Bless me Reverend Run for I have sinned.
It's been 7 days since my last confession.
With only a few days until the inauguration of President Elect Barack Obama, I thought it would be appropriate to raise a subject that I never talk about in this space and likely never will again: I am a hip-hop Republican.
Now, not being from the U.S., its more accurate to say that I'm a hip-hop conservative (specifically, more of a fiscal conservative than a social conservative). Of course, we all know when the media says "hip-hop Republican" they mean "Black Republican". A quick look at the URL up in your browser will tell you that's not what I mean. What I mean is that my politics are conservative.
I've been a hip-hop head longer than I've been a declared conservative, so I can same with some authority that the general politics of rap is somewhere on the Democratic side, firmly to the left. And frankly I understand why - the GOP has never been known for policies that address the issues hip-hop does: poverty, social justice, environmental degradation, racism, equality. Instead, the GOP has been more known to defend corporate interests, rather than community ones. With that in mind, some of you may be wonder how someone with my views could listen to and thoroughly enjoy music that would seem to often be at odds with my own political philosophies.
Sure, like most heads, there are some lines that I disagree with. But hip-hop and traditional conservative ideals (as opposed to the current high-spending, rights-snatching, religious right George W. Bush GOP the U.S. currently enjoys) have more commonalities than you might think. In honor of the bipartisan spirit President-elect Obama is looking to create with his administration, here are some perspectives both hip-hop and conservatives share:
Distrust Of Government
You may not know it by looking at the last federal budget, but we conservatives generally like smaller government. I don't believe that government is the answer; in fact, it usually makes the problem worse. Like many other heads, I would prefer they just let me alone. With my rather large libertarian streak, I don't assume that government authority, whether that is the police or the President, is looking out for my interests.
Proponents of Free Speech
It may seem obvious that the party of old white guys would be the natural group to try and restrict artists from speaking their mind. Not so. For example, who is responsible for the "Parental Advisory" stickers on every album with explicit lyrics? Tipper Gore - the wife of the former Democratic Vice President. Now, I can only speak for myself, but I think freedom of speech is one of the most important fundamental rights we enjoy. Short of hate speech, I will always defend the right for artists, bloggers, journalists and citizens to say what they think, whether I agree with it or not. So do many conservatives.
We're About Getting Paid
One of the things I dig most about hip-hop is the entrepreneurial spirit of it all. I love meeting and working with folks who have the drive to get paid. In fact, many conservatives work to support people and organizations trying to get their own spot. I know that conservatives are generally seen as defenders of corporate interests (think Enron, Wall Street, etc) but there was a time when folks like me were the defenders of the little guy trying to make it. In fact, that's where I generally cast my lot now.
I feel no shame in saying that I'm ALL about getting paid and improving my situation. And I respect and support any and all who are trying to do the same. And, of course, we all want to pay less taxes.
So, there you have it: the first and last time I will be talking politics on YFWB. In many ways, I feel very much at home with the philosophies and points of view of rappers and hip-hop fans, which is why I am proudly a conservative and a fan of rap music.
On the personal tip, I wish President Obama and his supporters luck. Enjoy the inauguration.