WTVM Editorial 10/16/18: When Kanye met Trump

WTVM Editorial 10/16/18: When Kanye met Trump

(WTVM) - Maybe you saw the epic Oval Office meeting between rapper/designer and self-proclaimed genius Kanye West and President Trump.

If not, click here or search for it on or on You Tube. Watch it. See what you think of it. This is just one opinion.

Most politicians would be afraid to let an unscripted meeting with such an outspoken and opinionated artist as Kanye be shared on camera, in real-time with no filters.

Kanye talked about not being trapped by racism, and about needing to bring more manufacturing jobs to inner cities and ways to address Chicago’s murder epidemic, all worthy topics.

Kanye also talked about other, more esoteric ideas, like a prototype plane and building what he called the “flyest” cars.

Trump listened to the whole thing. If citizens want transparency, well, the cameras were invited in to the Oval Office for all of it, so there it was.

CNN called the meeting “a disaster, sad, odd, and attention-seeking”.

CNN analyst Nia-Malika Henderson called it “Trump’s black people meeting” and was dismissive of the moment.

The White House had billed it as a meeting to discuss (among other things) “urban revitalization, new workforce training programs, the record highs in African American employment, the creation of manufacturing jobs, ideas from Trump’s meeting with African American pastors, as well as potential future inmate clemencies, and addressing the massive violent crime surge in Chicago."

Those are all very important issues and it was an ambitious agenda.

Critics of Kanye’s freestyle opinions can rightly argue that the rapper ping-ponged from topic to topic, without clearly expressing - or even finishing - every idea.

But it’s also fair to point out that Kanye is a one-of-a-kind artist whose methods of expression are as unique as he is.

There’s also something news reports didn’t mention.

Besides the mesmerizing monologue from Kanye, the men, along with football legend and activist Jim Brown, had a private lunch.

We don’t know what was said during that part of the event.

It might have been more of the same, but at least it was another opportunity to engage the president on important topics.

Maybe the symbolism of the meeting is being given too much weight in these polarizing times, when “groups” and “tribes” are expected to stay between the lines of identity politics.

Kanye West doesn’t do that. He wears a “Make America Great Again” hat. He’s clearly exercising free speech, and of course, criticizing Kanye is also free speech.

The White House meeting has certainly caused a conversation worth having about race, identity politics, gun violence and even mental health.

Let us know what you think…I’ll share some of your comments in a future editorial.

Listening to each other is always worthwhile, even if nothing changes because of it.

General Manager Holly Steuart brings two editorials a week to WTVM. If you would like to respond to an editorial, e-mail your response to hsteuart@wtvm.com or write to:

WTVM Editorial Committee

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Columbus, GA 31906

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