By LaKeshia N. Myers
“Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds” (Church, 1897). Never in one million years would I ever fathom the ability to associate the words of Francs Pharcellus Church to the ill-timed, minstrel-like, on again, off again, presidential campaign of Kanye Omari West. But, alas, it had to be done.
Like many millennials, I remember and miss “the old Kanye.” “The College Dropout” album Kanye; the ‘woke’, community oriented, post-hurricane Katrina, “George Bush doesn’t care about black people,” Kanye. But I think it is safe to say, that Kanye, has indeed “left the building.” Today’s Kanye is vehemently erratic, volatile, and is allegedly suffering from uncontrolled mental health challenges. He is also actively running to become President of the United States.
West’s candidacy, viewed as a joke by many, has quickly shaped up to be a problem for the Wisconsin Election Commission and the Democratic Party. It is also a cause of celebration for the Republican Party. The Election Commission must determine if West submitted his nomination papers in a timely fashion, as reporters believed his team arrives after the 5 p.m. deadline on Tuesday, Aug. 4. The Republican Party has expended resources aimed at helping West get on the ballot in swing states like Wisconsin. They believe they have the opportunity to siphon votes away from Vice-President Joe Biden, especially the votes of young people and African Americans, both of whom are key constituencies within the Democratic Party.
West himself even admitted to reporters that he was running a spoiler campaign in order to hurt Democratic nominee Joe Biden. When a reporter explained to West that there was no mathematical possibility, he could win the presidency, Kanye said he was, “Walking . . . to win” (West, 2020). I say, he is more of a walking, talking, distraction. He is willingly being used by the GOP to bamboozle younger, inexperienced and low informed voters into casting their ballots for an unserious candidate (one who has no history of voting in his adult life).
Just as Francis Church cautioned little Virginia in 1897, we are beyond the lens of skepticism. What was once considered unfathomable and far-fetched, is now very possible.
While I am disappointed, I am not surprised. This is just another in a laundry list of questionable Kanye decisions/endeavors. But it is also insight into the GOP playbook for November; if President Trump was confident in his own ability to win reelection, he would have no use for Kanye West’s candidacy. This sordid attempt to back West is also an act of desperation to undermine the youth vote and to manipulate the African American vote.
I am reminded of the warning on the side view mirrors in my car that read “objects in the mirror are closer than they appear.” This is an appropriate warning for this election season as well. Our votes are more important that they may appear. I implore everyone to research candidates and exercise discernment in voting. Our lives do depend on it.