Rocktober: Get Out And Vote!

James Marler - Rotary Downs

Is this election different than past elections, why or why not?

James Marler
I think what is at stake is pretty extraordinary in that the decisions made by the next president will have a particularly enormous bearing on the country's future. Our financial and security situation is dire in a way that we haven't seen since the 1930s. We are deep in debt and have a plethora of enemies both great and small. Each candidate has greatly contradicted and thereby undermined himself in the past year and a half, so voters are going to have to choose their leader almost intuitively, speculating what each man might do in a variety of hypothetical scenarios. McCain is generally viewed as having more "character" and gravitas while Obama is regarded as having a much steadier demeanor and a keener intellect. On the other hand, McCain is notoriously rash and unpredictable, serially making "gut" decisions (in the manner that often served Bush poorly). The concern with Obama is somewhat the opposite: that he is overly risk-averse politically (as is evident in his hundreds of "present" votes) and may deliberate when immediate action is required.

What is the relationship between music and politics - and how, if at all, has this relationship affected your music?

As they say, the personal is political and the political is personal, so everyone deals with politics (and a political backdrop) all of the time, from broad scopes (world, nation, state, city) to smaller ones (friends, family, self). I personally avoid blatant forays into song as political stance. I've heard it done well, in a way that gives credit to the listener's ability to reflect and interpret (Bob Dylan, Husker Dü) and I've heard it done in a really dumbed down, patronizing way that makes me cringe (Spearhead, Rage Against the Machine).

If you could speak directly to all American voters, what would you say?

Both candidates have extraordinary personal stories and should be respected on that level at least. Decide which issues are most important to you, who you think might manage those issues best, and vote for that person.

Rotary Downs' next show is November 1, at Tipitina's in New Orleans, LA.

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