Thursday, May 08, 2008

Let's Play the Race Card

One of the most interesting aspects of branding is the manner in which most people approach it. Because they focus so much on what they like to sell, they tend to forget about the reasons their customers actually buy. I often point this out to clients with the example of selling Porsche automobiles. Ask Porsche why men buy their cars, and they'll tell you it's because those men appreciate a finer automotive machine. Ask those men, however, and you'll find the answer to be somewhat different:

They find that with a Porsche, they can get hotter chicks.

Nothing really new there, except for the realization that things don't always happen for the reasons we think they do. In fact, one of the most common misconceptions players face in the competitive arena is the assumption of a level playing field. Nowhere could this be truer than in the mega-hypocritical, politically correct stadium known as the American presidential election, where the Los Angeles Times recently reported on the battle between Democratic contenders Clinton and Obama.

In its article predicting the demise of Hillary Clinton, the Times reported the following:

Other Democratic officials said Wednesday that they feared the political damage to the party if Clinton were to succeed in using the party apparatus to take the nomination from Obama, who has energized black voters and many other Democrats.

Seems innocuous enough, eh? Really? Try reading the same lines with the details reversed and see if it plays the same way for you:

Other Democratic officials said Wednesday that they feared the political damage to the party if Obama were to succeed [against] using the party apparatus to take the nomination from Clinton, who has energized white voters and many other Democrats.

Same story, but written from the politically incorrect point of view. Just imagine if any candidate, Democrat or Republican, were to be lionized for their efforts in galvanizing the white vote in America. As we say in my own home, "Boy, would there be yelling."

Think I'm being too clinical here? Well, you may want to ask yourself why it's perfectly okay to bash the "Christian right", while everyone cries foul for referring to Obama by his full name -- Barak Hussein Obama. Nobody has a problem with Hillary Rodham Clinton. Or Richard Milhous Nixon. Or even Lee Harvey Oswald. Call the Senator from Illinois by his full name and the next thing you'll be calling is the riot police.

Don't get me wrong. I don't have any particular agenda here. I'm all for changing what America has become and I think that change could happen with just about any candidate. The only question would be what kind of change you'd be looking at, which is what free and fair elections are all about.

I'm currently writing this from the truly democratic country of Denmark, a country that prides itself on its ethics and freedoms, including the freedom to freely -- and fairly -- disagree. There's surprisingly little yelling here, although there's plenty of debate. There's no political correctness here because the Danes understand the value of truth.

Just like America used to.


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