Barack Obama's election last night stirred memories for me of the 1992 campaign. My son, Nick, was three-years old back then, and each time he saw a commercial touting one of the three major candidates, he delivered a stock response. At the sight of a George H.W. Bush spot, he'd declare, "I don't like George Bush. He's mean." Upon eyeballing an ad for H. Ross Perot, he'd say, "I don't like Ross Perot. He's crazy." And when a clip of Bill Clinton popped up, he'd announce, "I like George Clinton!"
Well, who didn't like George Clinton? As the founder of Parliment and Funkadelic, and the creator of some of the most exciting music in recent decades, he boasted funk credentials that were absolutely unimpeachable. And so, taking advantage of my exalted position as Westword's music editor, I formally endorsed George Clinton for president.
No, he didn't win -- until last night (and then only figuratively). But he anticipated such a victory years ago, in the title track to the 1975 album Chocolate City. Early in the tune, he says, "They still call it the White House/But that's a temporary condition."
Granted, Clinton predicted a different president-elect: "Don't be surprised if Ali is in the White House," he allowed. Moreover, his picks for the Cabinet probably aren't going to work out, although only one of them is dead: "Reverend Ike, Secretary of the Treasure/Richard Pryor, Minister of Education/Stevie Wonder, Secretary of Fine Arts." And his choice for first lady was Aretha Franklin, which may not sit well with Michelle Obama. But at least the song imagines harmony between the races instead of acrimony. At one point, he intones, "God bless Chocolate City... and its vanilla suburbs."
Obama would probably put it differently. But I'll bet he'd approve of the sentiment. -- Michael Roberts
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.