Sunday, August 01, 2004

politics and the warped tour

i just got back from the 10th anniversary warped tour show. i finally got a chance to eat when i got home, so i'm going to write while i digest my ribs, cheese and crackers.

today was the most politically inspired warped tour i have ever seen. it had long been my belief that much of the youth vote steered toward liberalism. we have had more experience i think and more opportunity to interact with that which is different from us that we have a different sense of things than our previous generation. the vans warped tour is full of self proclaimed "punk rockers". punk for much as i can remember until its distillation and diluted mass market mtv/hot topic distribution was in the spirit of anti-establishment. it was my belief that this would translate in some ways to liberalism, a hope that stereotypes and social institutions of the past could be progressed over.

in some ways i think i was right. how many bands did i see today spouting the message of, in the words of anti-flag, "george w. bush is the worst president america has ever had". i saw a lot. how many cheers went up when justin sane said this, a lot. fat mike of the band nofx had even set up a website, in hopes that the youth of america would come out and vote W out of office. but as many people out across the crowds that would probably translate to a vote for john kerry if they did indeed vote this year, there were just as many "fuck kerry, he's a douche" voices out there. maybe it is because i live in the south, maybe it's because this is florida (not the most liberal and progressive areas of thought), but the so called "punk vote" is not completely anti-bush.

i saw a tent today. i'm not sure if it was for a band or if it was an organization, but it really bothered me. it was called "american dream". on the logo of the shirt, was a picture of an M16 rifle. in the front of their booth was a man about 25 with a vote kerry poster with a big electrical tape X on it. he shouted, "fuck john kerry, if you're voting for john kerry fuck you too". what exactly is the premise of this organization? i wasn't willing to ask since they were all antagonistic and looked like they'd start shit with me if i started a discussion. so all i can tell is that they probably believe in some fundamental rights of america, say, freedom to bear arms, which would explain the rifle on the logo. what's the premise of the kerry hating, i don't understand rhetoric like that, which brings me to the point of, if you probably don't know what you're talking about, especially in politics, shut your fucking mouth. i don't think it would matter if you were republican or democrat, one of the most annoying things that people do not like putting up with is bullshit.

this brings me to the question of why mobilize the youth of today to vote? it is already a very pronounced statistic that the 18-? vote (youth) is basically meaningless and does nothing to affect the outcome of an election. the swing vote of independents or border line democrats or republicans (7% of the total vote which is undecided) seems to be more important to those keeping track of statistics, than the voices of those who will one day inherit the foundations of our country. if we are so meaningless as a bloc of votes, are they trying to persuade us early on to become liberal or conservative so that we add to the larger, more concrete statistic when we come of age?

what is our position in the world though, more specifically, what is mine? i was talking to my friend at warped tour today and he said he was really annoyed with mtv and many of the bands just telling kids to go out and register to vote. there is somewhat of a liberal slant on many of the bands' rhetoric and when they tell you to vote and accompany it with, "george w. bush has ruined the country, we entered into an illegal war, we torture prisoners, etc etc etc" is that fair to send one sided opinion into the voting booths? one of the things i was thinking about today was exactly that, the many people who will believe the commercials, the newspaper articles, the political speeches, the ad campaigns, their friends, without ever giving a subject any critical thought. if these are the people that we are sending to the polls, is this the kind of democracy that we want to run? what i mean is this. i went to the best public highschool in the nation (based on some crazy us news ranking system), pay $40,000 a year to attend one of the best universities in our country, i am intellectually smarter than a large percentage of america, what does this do for me? is it ethical for me to take the intellectual high ground and say, this is what i believe and it is not my job to educate people but rather have them vote blindly and through their trust in me. it is better for them to all vote in line with my opinion because in the end, regardless if they know what they were voting for, what ideals, we result in a better america in the end. is that my place, am i able to take an intellectual high ground for expedient means? the immediate answer to my mind was of course.

i looked around myself and i saw the trashiest and the most socially warped people i have ever seen. those that are utterly lost in a world of materialistic satisfaction and having it dictated to them. they are almost like the down syndrome zombie where what the intellectuals of the world know what is best for the country because we see it all around and we know what we want to fix.

i thought about it some more. i think i was dead wrong at that momment. there should not be any sort of intellectual high ground, no intellectual/moral superiority. for i do not know what is best for this country, i know what i think is best, and in any facsimile of a democracy, what's best for the country is voiced by its people, all of its people. those people that i have developed a pretty snobby disdain for, this is their america as much as it is mine. i very much believe that abortion is the right of a mother to choose, it is entirely in her hands, for if it is not we put the pretense that we know what is best without having any knowledge of it. but, my opinion is no better than those of faith or those of some other principle that believe in pro-life. i do not want to straddle the fence on any issue, and if we debate i will give you my beliefs, but in the end, it is a collection of these beliefs, varied across the board that should dictate where our countries policies ultimately lead, because it will reflect the idealism and the beliefs of our citizens. this is how i think it should be, i make no reference back to a world dominated by underhanded political tactics utilized by the left and the right, the obvious control of democracy by those that we trust to represent us in the upper echelons of power. but as for intellectual superiority governing politics, i think we must remember that it is not we the privileged few to determine direction, but it is the entirety of all of us, all citizens that live life, have our fears, have our dreams, have our ideals, have our ethics, and have our faith to weigh in on what is best for us. us not the privileged few, but us, the constituents of the entire country.

on the other hand, i would love for people to decide and come to conclusions for themselves, but it is also pretty obvious that most of the nation is too lazy too. how do you think we perpetuate such common themes in the 2004 election such as, "kerry is a flip flopper, bush is stupid" while i think if you examined them, both are untrue, but that is what repetition has done, made it true in the eyes and ears of those who are unwilling to discover for themselves.

also. fuck rush limbaugh, what kind of political and personal integrity does he have? upon release of the NASA kerry photos of kerry + graham, etc etc. he said that the blue containment suit kerry was wearing ....
"Did you see this picture of Kerry down at Cape Canaveral? This is worse than Dukakis and the helmet. Kerry looks like a sperm. When I saw this, I thought a sperm was swimming up a uterus. "

excellence in broadcasting? i don't think so rush limbaugh. you truly are a big fat idiot.