A fundamental axiom of Communication Studies is that in order to have healthy discourse, one must begin with agreement. Only then is the stage set to productively engage with disagreement. Of course, it doesn’t have to operate in this way. That is, if you’re content with today’s politics — Which Kanye aptly observed, “Looks like a gang”, Red vs. Blue.
But notice what was said, and if you have time to watch it (minute 19:36–20:55) then notice how it was said. Trump already understands both emotionally and logically that Kanye is not trying to hurt or attack him, he’s trying to help. And as a result, Trump trusts Kanye and gives him room to speak. Next, Kanye says sheepishly while (and this is important) wearing the MAGA hat, that he has an idea.
Ye says he’s made a “bit of a transition” to the hat, and not only that, but he brought these hats with him to the meeting. Immediately, Trump is probably gathering that there’s a sub-communicated, implicit problem with his MAGA slogan. And he listens.
Kanye continues by saying that the solution is not to burn the hat, or destroy the stupid, easily offended liberals, but rather to simply remove the word “Again” from MAGA. After all, how many Americans would reject the slogan “Make America Great”? It’s a profound observation, and it’s even more profound that he’s able to successfully deliver this criticism while inside the Oval Office and right to Trump’s face.
If you’re not impressed, I wonder: Who else do you think would be in the position to potentially alter Trump’s campaign slogan? Or get Trump and Kaepernick to stand together? And if this has any chance of occurring, then why would it have to stop there?
Did we just get a lesson in bipartisan politics from a rapper trying to redesign a hat?
Apparently, the dream for Kanye is to see both Trump and Kaepernick publicly wearing the hat together. And in case you didn’t realize, the hat is not the point. The point is seeing enemies taking a step toward reconciliation and a common, productive purpose.