ROCKTOBER 2004 : : VOTING ON THE MIND

RICKIE LEE JONES
Rickie Lee Jones

Why is it important to vote?

The question of voting is a complicated one. We live in a world where it is easier and easier to avoid the outside and stay totally in the inside. The circle of friends, of comfort, staying in a routine and not rocking the boat, or staying insulated with drugs or worry or sex, and never caring--never being able to care--about what is going on in India or Indiana or down the street. In that other part of town. It is important to vote to resist the atrophy that sets in to the muscle of concern. The question can't be whether or not you will win, the question is whether or not you are concerned. We live under a regime that has done everything but outlaw the vote. It has shown its contempt for the traditions of our nation every time it turns. From Bush's refusal to engage in debate, to inform the press, to inform the people, his choice of staff, his conflict of interests, he makes no attempt to disguise his contempt for the American people. He has no intention of telling us anything he does not want us to know, and he without shame--believes like any megalomaniac--that he [Bush] will decides what we are fit to hear and know. We are his peasants. He will decide if we can know that a nuclear power plant is leaking, that there was no just cause to invade the sovereign nation of Iraq and kidnap its leader and kill his children. He will decide that photographs of dead United States soldier's coffins cannot be published because it will make him look bad and folks will be even more against the war than they are. Imagine, forty years ago, if Nixon would have tried these things. We were a freer and smarter nation then. WE would not have tolerated, our press, our establishment - no "fringe left" but WE, The People, would not have tolerated for a moment this squall that is Bush. This storm that is his lies and contempt for the American freedoms we have won and cherish. Bush, faced with a real war hero, digs up people to attack him. Nothing is sacred; this is a man with no respect for anything. No respect for free speech, for peace, for a soldier, for a twenty year olds life, for the elderly, for little children. For anyone. No respect for the right of the people to know everything. He keeps all knowledge hidden and a uniformed and frightened people toddle to the voting booths. He snatched some kind of cap of fatherly dominance, I can't imagine how, and people now are prepared to roll back two hundred years of constitution and law in just three short years under the misguided and corrupt regime of Bush. Is it important to vote? The whole wide world is at stake. Our children may never know how wonderful American was just three short years ago, before this man forced his way through the door of the presidency. They may think it is for their own good that they don't know about corruption, lies, war, and betrayal. They may think it is in their best interest that the government monitor and control everything they see, hear, and learn.

Is this election any different than elections past?

This election is like no other, because this is not a fight of ideology, left and right, more or less taxes. This is a fight of good and evil. It comes down to that. This right winged extremist is no less frightening than his cousin in spirit Adolph Hitler. Hitler also was an outsider, a mans man, a regular guy who appealed to a base and poorly educated segment of a population, primed and ready for a fascist leader to tell them their way was the only way and that every one needed to be like them. That everyone wanted to be like them. He decided what they would learn and set a tone for the kind of spirit that would dominate the culture. It is very similar today. The difference is that we are the one and only nation engaged in this experiment called Democracy from the get go. We have fought hard not to let one person come in and take over and undo the laws many republican and democratic presidents and congresses have forged. There have been other wars, terrible wars. Never did we dream of undoing our freedom in order to protect it. You cannot throw the baby out with the bath water. This president seems to think it was a bad idea to have the baby at all. The freedoms American's enjoy are not what led to the bombing of 9/11. To take away our freedom is just that, it is not an answer to a problem. We were bombed because of the horror brought on by agents of our government by institutions like Halliburton. To take over Iraq and set that company up over there is just adding acid to an open wound. If the message is to be that we are strong, let it be. But this message seems to be that we are no longer engaged in the business of democracy, and that democracy is temporarily out of business in the United States until further notice. Let the notice be now. Let's win back our nation and put it in the hands of people who will not take away our rights (Americans) in order to punish the people who want to take away our rights (terrorists). You don't need to know how I voted or how much money I have when I get on a plane. We have to stop this machine in its path. The homeland security, the Patriot Act, the cessation of our right to know, we can and must vote these people out of office and stop the unmaking of the United States.

Do politics have a place in music?
Why or why not?

Politics have a place in music if they have a place in the musician's life; it's as simple as that. Music is just a human being writing down and singing out his/her feelings. You can't say some things are inappropriate for feelings and for putting a melody to. Everything we care about we sing about. Music, like all art, reflects the time in society, and emanates from the emotional make up of the musician. It might be unpopular socially to write a political song, like say 1976 when the Eagles are singing about life in the fast lane and no one wants to be reminded of the hippy thing eight years before. But that would not mean it was inappropriate to care, and so right. It just might not be lucrative. It is appropriate to say what you feel. To be effective, though, is another thing. If you are writing to effect, or to affect... because politics as a trend can be helpful to getting people involved and looking around them. This can't ever be wrong.

My intention is to be a part of the big broom that will sweep these hard times into the past. That Bush will be an aberration, a flaw, a momentary lapse in judgment, and not the anti Christ, the thing that hid in the bell tower of freedom all along, waiting to eat it from within. Scary monster? You bet. There are always people waiting to use our freedom to gain power and then roll back the freedom for everyone else. You must be especially attentive to the techniques people employ. They will always use them on you, sooner or later. We want a moral person. Our morality is not a sexual topic; it is a topic of the fabric of being. We will fight for your right to disagree. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you... This is the kind of American I grew up in and it is the one I intend to fight for, and I will not stand for it being distorted and retold as if it never was really that way at all.

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