For some reason hip-hop has fallen in love with Bernie Sanders. Well, it is not for any arbitrary reason. It’s pretty much because of Killer Mike. The bombastic Atlanta MC, one time protégé of OutKast and now one half of media darling, Run The Jewels, has become the de facto political voice of hip-hop this electoral season. Devoid of the flash of Puffy’s long gone “Vote Or Die” campaign, Mike’s platform has adapted an activist tone more reminiscent of Miss Nina Simone.
Personally, I think this is all great for hip-hop and its culture. Inundated by a seemingly endless array of apolitical rappers over the years, Killer Mike’s unapologetic advocacy for the bespectacled senator from Vermont is refreshing. And as for Bernie, he has rung the alarm and averted another potential “Centrist Clinton” presidency from potentially happening. If given the opportunity, a Hillary-as-President term or two in the White House could give Americans another crime bill. Now, Hillary Clinton has been talking to whoever will listen about #BlackLivesMatters and even her husband, Bill Clinton, has apologized for approving legislation during his administration the reformed the prison complex and furthered criminalized black behavior.
With that being said, this piece is not to dig at Bernie Sanders nor be a pro-Hillary piece. On some levels I believe that this is truly an anti-Trump op-ed because we as voting Americans in a democratic society need to focus more on the burgeoning National Fascist Party that the faux-coiffured billionaire is attempting to build. But that’s another issue for another day. We, the hip-hop and black community, are questioning whether Bernie Sanders has been properly vetted. Is it time to stop giving the former Vermont senator a pass?
In full disclosure, I have to let you know that I will be voting for Hillary Clinton. While she’s not perfect, she is the most qualified candidate for the job and the most gangsta thing we can do to shake up this country is to go from a black man to a woman. Those are the only two groups that have been willfully and legally barred from evolving the American political process. Donald J. Trump’s rise to pop culture prominence has the air of the White Power Movement and to have him as leader-in-chief legitimately scares people of all backgrounds and genders. So, as I see America freaking out as 2050 approaches and the white, Anglo-Saxon, land-owning, heterosexual, Protestant male comes to an end — I want to put a finger in its eye and place Hillary in the Oval Office.
I know that our political “savior” won’t be in the form of a land-owning, heterosexual white male from Vermont.
To be honest, I am scared of Bernie Sanders. His talks about revolution will somehow leave us black people behind when the waters begin to rise. I fear that his plans for economic recovery will somehow skip over black, brown, queer and transgendered people, as well as women who often get hit with the double whammy of racism and sexism. My fear is that this career politician is attempting to pass himself off as an outsider despite the fact that he has been deeply involved with the political system for most of my natural born life. I am concerned that black and brown people in Vermont do not sing the hymns of Bernie Sanders — soldier for racial equality. Bernie has too much in common with the toupeed Mussolini on the right, as he too offers big ideas with no feasible plan of action.
As Bernie tries to beat Hillary with claims that she’s a duplicitous copy cat, Bernie has some explaining to do also. He voted for the bill himself and even predicted that it would harm the black community. Despite learning those factors, Bernie Sanders buckled under pressure to protect the women of Vermont who were victims of domestic abuse. A noble cause indeed, but does this tell me (or others) that Bernie Sanders is down for black-and-brown people? The answer would be a strong and resolute, “No,” as he seems more committed to protecting white women from harm over people of color.
Another concern I have about Bernie Sanders is pegged to his talk of revolution. For all the big stick swinging he does at rallies and town halls, Sanders becomes uncharacteristically pragmatic when the subject turns to reparations for slavery. Initiatives such as free college tuition, single-payer healthcare and a billionaire’s tax have absolutely no chance of passing in Congress with Republicans as the majority. Yet, Bernie still pushes the campaign forward. Why, when he was asked about reparations not being on his platform, Bernie answered “because they have no chance of passing.” Does this sound like a person who is concerned with the health and benefits of all Americans?
I am sincerely happy that Bernie moved the conversation involving police brutality forward and made Hillary say #BlackLivesMatter. Now, she is driving throughout South Carolina, talking like she’s Shirley Chisholm, but pulling her to the left does not make you John Lewis or even Barack Obama 2.0, Mr. Sanders. At the end of the day, your campaign was built as a protest operation. It was a move by the progressive wing of the Democratic Party to ensure that Hillary Clinton was not a GOP-in-Blue-Clothing—a well-deserved criticism of her husband’s administration and the Democratic Leadership Council. With that goal accomplished, I now fear that Bernie Sanders is drinking his own Kool-Aid much like Donald Trump.
Maybe the powers-that-be are right and our next president will be a thrice married, xenophobic, lying billionaire who is a born-again Christian that may have never read the Bible. Or, maybe Americans will be calling a Democratic Socialist from New England with a questionable economic plan and economists—Commander-in-Chief and President of the United States. If a former senator and Secretary of State who has been planning for this day for forty years can truly become the first female POTUS — then it will be a moment for the history books. My only point is that we need to question them all thoroughly and not let the ringing endorsements of others obscure the facts.