Why Isn’t Dr. Cornel West Talking About The Presidential Election?
I have a question: Where the Funk Master Flex is Dr. Cornel West during this election cycle?
No seriously, where the hell is he at?
I mean, the man is never short of prophetic words. But as the country continues to socially and politically implode on itself, he’s been quieter than a Baptist church mouse who made a wrong turn into a Jewish synagogue.
To put it another way, Dr. West is the same man who spent the last eight years being an unapologetic thorn in President Obama’s presidency. In fact here is just a small sampling of things West said during in his “critiques” of the Obama Administration (as compiled in a previous article about the heavy-handedness of Dr. West’s critique of the president):
In June of 2015, Dr. West told CNN, “Too many black people are n*ggerized. I would say the first black president has become the first n*ggerized black president.”
In an exclusive interview with Salon from 2014, Dr West called President Obama a “neoliberal opportunist.”
He has also called President Obama a “Rockefeller Republican in Blackface.”
In a 2012 appearance on C-Span, Dr. West spoke out against the idea of President Obama using Martin Luther King Jr.’s bible to be sworn in to his second term in office.
Keeping with the theme of what President Obama doesn’t deserve, Dr. West told Democracy Now in 2014, “That is why I tell my young brothers and sisters when they walk around with their little sweater Martin, Malcolm and Barack Obama, I say, ‘Please. That’s like Coltrane and Sarah Vaughan and Pat Boone. They are a very different tradition.’ We love brother Pat, but he doesn’t belong on that shirt and Barack Obama doesn’t belong on that shirt.”
In fact, the Race Matters author was going hard at the President even before he got elected. I think it was about some inauguration tickets or something…
Anyway, out of concern, I visited both his Facebook and Twitter pages (both places where he is known to leave his public critiques) to find out if he was okay. I am happy to report that the noted intellectual and activist is still touring the country and speaking out against injustices. His most recent and visible appearance was at the Afropunk Festival in Paris, where he participated in a discussion about Black Lives Matter.
But outside of announcements about future appearances, Dr. West has been relatively silent. Not a word about the Dakota pipeline protest. Not one critique, criticism or agitated cry about the continued bombing of Syria and the occupation in Palestine. Not one Huffington Post Op-Ed or FOX News interview about how presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are different sides to the same oligarch-backed coin.
Not a word.
Perhaps his silence has to do with the pushback he has been receiving lately for talking too much and about the wrong people? Most notably by fellow intellectual Michael Eric Dyson who in a piece for The Nation eviscerated the Princeton University professor for his arrogances and pettiness.
Or perhaps his silence is related to his recent appointment to the DNC’s Platform Drafting Committee? That appointment came courtesy of Vt. Senator Bernie Sanders surrogate who chose Dr. West after he acted as a surrogate for him during his bid for the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee.
It may be nothing. But silence might be the only adequate response to a double consciousness that preaches radical ideology while actively working with very system you have spent a lifetime fighting against.
Nevertheless, the noted intellectual and activist has been quick to pull the cards of many including Ta-Nehisi Coates, Melissa Harris Perry and Al Sharpton. He’s been a staunch critic of both two-party system and the Wall Street oligarchy. He has even taken a couple of shots at Hillary Clinton during the primaries.
And again, there is his ongoing airing out of President Obama…
But while there have been plenty of opportunities during this election cycle to say something – anything – about the state of affairs in this country, the great oracle has suddenly lost his voice.
Perhaps it’s nothing. But with President Obama no longer a factor, you have to admit, Dr. West’s silence is a loud testimony to what many have suspected of him:
Basically, his criticism weren’t really about justice. But rather, it was personal.
Charing Ball is a writer, cultural critic, free-thinker, slick-mouth feminist and the reigning queen of unpopular opinions. She is also from Philadelphia. To learn more, visit NineteenSeventy-Seven.com.