There was plenty of politicizing to go around at Sunday’s Oscars, which wasn’t too much of a surprise. Given the political inclinations of the audience, it wasn’t a shock that the National Rifle Association was a target, either.
However, what a lot of people may not have suspected was that the NRA wasn’t going to take it lying down. On the contrary, they decided to fight back with a video about what the organization and its members stand for.
The politicizing in question came from rap star Common, who was nominated for Best Song along with Andra Day. He took the stage with 10 liberal activists, according to Variety, including a Syrian refugee and Planned Parenthood head Cecile Richards.
“For the performance, each activist was contacted personally by Common and Day, who came up with the idea to use spotlights on stage as a visual element and to literally highlight those on the ground doing the daily work of changing the world,” Variety reported.
During the performance, Common, whose real name is Lonnie Rashid Lynn Jr., decided to do a bit of political freestyling.
“On Oscar night, this is the dream we tell. A land where Dreamers live and freedom dwells. Immigrants get the benefits, we put up monuments to the feminists,” Common said, according to The Hill.
“Tell the NRA they ain’t God’s way. And to the people of Parkland, we say Ase,” he continued.
Ase, for those of you wondering, is a philosophy of the Yoruba people of Nigeria which involves conceiving of the power to make social changes. Deep, man.
It’s curious that Common decided to take a dig at the NRA while he was on stage with a woman who heads an organization that’s pretty much based around death. The people running the NRA’s Twitter account decided not to question this association with Planned Parenthood, however, and instead focused on what their organization stands for.
— NRATV (@NRATV) March 5, 2018
The video features Dom Raso, a former Navy SEAL, talking about why he stands for the American flag.
“From high school gyms to towering stadiums, every time I see our flag wave, I feel a humbling reminder of the brave who keep and have kept us free,” Raso says during the one-minute video. “I stand to honor the sacrifices of the generations before me, heroes who charged into battle through bombs and bullets, who lost their brothers and still pushed through, fighting for every inch of our freedom.”
“I stand for my brothers who can’t stand anymore, men who hunted terrorists to the end of the earth, who sacrificed their bodies and their lives so we could peacefully live ours.”
So, what did Common do?
— NRATV (@NRATV) March 5, 2018
Yeah, because that’s going to change hearts and minds. Stay classy, Common.
This is the eventual problem with all Oscar politicking: It’s nothing more than preaching to the converted, yet those who deliver it think they’re really getting through to people.
Musically speaking, Common hasn’t been particularly relevant in at least 10 years; the last album of his I remember listening to had an unintentionally hilarious line about how “white folks focus on dogs and yoga,” which is really all I remember about it. I hadn’t even heard of this new song before his stunt at the Oscars, which I suppose is good publicity for him.
However, the po-faced nature of the performance indicates he believes people in Middle America are genuinely interested in what he has to say, and his laughing-face emoji dismissal of a veteran describing why he stands for the American flag suggests he literally has no idea what the NRA or their supporters think.
Was he under the misapprehension that Mr. and Mrs. NRA Member were going to see him rapping on stage with Cecile Richards about how the organization wasn’t “God’s way” and then laugh at an NRA video featuring a veteran, and they were going to turn to each other and say, “Golly, maybe we’ve been wrong about this whole Second Amendment thing”?
Of course not. If anything, Common’s ridiculousness probably induced more conservatives to get NRA memberships than to abandon them. That’s the great irony of Oscar night. For all of the liberal entertainers screaming their opinions into a giant echo chamber for three hours, what have they accomplished? All they’ve done is alienate the same people they’ve tried to convert. Nice work.