As a kid, I tried to imagine how Rip Van Winkle felt when he awoke after 20 years of sleep to find a world that had so completely changed. How disturbing and disorienting it must have been. Recent developments surrounding Obamacare created a Rip Van Winkle awakening for me.
First was the assertion by MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry that the O-word (Obamacare) was “A word that was originally intended as a derogatory term, meant to shame and divide and demean. The word was conceived by a group of wealthy white men who needed a way to put themselves above and apart from a black man — to render him inferior and unequal and diminish his accomplishments.”
I seem to remember a time in the recent past when our president wore that word as a badge of accomplishment and honor. And now, it has become mean and racially charged. I don’t seem to remember people hollering “sexism” about Hillarycare, or “Mormon-bashing” with regard to Romneycare (although I doubt anyone would stand up for the Mormons in any situation).
And, just when I thought things couldn’t get any crazier, I saw the new B-Rock O’Beezy video, a promotion for Obamacare by Covered California. It was disturbing on so many levels, it’s hard to know where to start. Well, let’s start with the opening of the video where “the president” is tagging with a stencil and spray can some bastardization of the American flag. Although I really don’t consider myself a patriot (more of just a humanist), this type of treatment of a symbol that many, thousands of whom died defending our way of life, consider very sacred, is beyond tasteless. The rap itself is cheesy and demeaning to the office of the president.
Without knowing the source, one might think this was a “Saturday Night Live” video. Do people who support the president really want him shown in that light? Obama has done enough himself to blur the lines between campaigning and entertaining, between celebrity and public service. And finally, the scariest part is that people with enough money and influence to get this video out there believe it could be effective. Have we really fallen that far?