Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Imitation of Life


People like to say that 'art imitates life,' but isn't it really the other way around?

There is a certain vision that people who are dedicated to cultural expression have that lets them see what is to come (be it comforting or uncomfortable).

Over the last few weeks, I've read any number of articles with the premise that plot lines in The West Wing foreshadowed Obama being elected president. And truthfully, this is a case of art and life informing each other because The West Wing's writers based character Matt Santos on Barack Obama.

And in thinking about the "Bradley Effect," Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez wrote about 'The Huxtable Effect' saying that the cultural movements pave the way for political change. She points out that the Harlem Renaissance preceded the Civil Rights Movement and that kids who grew up on The Cosby Show helped put Obama in the White House. Interestingly, just as the young Latino president on the West Wing hinted at Obama, she hopes that Obama himself will foreshadow a Latino president.

In this world, we still have these divisions, so I understand her hope. A president who is a person of color is good, but one who shares your particular cultural heritage is the icing on the cake.

As for the "Bradley Effect," didn't anyone ever think that it could be turned inside out? Yes, back when Tom Bradley ran for office, they found that to be "polite" certain people said they'd vote for a black man and didn't.

Now, perhaps some people were reluctant to say they intended to vote for a black man, but they did so anyway. Not to diminish the power of polls, but what people said, carried much less weight than what they did in the voting booth. As always actions speak louder than words, and the America spoke--by a landslide.

2 comments:

Sharon said...

There is so much to think about, it is all still sinking in for me.

D. Bradley said...

I agree and I pray President-elect Obama will keep his eye on the prize, namely to change and improve America in a way which will have benign and lasting effects for generations to come.