Barack Obama by not choosing Hillary Clinton as his vice presidential running mate may have implemented one of the worst political strategic moves in history. Granted there was a bruising primary campaign where Obama and Hillary followers grew to dislike each other.
There were heated passions on both sides with Clinton supporters upset at being “dissed” by Obama. Then there was the effervescence injected into the seemingly flat Republican presidential campaign with the surprise addition of Sarah ” Thanks, but no thanks to the bridge to nowhere” Palin to their ticket.
Arguments ignited around the coffee pot or water cooler have people at odds with each other. I know some people who’ll quickly scamper away to avoid any political discussion.
In some workplaces the tension is so high over the upcoming presidential election that “political discussions are discouraged.” I have witnessed an Obama supporter block traffic to a traditional black church. In the workplace the same person will spit out expletives to anyone who does not agree with him. I was even told, “It’s the white liberals that have issues with Obama.” When I, an African-American, raised some questions about Obama the political zealot practically attacked me. I’m talkin’ “Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs’ crazed (Me thinks someone’s off their meds, for reals y’all).
Now when you hear people calling others “Kool-Aid Drinkers” it now makes a little more sense. Both candidates have zealous followers thus the term, “Kool-Aid Drinkers.”
“The term is derived from the 1978 cult suicide in Jonestown, Guyana. Jim Jones, the leader of the Peoples Temple, persuaded his followers to move to Jonestown. Late in the year he ordered his followers to commit suicide by drinking grape-flavored Flavor Aid laced with postasium cyanide.” From Wikipedia.
And Urban Dictionary gets right to the heart of the matter:
Don’t drink the kool-aid: Comes from a religious mass suicide from poisoned kool-aid. When people are going to a meeting of a controversial group, they are sometimes warned not to drink the kool-aid.
“Do not drink the Kool-Aid” refers to not believing what you’re being told. By the time you’ve “drunk the Kool-Aid” means you’ve already blindly succumbed to a very strong belief in that position. In 1987 when Marion Barry was re-elected as Mayor of D.C. after a highly publicized video taped drug-use bust – Barry supporters in Washington were tagged as Kool-Aid Drinkers when they voted to return him to office.
Kool-Aid is more than a drink invented in 1927 derived from dried fruit smack, it has invaded our political lexicon and if you listen to our political leaders they’re dispensing the beverage at an alarming pace. So, the next time you hear someone say, “Don’t drink the Kool Aid,” think about it.
Ken Jackson is the editor of Urban CNY. He can be reached at urbacny.com.