I really do try never to discuss religion or politics in mixed company. But like just about everybody I talk to, I’m really fed up with this Presidential campaign. But buried deep in the muck of this race there are valuable lessons for our DJ community.
Both Presidential candidates promise things they know damn well they can’t deliver. Even with the best intentions neither candidate could get anything done with a Congress more concerned with grabbing power than anything else. What’s worse for me is how the campaign has put into sharp focus just how divided we are as a country. I view my own Facebook friends list as a microcosm of our larger population and believe me, my feed has been filled with vitriol, inaccuracies and angry rants and un-friending (some of which, admittedly have come from me) since this campaign started. It’s disheartening and annoying at best. Scary and dangerous at worst. Especially since it seems that most of us actually agree on what this country needs right? Jobs, good health care, reduced debt, healthy economy, etc. We just disagree on how to get there.
Our dysfunctional U.S. political system has gotten me thinking about the politics of our DJ community. I think if we take a good hard look in the mirror, we might see some of the things that get so ugly in a presidential race in our own reflection.
As DJs, we also all want the same things. Plenty of bookings. State of the art gear. Happy clients referring new business. But like our country, there are definite factions within our community that have differing viewpoints on how to achieve these things. I suppose just about any profession has its politics to deal with. Lest anyone think the DJ profession isn’t political, just browse some of our forums. They’re filled with strong opinions from The Independent DJ party. The Multi-Ops (Multi-Oplicans?). The Liberal Entertainers who believe the way to a successful party is through a high degree of interactivity, dance routines or props. The Conservative MC Movement who favors a more subtle and unobtrusive way of hosting a special event. Mark Ferrell’s “Getting What You’re Worth” Movement. Peter Merry’s Wedding Entertainment Director Guild. The list goes on.
Some pundits of these parties do have the genuine interest in the betterment of our profession (and thus, their own pocketbooks) at heart, as I believe both Presidential candidates do. But they also often believe their way is the best way to achieve it. DJ factions have lobbyists, raise money and aggressively campaign. We even sharply criticize those with opposing views or methods. We deride “bottom feeders”, rookies and try to discredit those who may use different gear, market themselves unusually or make introductions differently than we do. Just like our government’s leaders who, in a blind grab for power really have lost sight of what we, the people actually want, the DJ community sometimes also forgets that our clients could care less about the brand of speaker we use or that they might actually like a DJ who wears a goofy hat – even if we think that’s the stupidest thing in the world.
During this presidential campaign, I have grown increasingly disheartened at the division of our country that seems to grow wider with every personal attack from both candidates and voters. This disillusionment is even sharper living here in the swing state of Ohio, where these candidates have poured millions of dollars into bombarding us with their campaigns of negativity.
The main lesson I’m taking away from this current Presidential campaign is that politics and rhetoric don’t improve things. Smart people working together, debating respectfully and creatively solving problems do. And these are things I also see a lot of in our DJ community. Despite similarities between our national politics and the politics of our profession, I’m far more optimistic about our DJ community than I am about the political leaders of our government.
I believe our country’s political leaders could learn a thing or two from America’s mobile entertainment professionals and how we co-exist with all of our different views. Yes, we can get pretty nasty to each other. But we share ideas and advice- even between our differing groups of methodology. Unlike America’s two-party system that’s constantly forcing us to draw lines in the sand, we DJs often “cross the aisle” to help each other network, train and improve our skills. Not to gain power, but to genuinely help our profession grow, raise awareness of our worth and better serve clients. (Novel concept, huh Congress? Actually helping your clients….us?).
If Democrats and Republicans were only as willing to try good ideas – no matter what side of the aisle they come from – as much as us DJs, we might actually have a government that works. I hope as DJs we’re paying attention to the lessons of this campaign not only to bring into focus the things we’re doing right but also for glaring examples of what not to do. Let’s keep the promises we make to our clients. Let’s continue to work together, even if we disagree. Let’s put the profession ahead of our own personal interests. Let’s learn some lessons. And then vote.
I’m Geoff Short, and I approved this message.