On this Weekend and”Power”

This weekend was all about power– estimating it in numbers, conceding it and measuring it in physical prowess.

I went to the ‘One Nation Working Together’ rally which lets face it, was more of a way for liberals to tout “my rally is way bigger than yours” than it was about inspiring those in attendance to come up with new and more effective strategies to use their new found collective power (save, to vote in the Midterm elections).

The speeches were decent but familiar (a lot of MLK rhetoric) and it was great to see people from all sorts of organizations (ranging from unions,  environmental groups, churches,  to LBGT groups) put aside for a moment their niche issues and identity politics to come together on the National Mall to address a more frightening enemy: The party of No and the populist anger aka the Tea Party that threatens to infiltrate them and make the GOP–can it be? yes, worse.

If Saturday was a day to demonstrate to the powers that be that we are a formidable force to be reckoned with coming into the Midterm elections and beyond then mission somewhat accomplished; because our rally was, according to some, way bigger than theirs.

or was it? Or more importantly does it matter who wins the rally measuring contest if it doesn’t translate into votes this November?

For more rally posturing checkout Jon Stewart’s ‘Restoring Sanity’ and Stephen Colbert’s ‘Keep Fear Alive’ “competing” rally’s.

Demonstrating power without employing it can be an effective way to keep your  enemies at bay. However, the best way to undermine power is to dilute it under the guise of acceptance; mainstream culture has had a great run of absorbing subcultures so that eventually overtime what was once hip , edgy, progressive transform into trendy, bland, and moderate.

Assimilation is really the best way to extract the venom from the bite.

As reported on Urban Daily a diadem donning Kanye West performed his hit  song “Power” at NBC’s Saturday Night Live. The performance was eye-catching as usual (dozens of young women in white leotards moved around like possessed  Greek oracles), and was a well serving distraction for viewers who otherwise may have noticed the change in lyrics.

In the original “Power” Kanye spits, “F— ‘SNL’ and the whole cast/ “Tell ‘em Yeezy said they can kiss my whole a–,” a diss in response to SNL’s repeated skits on the Kanye and Taylor Swift incident at the 2009 VMA’s.

But for SNL, they were changed to:

The brown hero, live from Ground Zero/Machine gun flow, made her get a Ross Perot,” he sang instead. “And this is disestablishmentarianism / With my night goggles on, got military vision And it’s still a very Christian way to think about livin’/ When you prayin’ for freedom ’cause your mind been in prison/’Cause they tryin’ to control every single big decision.

Concession made; seems there are ego’s bigger and more powerful than Mr. West’s. In lieu of original “Power” lyrics did not stop Kanye from delivering a powerful performance.

Thankfully there is one arena bereft of manipulation–  What I love most about sports is that when it comes to power it is never shared, conceded, or demonstrated by how many people show up to your game; there is only a battle of two opposing forces and power is either won  or it is lost.  Last night, The Chicago Bears lost their right to call themselves undefeated after they took a beating from the Giants last night. It wasn’t what I would call a great game but I did enjoy seeing Bears’ QB Jay Cutler suffer sack after sack after sack (a total of 10, two short of the 2007 record the Giants set with a 12-sack outing against Philadelphia). Sadly he was taken out of the game due to injury.

Broken ribs and concussions are a small price to pay for a precious politics-free zone where there always seems to be a decisive win, having talent means you never have to say sorry, and being the best isn’t subjective. Ahhhh I love football– for allowing Michael Vick’s talent to override his dog fighting stint,  for casting blame on Inez’s dress and manner as the real culprit of sexual harassment–  for always ensuring that the world of sports remain the sole spot where a struggle for power can only result in a winner who takes all, unconcerned with moral high ground.

Seems with power you can have it one of three ways; put on-for- show, diluted, or served straight up. I still don’t know which one to choose.


Naima "Nai" Ramos-Chapman is the Associate Editor at Campus Progress, a dancer with Taurus Broadhurst Dance in D.C., and an aspiring visual artist (she doodles). Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @Naimaramchap.