Kanye West is a maverick in an otherwise monolithic world of pop stars. He has courted controversy his entire life within the public sphere, and where others have an entire staff just to manage their social media and public profile, he has no manager because he ‘can’t be managed.’ Such eccentricities, alongside his Renaissance-man smorgasbord of talents, from designing sneakers to having been the brightest star in pop music for a decade, makes him a refreshing addition to the contemporary cultural canon.
Over the course of his career, he’s got away with a lot. But recently he’s committed a cardinal sin. He expressed support for the President of the United States.
The backlash was of seismic proportions. Whilst a host of fellow musicians unfollowed West on Twitter, the internet at large erupted into a fit of seething rage against him. This is not the first time someone got in trouble for expressing support for Donald Trump. When a New Balance exec said he ‘felt good about’ the President, social media wreaked havoc. Not unlike Iranians burning American flags in public squares, videos of people burning New Balance sneakers started trending. The movement #GrabYourWallet was born, dedicated to eradicating brands that affiliated with the Trump White House. And this is just a fragment of the vindictive and vengeful campaign liberals have waged on the rest of the country.
The petty sentiments of ‘flyover country’ Americans are beneath the liberal elite, and they have neither the capacity nor inclination to understand their fellow countrymen.
West, of course, stood his ground, tweeting he was merely exercising his right to ‘free thinking’. When interviewed about West’s tweets, Janelle Monae perfectly expressed the underlying delusions of the anti-Trump movement: ‘I believe in free thinking but I don’t believe in free thinking at the expense of the oppressed’. Who is Trump oppressing, who weren’t oppressed before? If you know, please share.
Whatever else Donald Trump is, he is also a democratically elected President, who enjoys the support of a vast swathe of the population. It speaks to the level of ideological insulation that liberal, prosperous bicoastal America experiences. Their violent reaction to West, one of their own, liaising with ‘them’ is rooted in the fact that they cannot imagine how it is humanly possible to endorse a character like Trump. The petty sentiments of ‘flyover country’ Americans are beneath the liberal elite, and they have neither the capacity nor inclination to understand their fellow countrymen. True, Kanye’s motives for supporting a man who built his campaign on the scorched earth of the Rust Belt are puzzling. There is probably a common denominator in their shared appetite for outrage, and their shared sense of personal agency, whatever anyone says.
Yet the fact that the liberal elite are so convinced of their own virtue that they feel they have the right to unleash the kind of fire and brimstone that should be reserved for neo-Nazis and Holocaust-deniers is disturbing. They have no inhibitions about reducing the other half of the country to a bunch of misogynistic, racist rednecks – ‘a basket of deplorables’, as Hillary Clinton so succinctly put it. The underpinning principle of any democracy is that all people are created equal. It is amusing that it fell on the liberals to declare that principle redundant. The millennial left, ever so self-righteous, started a movement proclaiming that ‘he (Trump) will not divide us’. He didn’t have to – they’ve managed that perfectly well themselves. If they are not willing to bridge the gulf between the two Americas – the one pulling ahead, and the one left behind, then Trump is just the beginning. As Kanye West put it: ‘we’re in this so-called information age, but we’re starving for wisdom.’