A couple of people sent me this link on Twitter. My first thought was, as usual, a slow boil of the sort that produces a 1000-word rant in the space of an hour. Since I’ve done so many of those, this time I’ll entertain another thought.
How much do you want to bet that the Romney campaign decided to donate these shirts to Kenya as a way of sticking it to Obama. Just a losers tactic of shifting the political goal posts. If you can’t win in one arena, change the rules and play a game you know your opponent won’t play.
Obama isn’t going to Kenya any time soon because it is politically impossible for him to do so. Romney’s losing campaign staff however, doesn’t have the same political constraints.
That aside, the language the staffers use sounds like it was from a 1980s “Save Africa” campaign. It is entirely devoid of sophistication or understanding of the market forces that govern every day life in Kenya, or Africa in general. This is the language of rookie do gooders on their first trip to the continent.
“It was a big deal that they could pick between short or long sleeved and blue and white. For an African youth from such an impoverished area to pick out something new is very rare.”
These comments are a consistent rookie do gooder mistake of projecting “perceived need” onto a target community. It’s funny that nearly all the kids pictured wearing the Romney shirts, wore them on top of other clothing they already owned. The misinterpreted choice of what the African can pick out, is actually between what’s on offer (a white or blue SWEDOW Romney shirt) and not a choice between going without or wearing a Romney shirt.
What I also think is completely overlooked is the fact that those smiling Kenyan youth have a completely different reason to be smiling in those photos. Chances are, they probably did a better job articulating the campaign issues than most Americans – who simply resorted to partisan political spats on Twitter during the campaign.