Sunday, January 14, 2007

The Peoples' Champion?: Part I

On one level, this photograph screams “The People!”

You have Sylvester Stallone, a peoples’ actor, famous for portraying that blue-collar hero, “Rocky.”

He’s waving to a crowd of the English working-class, at “The Peoples’ Club,” Everton.

This in the same week that it is announced that English soccer star David Beckham will be joining the Los Angeles Galaxy soccer team.

For the uninitiated, Beckham is one half of “Posh and Becks,” a couple who are regarded in England as being the “Peoples’ Royalty” – and that would be “Posh” Spice, by the way.

But then you look behind the arranged photo op, and smack yourself in the head when you realize that Stallone is an actor who made millions playing that make-believe blue-collar character. And he probably returned to a private box rather than the public stands.

Everton is a filthy-rich soccer club, which stopped being a genuine working-class football club a long time ago.

Beckham will be receiving $250 million for the pleasure of kicking a ball around in Los Angeles. And “Posh” Spice hasn’t been ‘real’ since she got the boob job.

None of them is any more representative of “The People” than George Bush is. Once again, smoke and mirrors have us almost convinced that Hollywood ‘real’ is actual reality. And that brings me right back to John's Campaign.

You have to be very careful when you hold yourself out to be a "Man of the People." Pre-arranged photo ops, open-neck shirts and vaguely-worded speeches are no substitute for genuinely staying in touch with ‘real’ people - every day.

You can only truly understand what ‘real’ working people want if you make yourself regularly available to ‘real’ working people – at their level, in their space and on their time-scale.

And if you can’t do this during an Election Campaign, then what hope is there that you can do it when you get to the White House?

No comments: