Various music-friendly organizations, from Punkvoter.com to Music for America, MoveOn.org, and No Vote Left Behind, have been organizing or backing events ranging from cover nights with kissing booths to national events like Warped Tour, all in the name of registering voters and pushing all citizens to take it to the polls November 2. No Vote Left Behind, a political action committee (PAC) [see "Born Again Voters" Sandeep Kaushik, April 29] is organizing by far the most expansive Seattle election-centered event, with a dozen shows for No Vote Left Behind: A Festival of Music, Art, and Activism.
According to NVLB's Chris Olson, the group will use the money raised by these shows for, among other things, "direct contributions to progressive candidates in contested races." Olson adds that NVLB also aims to use the local music community as a forceful voice against the Bush administration.
To that end, we've asked some of the performers involved in the No Vote marathon (see novoteleftbehind.net for full schedule) to offer brief thoughts on our current political climate and the need to get out the vote. --Jennifer Maerz
Kierkegaard was right with his whole "there is no truth in a crowd" routine. However, sitting in a Paris hotel on tour four years ago, watching the election results come in--in French--I could only shake my head. He is still right; the world still changes one person at a time--not in a crowd. Just as every parent can teach children to see beyond what's in front of them and make good decisions, we all have opportunities to teach, listen, and hopefully change the world in a positive way. I'm honored to be performing, but I'm mostly looking forward to being inspired by all the other people at this event. There's hope--prove it by voting. ALAN SPARHAWK, LOW
The idea that people who finally have the opportunity to vote in an election are too jaded to care is the best measure of how far astray our current administration has taken us. But whether or not you support Dems or Reps, voting is a right that must be exercised. The 2000 election proved that every vote is important even when the government is bent on stealing the election. If people who are twice your age and have been burned or disappointed in several elections can still believe in the process enough to vote, so can you. Don't be lame or a fucking quitter. VOTE (for Kerry). See you in the audience when Grant-Lee Phillips is singin' pretty at the Sunset Tavern. JOHN DOE
Twenty-five years ago, in a song called "The American in Me" I wrote, "Ask not what you can do for your country, what's your country been doing to you?" The second line still stands, but now we need to do something for our country... we need to vote. We need to vote Bush and his cronies out of office. Aside from dragging us into a senseless war, he's squandered our biggest surplus, handed us a $477 billion deficit, trashed women's and individual rights in the name of God and country, and gravely damaged environmental laws to benefit corporate polluters. As a second-term president he will show even less respect to the American in you and me. Please stop him. Use your voice...VOTE. PENELOPE HOUSTON, AVENGERS
Do I care if any votes get left behind? Hmm. Not really. I guess you could count me among the small group of citizens who believe, as the founders believed, that voting is wasted on the masses. Otherwise you have the current situation, where hundreds of thousands of ignorant clods are herded to the polls by frantic, frothing-mouthed volunteers, terrorizing people with visions of a coming apocalypse. I hope your first experience of voting isn't inspired by a bunch of rock musicians proselytizing from the stage. If you're coming to this show, come for the music. JOHN RODERICK, THE LONG WINTERS
November 2 will be remembered (by me) as the year that several million eligible voters didn't vote. For the most part the reasons will be limited to: "I don't care," or "I honestly didn't have time," or "They are both evil assholes who are little more than corporate shills and neither one represents my views, so fuck it." None of these excuses is satisfactory. I have neither the time nor space to list fully the obvious importance and urgency of what is at stake. I can't say for certain what a Kerry White House would hold, but I can say that four more years of Bush will at the least (amongst numerous other things), find us with even dirtier water, air, and land. [It will also mean] far less representation in court, more terrorism at our doorstep and abroad, a further erosion (and its rabid acceptance) of basic civil rights, a dismantling of virtually every social
program enacted during FDR's administration, the possibility of a new type of draft, more criminal negligence by increasingly powerful multinational corporations, an even more unbalanced monopoly of the media, assault weapons back on our streets, a powerful, concerted attempt to have for only the second time in this country's history an amendment which actually discriminates against a type of American, a total lack of accounting for the last four years, the roll-back of Roe v. Wade, and a proud, vicious, flag-waving army of the masses ready to do what they need to do to smash dissent and debate.
