The political landscape as it is right now is incredibly decisive and, at times, completely hopeless. No matter what camp you’re in, the general belief is that only your candidate has the right answers despite any evidence to the contrary. We are not here to officially endorse any candidate, but we will say that you need to get out and vote. Our hope is that whomever you chose, you make an educated decision. The reason we are even delving into politics is because of a recent video for the Bernie Sanders campaign featuring Diplo’s track Revolution.
This track is almost a godsend to the Sanders campaign. The words ring true for the platform that Sanders is campaigning on: A political revolution. And this is not the first time that a famous artist’s song has been used to rally a party’s base or encourage action from the voting masses. There have been hundreds of other tracks used in political propaganda. There was even a campaign video in which popular artists and musicians joined together to sing a speech made by Barack Obama back in 2008.
The importance of this is that in any case, music has often been the caveat that leads the young people of our country to start paying attention. The power of celebrity is a real force because young people often don’t listen to politicians; they listen to the people they admire most.
There is an amazing organization that exemplifies that effort perfectly: Rock The Vote. The youngest generation of voters probably doesn’t remember the Rock The Vote campaign that began in the 1990s … and most might not know that it still exists today. In their campaign, Rock The Vote encourages its audience to participate in the political process by using musicians & celebrities as spokespeople for democracy. Incidentally, they’re also one of the largest non-partisan/non-profit political groups in the country, and have never aligned themselves with a political party, or told their audience who to vote for.
“Rock The Vote’s platform is to mobilize the millennial voting bloc and the youth vote, protect voting rights and advocate for an electoral process and voting system that works for the 21st century electorate.”
Rock The Vote is still active today, and boasts many supporters in the music industry, albeit with a presence that isn’t nearly as pervasive as it was in the 90s. Although with young voter turnout still in dire need of improvement, the organization finds itself in a place where it’s still incredibly important. Now especially, it’s been difficult getting the millennials to participate in the democratic process.
Voting is always the key component to any democratic process. Celebrities themselves have even started similar organizations to get young people to vote. Sean “Puffy/P. Diddy” Combs started his own organization called Citizen Change. Citizen Change is an organization similar to Rock The Vote in that its goal is to get young people to vote. Their slogan, “Vote Or Die” was emblazoned on t-shirts and billboards in 2006 and was resurrected during the Democratic National Convention of 2012. It is important to note however that Citizen Change has been inactive as of recently but has not been disbanded. The downturn of activity from the organization is the result of negative criticism of their slogan and the somewhat aggressive nature of that campaign.
There are many other ways that music influences politics. We at DMNW have been actively lobbying politicians in the Seattle City Council for serious Harm Reduction legislation. Our mission: To promote common sense harm reduction methods, and eventually, to amend the RAVE Act. If you want to know more about what we are doing and how you can get involved, head to our Rave 101 page and take a look around.
As we said before, we are not here to tell you who to vote for, but we will tell you to get out there and vote. Your political power is far more important than you think. We could potentially be deciding what our lives are going to be like in the far future. Future you may thank you, or resent you: The choice is yours.