Got 2 emails from major artists today regarding the 2008 US elections.
1 from David Byrne. 1 from Trent Reznor. Interesting to compare the 2 approaches.
I Can't, But You Can
Pardon the bulk mailing. I Can't Vote. I am an immigrant with a Green Card and, therefore, I am not eligible to vote in a federal election. FYI - I can get drafted (luckily, Daniel Berrigan burned my draft board's records) and I pay taxes, yet I cannot vote for President. On Election Day, I see my neighbors heading to the nearby elementary school to cast their ballots. The voting booth joint is a great leveler; the whole neighborhood - rich, poor, old, young, decrepit and spunky - they all turn out in one day.
But most of you can vote. What can I say? The Republicans have made us less safe than before 9/11, bankrupted this economy, started an illegal war they can't - and don't intend to - finish, removed what sympathy (after 9/11) and respect the world had for the US, and have robbed US citizens of many of their basic rights. Global warming? What's that? Science and education? Investment in our future? No, thanks - we'll stick with a good 'ole hockey mom. Ignorant, and fucking proud of it, as is always the case.
Although it looks like a shoo-in, it ain't over 'til Florida. And there are plenty of racists in this country who will vote against their own best interests. So please, get to your local elementary school, post office, town hall, or whatever, and cast your vote and make this a country we can all be proud of. We can get out of this mess, and life can be better than it is.
And then this one from Trent of Nine Inch Nails.
*Important* Regarding Tuesday's Election
Next Tuesday we will elect the next President of the United States. The result will have great consequences for the nation.
This election offers a choice is between two men with dramatically different visions of the future. We have strong feelings about this choice. But we feel even more strongly that all Americans, regardless of political preference, have a stake in the outcome and should vote in this critical election.
This is likely to be a close election. Your vote matters. Please use it and make a difference.
I'm often put off by artists/performers I otherwise enjoy when they start mouthing off about politics. Usually because they spout cliches and don't add anything original to the discussion.
The funny thing is - both these guys prefer the same candidate as I do.
But only 1 treats me with respect and doesn't assume I agree with their point of view just because I expressed interest in their music.
Considering I only ever agreed to receive messages from these guys about their MUSIC - not politics, I have to say that Trent took the high road. Byrne took the low road.
Neither one of these email messages was necessary. But I also understand the temptation to speak out when you feel you have an "audience". I wouldn't care if they posted these exact messages on their blogs or websites.
But the e-mail lists were supposed to be about the music.
And even though I agree in general with the points of view Mr. Byrne expressed, I felt his articulation of them was ineloquent petty.
That's particularly unfortunate particularly since our preferred candidate has done an amazing job of elevating the level of political discourse. Perhaps Mr. Byrne should listen a little closer to the way his candidate has been talking about these issues and learn a new song.
What are your thoughts about artists and politics?
I'm poaching this relevant comment off the Analog Industries - Audio Damage blog by Chris Randall. Chris is "Sister Machine Gun" and other acts - but "Audio Damage" is his computer music plug-in company.
Next, obviously, we have a new president, and I'm not going to apologize to the dozens of people that have written me complaining about my admixture of music and politics on this site. There are very few disparate subjects that fit together as well as music and politics, and it is one of our jobs, as musicians, to conflate the culture and ideas that are prevalent at our time. We provide a prism through which our compatriots can view the world of our day, and a lens by which our time can be viewed by future generations, and it is our responsibility to color that view with our own ideas and desires. We do this better than virtually any other source of posterity, and it is a damn shame when we can't see it.
Good thoughts. I guess I just prefer the "conflation" take place within the art of music making itself rather than in an email.