For me it's pretty simple, I'll stand in line, vote for Kerry and, if he wins, spend the next four years watching, criticizing, and confronting him, all the while trying to effect most of the same changes that the very people who refuse to vote are trying to effect. I truly don't understand how those people think they'll have a better chance of righting wrongs and fighting for social justice under Bush and not Kerry. Simply put, they are dangerously wrong. DAVID CROSS, COMEDIAN
I think everyone should vote to try to make a change so they can have a choice about how the United States should function. Everyone should have a say in what they think should be different, and be able to try and make it happen. ASY, SMOOSH
There are so many reasons to vote against Bush that it's hard to focus on just one. But since I'm in Pansy Division, I'll mention Bush's efforts to pass an anti-gay-marriage amendment to the constitution. Freedom seems to be a relative concept to the Bushies; their idea is to contract the idea of what freedom means, not expand it to include more freedoms. I believe in freedom FOR people, while Bush/Ashcroft/etc. believe in freedom FROM people and things (and using fear tactics to accomplish this). And that's backasswards. JON GINOLI, PANSY DIVISION
I am not an American citizen, I am a Mexican citizen and therefore cannot vote. I am very worried about the future of this country as well as how this country's role affects the global community. Since I can't vote, it is hard for me to offer opinions when there is not much that I can do about it. But it has become my country and I want to be proud of it. I'm really concerned when friends of mine aren't foaming at the mouth to hit the voting booths. To those who are American citizens and take for granted being able to vote: YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU'VE GOT! It only takes a few minutes and will affect not only you, your neighbors, and your country, but also Canada, Mexico, and everyone else outside of North America. Do it, fool! LUIS GABRIEL ILLADES, PANSY DIVISION/AVENGERS
When the band isn't on tour (which is often) I drive a truck and do deliveries around town. I find that talk radio passes the time quicker than music when I'm driving. When things get dull on NPR (which is often), I click over to AM and see what Sean Hannity, Dori Monson, and Michael "I'm mean" Medved have to say.
It's pretty easy to get the gist of their arguments because they just keep repeating the same things over and over, three hours a day, every day: The Democrats (for now, John Kerry) will compromise our security and will almost certainly put our country in jeopardy. George Bush, they say, is a man of principle and determination and will bring peace and security to Iraq.
Of course, I don't agree with that. But I certainly don't agree that John Kerry is the right man for the job, either. He seems like a complete kiss-ass businessman, the kind I took a delivery job to avoid. But will Kerry direct the country in a more liberal direction, particularly in regard to abortion, gay rights, and the environment? Hopefully. Will he help Iraq get a stable government in place that will benefit its population? Maybe. Do I resent having to choose between these two dickheads? Yes. Do we need to completely reform our ridiculous two-party system, so that more voices can be heard and there can be a coalition government that really represents "the people"? Absolutely.
Maybe once this election is over there should be continued organization for a multi-party system, the way so many have organized to get Bush out of office, so that we can put in place serious reform and not ever have to be in this horrible position again. CHRIS MARTIN, KINSKI
Republicans are trying to make Washington a swing state. Absolutely ridiculous. The state hasn't voted "red" in 24 years, and we'll be damn well sure it doesn't happen this time around... not on our watch. As musicians, we are the loudest, most effective voice the left has to reach the youth vote, and it's critical that 18-30-year-olds get out and vote in November. The right wing takes its cue from religious, governmental, and military leaders, but the left boasts musicians, artists, writers, academics, and cultural leaders. Which group would you want to hang with on a Friday night? Get out and register voters; encourage all your friends to vote on Election Day; talk about the issues. Rescue our country from the arrogant tyranny of the Bush administration and let's send W. back to Texas on November 2. RICHARD DAVIDSON, THE RADIO NATIONALS
We in Palomar are very excited about playing the No Vote Left Behind benefit. Especially in light of the results of the last election, we see the importance of people who support Kerry and/or the Democratic Party making an effort to represent themselves as citizens of the United States. In the U.S., as in all democracies, the only way that people not directly involved in politics can influence the events that they read about in the paper or see on the news is by voting one time every four years, so November 2 marks an event of rare and crucial importance.
It seems true that those who are politically conservative are also politically energetic; often to the point of fervency. We Palomars hope that all fellow members of our nonfervent liberal Democratic Party will nonetheless join and be recognized as the popular majority by electing Kerry. PALOMAR
I'll do anything I can to get that ratfucker out of office. MARK ARM, MUDHONEY
Pearl Jam will do whatever Mark Arm asks us to do. We believe that Mark Arm might very well have a direct connection with God and seems to have insight that could only be described as divine (read Mudhoney lyrics) and if he feels that its is an important election (war, environment, social justice, and integration) we will heed his call. STONE GOSSARD, PEARL JAM