President Kanye West?
This July 4, Kanye West announced a presidential run. Some news outlets attempted to spin this as a betrayal of his support for Trump. Others mocked the campaign as a joke, since West has missed filing deadlines to be on the ballot in several states. I don’t believe he is a viable candidate for the presidency. However, one would be foolish to ignore the broader cultural implications Kanye’s statements have. Kanye boldly illuminates unpopular truths.
Rejecting Identity Politics
Throughout interviews, Kanye has come out swinging against tribalism and identity politics. This is in sharp contrast to today’s left. Kanye’s father was a Black Panther. That organization, while formed in response to genuine and heinous injustices, was very tribal. So, Kanye is not unfamiliar with identity politics. He prudently rejects the notion that his blackness requires him to vote for Democrats. In fact, he even condemned as a form of white supremacy Joe Biden’s claim that non-Biden voters would somehow lose their “blackness.”
Kanye is right. From Biden’s statement, to Jordan Peele and Don Lemon’s mockery of his politics, accusations like “race-traitor” abound. Kanye spots this as the logic used by white supremacists. Tribalists like Richard Spencer rightly get condemned for building their worldview around race. Biden, Lemon and Peele get away with it.
Making Lives Really Matter
Kanye has boldly asserted that a black genocide is taking place through widespread abortion. Meanwhile, Black Lives Matter aligns itself with Planned Parenthood and calls for dismantling the nuclear family. Kanye instead criticizes widespread fatherlessness (funded by programs of the Great Society). He extols the virtue of family. Further, Kanye condemns abortion as an instrument of white supremacy. He calls out acts of racial violence by police. He rightly points out Planned Parenthood’s overtly racist origins. Through this, Kanye champions the dignity of black lives in a way that mainstream media refuse to.
Come to Jesus
Kanye recognizes that the problems that plague our nation are not merely social or political, but spiritual. He understands that our nation must turn to God. He calls for prayer in schools. He has mentioned how his musical achievements pale in comparison to being in service to God. In his latest song, he points out the total depravity of man and our need for grace. He calls for the Holy Spirit to guide him.
As the Daily Wire’s Michael Knowles observes, Kanye articulates a brilliant understanding of true freedom. It entails liberation from the urges of our sinful nature. Real liberty is found in Christ. (Galatians 5:1)
An Icon of Unity
Could Kanye be the agent of change our nation needs in such divided times? The more I listen to him, he sounds less and less like a typical rapper. Instead he recalls my Pastor Dr. Jack Graham, or Tony Evans. Like them, he calls for unity through turning to God as called for in 2 Chronicles 7:14 (ESV):
If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
Kanye’s bold statements remind me of American Christian history. God brought spiritual awakening and unity across racial lines during the Azusa Street Revival in the 1920s. Through a man named William J. Seymour, worshipers came together across racial lines. That shocked people at the time. As God brought revival and reconciliation at Azusa, may he also move in Calabasas. May He empower Kanye to speak powerfully and prophetically. And may He heal our land.