With the finish line of a bruising, interminable presidential race in sight, there aren't too many things Republicans and Democrats still agree on. But cute and wildly talented kids are one of them, and the seventh-graders at Atlanta's Ron Clark Academy certainly qualify. Their paean to the political process, "You Can Vote However You Like," inspired by rapper T.I.'s hit "Whatever You Like," has swept across the Internet over the past few days, amassing nearly 300,000 hits on YouTube and booking them upcoming appearances on ABC's Good Morning America and BET's 106 & Park. After learning of their performance, T.I. himself stopped by the school.
Clark says he founded the school with money from his Oprah-featured New York Times-bestselling education manifesto, The Essential 55. Thanks to sponsors like Delta, the academy is able to send its 120 students who range from fifth to eighth grade and attend largely on scholarship on trips to six continents by the time they graduate, as part of a curriculum that emphasizes world affairs. He says given their interest in current events, getting the 30 seventh-graders to express their interest in politics through song was easy. "When you use music, kids get excited," he says.
It shows. Clark says his kids wrote the lyrics and choreographed the dance for "You Can Vote However You Like" on their own, and practiced for only a few days. Their rap, in which half the group extols McCain's merits while the other half backs Obama, shows a savvy grasp of the campaign's messages. A pro-McCain verse:
McCain's the best candidate
With Palin as his running mate
They'll fight for gun rights, pro life,
The conservative right
Our future is bright
Better economy in sight
And all the world will feel our military might
And an Obama counter-argument:
But McCain and Bush are real close right
They vote alike and keep it tight
Obama's new, he's younger too
The Middle Class he will help you
He'll bring a change, he's got the brains
McCain and Bush are just the same
You are to blame, Iraq's a shame
Four more years would be insane
Watch it. You will smile.