Two days ago, Kanye West met with President-elect Trump at Trump Towers in New York much to the dismay of many. With Kanye being hospitalised for temporary psychosis and with his behaviour in the last few years being nothing less than erratic many have brushed off this meeting as nothing more than another Kanye stunt, taking it as yet another example of his eccentricity.
IT has to be business as usual
In a tweet after the meeting Kanye stated that he met with Trump to discuss “bullying, supporting teachers, modernizing curriculums and violence in Chicago”. One cannot deny that these are issues of importance and that he is bringing these issues directly to a man who is soon to be one of the most powerful men in the world. He then went on to something particularly poignant “I feel it is important to have a direct line of communication with our future president if we truly want change”. He’s not wrong. In the wake of the election results we’ve heard pundits and satirists alike calling for the American people to ‘give him a chance’. Indeed in Clinton’s concession speech she said “Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and a chance to lead”. It’s a bitter truth for many that come January, if all goes to plan, Trump will be the President of the United States, regardless of whether he is in fact what people say he is: a bigot, unqualified, egomaniacal, he will be the President. So along with this is the truth of the situation, it has to be business as usual. The usual politicking, lobbying, dinners and meetings. There is a very real danger in ignoring Trump. If we can in any way talk to him, get him to consider a diverse range of opinions shouldn’t we? Like we would any other president. Now, this is in no way a call for full support of Trump it’s simply a call for pragmatism.
Pragmatism and opportunism are quite different, the latter being inexcusable
I am cautious, however, of this pragmatism going too far, slipping into the real of opportunism. Mitt Romney has met with Trump a few times since his elections, sparking rumors of his inclusion in the Trump administration. This has led to criticism heading his way, he was very much against the idea of Trump as a candidate in the months leading up to the election. A figurehead, along with John McCain, of the Republican establishment’s opposition. Romney has seemed to have abandoned his previous position where he had called Trump a ‘phony’ and appeared to be playing the game in a bid for Secretary of State. If you abhorred Trump before he came into power surely one should stick to their guns. It’s one thing to approach the Trump presidency with acquiescence but it’s a completely different issue to abandon beliefs and assertions when presented with a role in an administration you didn’t want to happen in the first place. Pragmatism and opportunism are quite different, the latter being inexcusable.
Was Kanye right to meet with Trump? I’d say that the Kanye situation highlights the need for pragmatism and the fact that we need not vilify everyone that displays this pragmatism, though I am doubtful that Kanye sees Trump presidency as a bad thing. But we need to distinguish between pragmatism and opportunism. Those who don’t support Trump need to protest but also approach the Trump with acquiescence and maturity. It should be business as usual.