Why I’m Voting for Biden: John Rossiter of Young Jesus | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Monday, November 23rd, 2020  

Why I’m Voting for Biden: John Rossiter of Young Jesus

“I really hope people take an interest in their local elections.”

Nov 03, 2020 By John Rossiter
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In anticipation of today’s election day, we put the word out to see if any musicians wanted to write about why they were voting for Former Vice President Joe Biden over President Donald Trump in a series we are simply calling Why I’m Voting for Biden. John Rossiter of Young Jesus wrote this entry. 

For those on the left, and the vast majority of the indie rock musicians we tend to cover are left leaning, this is very crucial election, especially as it’s one in the middle of a pandemic that has threatened their very livelihood, with touring put on hold until a vaccine is found and independent venues across America facing possible extinction. 

Young Jesus released a new album, Welcome to Conceptual Beach, in August via Saddle Creek. The band also features bassist Marcel Borbon, keyboardist Eric Shevrin, and drummer Kern Haug.

Visit vote.org or headcount.org to get information on your polling place or on mail in voting, and to find out what else might be on your ballot.

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This is a really interesting question. I really hope people take an interest in their local elections. It starts very small. For me, it’s even internal. If I punish myself for my every mistake, if I hate certain parts of myself, what am I going to extend to the rest of the world? How am I going to vote? I’m probably going to want to extend that reality that I feel inward to the rest of my community.

As a white man who grew up in a privileged suburb of Chicago, there’s clearly a real crisis with white men of a similar upbringing. In order to oppress everyone other than us, we have disconnected from our bodies and our emotions. Being sincere has always been hard for me, because irony helps obscure a real connection to an emotional, vulnerable self. I cut that off because to sincerely feel alongside those I have oppressed would be too much. I love my family, but it’s only recently that we’ve begun talking about whiteness and its relation to the cold, unfeeling tenor of our lives. I love my family specifically because they’re interested in these conversations.

So we fund all these systems to support our worldview. But it’s a worldview of cold rationality, anger, and punishment. We live so much in our minds. It took me quite awhile to see not just my own racism, misogyny, and homophobia, but to see an even deeper insecurity. I feel a lot of anger towards white people who I don’t agree with (i.e. Trump supporters). I’ve avoided such people out of my own fear. Will I be reminded of my own complicity? Will I be reminded of my own anger and confusion? Probably. But I’m finding it’s someone like me that can perhaps talk to other white men and get out of this loop. I’ve avoided it out of my own insecurity. Trying to be “good.”

I don’t see Joe Biden as a way out of that loop. When I hear Trump ask Biden, “Who built the cages?” I’d like to hear, “We did, and that was an unforgivable mistake and violation of human rights. But I hope we can honestly reckon with that wrongdoing and create an equitable future.” Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen, but Biden is the lesser of two evils, and the difference between him and Trump has massive material consequences in terms of people’s access to health care, unemployment, and the protection and repair of our environment. amongst many other things. I’m hoping that he, as someone who has experienced deep personal tragedy, will be something like an antiracist Franklin Roosevelt (a president whose experiences of pain opened him up to the pain (of some) of his constituents) rather than Bill Clinton. As far as a voter guide, I mostly align with Two Evils (or Tracy Jeanne Rosenthal) for LA and CA. And if I don’t agree, it’s explained in a way that’s clear and fun to read: https://tjr.xxx/content/two-evils-voter-guide-2020.pdf

www.youngjesusmusic.com

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