” we will find him or her soon enough.
All this to say, I don’t know why Kanye likes Donald Trump, and I don’t care. Ultimately he is a self-promoting, attention-hungry entertainer who has zero influence on me or my family. For years he has sung about selling drugs, engaging in promiscuous sex, disrespecting women, and committing acts of violence. His entire career has been diametrically opposed to what Christian conservatives at least profess to stand for. I’m happy that Kanye has his own opinion, but like the Trump-Train, when it comes down to punching my ticket for Yeezy, I’m a hard pass.