By Pendarvis Harshaw

I’ve been thinking about the connection between the consumption of fast food and the consumption of political information. It seems these days, we consume both rather greedily with little time to think about the consequences of this consumption. How does it shape our waistlines as well as our perspectives? Whether its political spin or happy meals, when does consumption consume?

Advertising is everything. Four years ago, the campaign to get the young African Americans involved in politics was “Vote or Die” which was spearheaded by
Sean “P. Diddy” Combs. The campaign failed, as results showed no improvement in that demographics turnout. Much like the political world- the fast food world has
been making a strong push at young African Americans.

McDonald’s has been taking their “Im loving it” slogan to a new beat as they recently revealed a Super Bowl commercial which shows two young men beat boxing while they consumed their meals. Advertising isn’t everything- rationality is everything.

I found myself in the notorious McDonalds on the corner of Georgia Avenue and Barry Place in Northwest, Washington DC without a penny in my pocket. I was accompanied by two other starving Howard University students who just happened to be just a couple of quarters richer than myself. Absent of any influence from media, they made the rational decision, and ordered their dollar menu favorites, while I stationed
myself at a table facing a flat screen Television.

Once the two had received their orders, they joined me at the table and acknowledged the CNN news reports of Barack Obama’s moderate political success thus far. A discussion based in Black politics ensued between the three of us, until we were interrupted by an African American DC Metro officer.

One of the two students whom accompanied me, Chuck T, had just given reasoning as to why McCain might win- saying: “You know how America feels about its toothless war hero Presidents – John McCain might be the biggest thing to happen to DC since George… Washington, not Bush.”

The cop intervened and offered his two-cents, “see…that’s why I’m not voting.”

Due to inflation- pennies don’t matter any more- and neither did his two cents. This time around politics are not about the buying into the advertising strategies. “that’s why I’m not voting” and “vote or die” are both dead- or at least falling on deaf ears.

Rationality is alive and kicking here in the capitol: if you want something to be consumed reach the consumers where they are- this is why McDonalds has a dollar menu- this is why McDonalds has a television airing political news- and following suit, Barack Obama is the reason why Young African-Americans, who were not priorly, are now interested in politics.

Advertisements