Thursday, October 28, 2010

Wyclef Lets Good Message Get Lost in Partisan Drivel

Encouraging people to vote is a good thing. So is helping people in devastated third world nations like Haiti and Rwanda. Rapper as former Haitian presidential candidate Wyclef John wants to deliver this universal message to people and happily obliges by allowing him to write a featured column on their site.

The message begins innocently enough, with Wyclef touting his activist bonafides.

“I was born in Haiti, but I am a citizen of the world. When I was with the Fugees, we played a concert to benefit Tibet to help Tibetans fight, and we stepped up to give voice to those being slaughtered in Rwanda. When the Twin Towers went down on 9/11, I played in the benefit show. It feels natural to me to take a stand on issues that are important to all citizens of this great world.”

Wow! What a guy! A rags to riches story of a man who became successful and uses his popularity to give something back to the world. I dig that. Ok. You have my attention. Keep going.

“Americans have much to be thankful for, and yes, even at times of divisiveness between Democrat and Republican, liberal and conservative, us and them, it is worth remembering this country's many blessings. Especially at such a time when it can feel like evil and "actin' stupid" is politics as usual.”

I think that’s a message that people on both sides of the political spectrum can relate to. Yes, we all get a bit upset with our politicians sometimes, but in reality, we have it pretty darn good in this country. Especially compared to a place like Haiti. So far this message is really resonating with me!

“We may disagree in our interpretations of the Constitution and in our choice of political affiliation, but we must acknowledge the deep, solid bedrock upon which this nation is founded. It was that sense of togetherness in spite of our differences that I had in mind.”

"The unusually high number of close congressional races means that countless citizens across the country will have the chance to be heard”

Right on Wyclef! Right or Left. Republican or Democrat. What’s important is that we all participate in order to keep our vibrant democracy working the way our founders intended! So true!

Now wrap it up with an inspiring call for voters to put aside their partisan differences and help Haiti recover from the devastation and disease that the earthquake has wrought on your native land!

“In his two years in office, with people forgetting that he succeeded a failed administration, President Obama has overseen the start of a healing process that includes health care reform and the economic stimulus package. That package prevented the United States from sinking into a full-fledged depression.”

“I never believed Obama could make a change in two years or four years; I've always thought he needed eight years to even make a dent in fixing this nation's problems.”


You had to go and get partisan didn’t you Wyclef? You’re call to unity was going so well. Then you had to ruin it by putting down George W. Bush, showing your support for a deeply unpopular health care plan and calling for the re-election of an incredibly divisive president!


Wyclef clearly needs to learn a thing or two about messaging. When you’re trying to spread a unifying message and encouraging everyone to get behind it, you don’t interject partisan politics into that message. All that does is alienate people who would otherwise support your cause.

But perhaps he learned from the master himself.

Barack Obama also campaigned on a message that had widespread appeal. His message of an end to the politics of Red vs. Blue and his calls for national unity during difficult times really resonated with the American public. He could have done great things for the nation that would have had widespread support across party lines. Through his rhetoric he actually convinced thousands of Americans that he was a moderate.

Of course, once he got into office he started forcing a leftist agenda down the throats of the American people and quickly squandered any bi-partisan goodwill he may have accumulated during the campaign.

But partisanship is an unavoidable part of presidential politics.

Wyclef had an opportunity to promote a good cause that all Americans, regardless of party affiliation could support. Instead, he unnecessarily made his partisan leanings known and assuredly alienated a lot of folks who were reading his article--including this one.

But some people just can’t help it.

It kind of makes me wish that Wyclef’s campaign for the presidency of Haiti had been more successful. Even if he hadn’t won, at least his campaign would have assured that he would be Gone‘Till November and we wouldn’t have had to listen to his shallow electoral commentary.

Sorry about that last joke. I had to do it. I'm sure you understand.

-Dan Joseph

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