Tuesday, November 6, 2012

More Than 99 Problems

As the 2012 Presidential campaign comes to a screeching halt, politics has made strange bedfellows in the music community as well. It is difficult to imagine two musical styles in the popular vein is distant from one another as those of Bruce Springsteen and Jay-Z, but that didn't stop the two from performing on the same stage at an Obama campaign rally in Columbus, Ohio earlier today. Obama spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in an interview with Jim Kuhnhenn "Bruce Springsteen, and some other celebrities who have been helping us, reach a broad audience that sometimes tune out what’s being said by politicians."

Of course, as with any campaign strategy, two can play that game. In the Romney-Ryan corner, both Kid Rock and Meat Loaf have donned the musical gloves in the fight for undecided voters. History shows that music wields enormous power for affecting political change, but I believe that the divisive nature of politics in this country has gone too far. When Jay-Z gets on stage and raps "I got 99 problems but Mitt ain't one", he is not talking about the issues. He is not changing the way that people think. He is only inflating shallow prejudices about the President's opponent in the hopes of swaying low information voters to his side. Musicians can do better than to superficially consign their voice to the divisive political system that plagues our society.

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