Arts & Life
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All the world slows down to watch a car wreck, and so the world’s attention (as measured by the media) has turned to the slow-moving car wreck that is Kanye West’s presidential run. This morning, on my drive to work, I suffered through an analysis of West’s chances on the November presidential ballot. Ugh.
Just to be clear, I think West will win about the same number of states as I will this November.
There are several different ways to view this episode – seriously from an electoral approach; humorously; or with a genuine concern for West’s mental health. I don’t think one approach automatically excludes the others.
In the United States, individual states set many of their own electoral conditions while operating under the federal government’s construct. So, while the actual date is set by the feds, determining who is eligible to run is a state matter.
For example, any candidate would have to submit signed petitions in order to appear on the ballot in a given state, but the number of signatures, the date of submission and other aspects differ depending upon the state itself.
Did you know that more than 1,700 people ran for president in 2016?
You are familiar with the two main candidates, plus the occasional Ross Perot or Gary Johnson types, but how about the Reform Party’s Rocky De La Fuente? (Hang on tight, De La Fuente fans, as he and running mate Darcy Richardson are running again in 2020!)
One candidate who ran in 2016 sported the colourful moniker Coffee and Donuts. Other equally intriguing candidates were Vlad Beserius Draculea, Some Lice and even Harley Spiderman Simmons.
(I’m not making these names up. These are actual candidates from the 2016 presidential election.)
Kanye may be among the best-known "candidates" that we’ve seen in some time, but it’s hard to imagine him beating even fringe "serious" candidates such as Gary Johnson. It’s fun to talk about, but his candidacy is also a tad disconcerting for different reasons.
West, who is married to Kim Kardashian, has had mental-health issues in the past. In fact, in 2019 Kardashian spoke quite candidly with Vogue magazine about her husband’s mental health.
The sad reality is that, for someone with the celebrity of Kanye, the stage can be a dangerous place. The same is true of his writings on Twitter and other social media platforms.
When questioned about his own mental-health treatment options, West once said "I use the world as my therapy." He also believes that he and U.S. President Donald Trump are "both dragon energy," whatever that means.
In a rally this week, Kanye stated "Harriet Tubman actually never freed the slaves, she just had the slaves go work for other white people." I’m not confident this position will endear him with black voters.
Mental health is not a laughing matter. Fans, and foes alike should be concerned about West’s increasingly bizarre behaviour, including his public utterances. He should not be used as some type of political battering ram or laughingstock, but he will be.
West is already the fodder for late-night TV hosts. It won’t get better.
Celebrity and social media culture are massive platforms, but if misused, can destroy someone.
We all retain the right to self-destruction. When people thrust themselves into the limelight, particularly in such a politically charged manner, there will be casualties.
In the case of Kanye, he clearly wishes to be taken seriously but will end up as a casualty.
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