Kanye 2020 and the end of the American democracy?

No, Kanye, you can't be president, bruh! (Photo credit: Getty Images)

No, Kanye, you can’t be president, bruh! (Photo credit: Getty Images)

Alright, so the headline is a bit hyperbolic, but Kanye West’s rambling, 12-minute diatribe at the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday left me grumpy about the future of our grand experiment in democracy. A few bad apples aside, Americans typically come together every four years to hire someone to run the country. It’s quite possibly the most challenging job in the country, even if it doesn’t require the skills as a brain surgeon–although Dr. Ben Carson would probably tell you otherwise.

Kanye’s bizarre remarks made a mockery of our presidential system, even if Kanye’s goal was to address the candidacy of jokers like Donald Trump. However, young people who hopped on the #Kanye2020 train immediately following his remarks are sadly growing up in a country where we belittle the concept of public service, believe all politicians are self-serving and that any person has the capacity to run the country.

A few things:

  1. Public service should absolutely be taken seriously
  2. A few bad politicians should not spoil those truly looking to make their community, state, country, or world a better place
  3. It requires incredible intelligence, patience, and tenor to be president.

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Ok, So the President Did Talk About Poverty. Kinda.

A few days ago I wrote that the President would not talk about poverty in the State of the Union address.  Perhaps I pre-judged a bit harshly.  He did, in fact, use the word “poverty.”  Exactly four times in a 6,419 word speech.

I do think some of the ideas he talked about might help raise people from poverty – just not the ones you might think.  Yes, raising the minimum wage is a nice start, but if we can make real college educations (not for-profit McUniversities) more available (without tying them to massive debt), if we can put large numbers of people to work fixing our infrastructure and if we can put quality pre-school education within reach of all Americans … we might be able to make a dent in this national scourge.  Reforming immigration might be a nice help in that regard as well.

But as long as our leaders refuse to use the bully pulpit to make us stand up and take notice of the truth about poverty in America, a dent is all we’ll make.

Look for more from me on this in my Sunday post.