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Gabe Saporta
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deMOCKcracy Why it was important for Midtown to Rock Against Bush

I got involved with Rock Against Bush, because I always felt like music should foster new ideas and be an impetus for change. If there was only the music side, I would have never become as passionate about it as I did. Since the beginning, we've used music to promote issues such as animal rights, but despite having strong political beliefs ourselves, we stayed away from governmental politics. However, this year is so important, that when Anti-Flag asked us to do the tour, we were there.

I am completely disillusioned by the American political system, and I therefore completely understand voter apathy. Candidates are all full of shit and they're all supported by (and therefore responsible to) private interests. No one has any heart or realness to him or her. The other problem is that the political process falls into a vicious cycle with the media. The media is more interested in sensationalist sound-bites than in really reporting the issues. In turn, candidates play into the media's need for sensationalism and ratings.

To me, it always felt like a big joke without any real change, like you're voting for one corporation as opposed to another, like choosing Pepsi instead of Coke. But when I saw Fahrenheit 9/11, I realized how much bigger the problem really is. It's no longer an issue of having heartless hacks in office who do the minimal to appease their constituents. And even this administration's atrocious policies and utter lack of diplomacy are not what motivated me. The thing that really disturbs me is just how far the deception runs. With total disregard for the boundaries of reality, this administration has continuously, compulsively and collectively distorted the truth, lied to the public and manipulated us psychologically. Now, I'm used to politicians being full of shit--saying they're going to clean up this or that river and never following through (until, of course, some millionaire developer wants to build condos on the waterfront)--but never could I have imagined that a president would deceive an entire nation and use psychological scare tactics in order to legitimize a war. We've become so desensitized to what we see on TV that we forget how horrible
war really is. We forget that thousands are being KILLED. That lives and
families and homes are destroyed at the drop of a dime. So maybe we forget that war should only be used as a last resort: when all other attempts at diplomacy fail, when a nation is under attack and must defend itself, when a people are being systematically murdered and need assistance.

The fact that Saddam Hussein is a ruthless dictator is not reason enough to usurp his country and sacrifice thousands of people's lives in the process. We all understand that. And that's why the administration had to deceive the public into thinking we were really at threat from Iraq in order to gain our support for the invasion. It's appalling and revolting. I expect to be lied to about little things, but when the entire fabric of our reality is distorted, and when we as a people are collectively manipulated; it is time to take a stand. This isn't a battle for this policy or that policy--it's a battle for our minds. When the notion of Iraq as a threat was first presented, I unfortunately bought into it along with the rest of the American public. But after all the lies, inconsistencies, and conflicts-of-interest were revealed, I became enraged. Not only at those who lied to me, but at myself for being blind and apathetic. I know others have had a similar experience. It would be nice to see people politically involved because they believe in the political process and want to have a hand in shaping the future of their country. Half of me believes that and half of me thinks its bullshit. I think that the major issue we face as a nation isn't that people don't vote, but rather, that we have no truths. It’s hard to believe anything in modern society because the things we know as true seem to change and shift constantly. This in turn throws our collective psyche into a constant state of neurosis and agitation. In order for us to really institute positive change in the world, we first need
to look within, and gain a deeper understanding of ourselves. Maybe if some of
us (ahem!) were more comfortable with who we were, we wouldn't feel the
need (ahem) to act out boyhood cowboy fantasies (ahem!) while holding public office (ahem!).

Underground music should always go hand in hand with new ideas. That's what makes people passionate about music. That's what gives it power, and differentiates it from the bullshit that's available in the mainstream. Our scene survives not on one particular style of music, but rather on a shared spirit of discourse and debate. This scene is the place where new ideas are formed, introduced and discussed. Not all those ideas need to be preachy, and not all of them need to be political. Bands that spread ideas that make people look within, or ask questions that lead to realizations about the world, are just as worthwhile as bands that speak about overthrowing the government, sometimes, in light of clichéd rhetoric, even more worthwhile. Though they need not be immediately available in the lyrics, it is crucial for a band to use its position in the public to help spread new ideas. And not just for the sake of a personal ideology--but rather for the sake of the process of discourse
in the pursuit of truth.

The last four years in American politics have if anything reinforced my fears. Punkvoter.com has started to restore my faith that the American political
system might be restored . . . at least a little.

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