Protest: Brian Chase of Yeah Yeah Yeahs on Why You Should Vote in Next Week's Midterm Elections | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Protest: Brian Chase of Yeah Yeah Yeahs on Why You Should Vote in Next Week’s Midterm Elections

Vote Next Tuesday, November 6

Nov 02, 2018 Brian Chase
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In the 2014 midterm elections just 37% of eligible voters turned out, making it the lowest midterm turnout in 70 years. After months of campaigning, the 2018 midterms are finally next Tuesday (November 6). For those who stand against President Trump, this is a crucial election (equally so for those who stand with him). It could be the most important midterm elections in a generation or more. To help motivate our American readers to get out to the voting booth next week, we’ve asked some musicians to share words of encouragement. In this piece, Brian Chase of Yeah Yeah Yeahs writes impassionedly about why you need to vote next week.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs formed in 2000 and became emblematic of the exciting New York City rock scene at the start of the millennium. The band have released four albums, their most recent one being 2013’s Mosquito. Chase has kept busy since then and this year alone he released two albums: solo album Drums & Drones II and Untitled: After, a collaborative free jazz album with saxophonist Catherine Sikora and released on Chase’s own Chaikin Records.


This country is divided more than ever in our lifetime and if there was a time for Democracy to truly be put into action then it is now. There is no better moment for the voice of the people to speak up. In regards to this upcoming midterm election let the noble voices of truth and wisdom be heard and let the belligerent whining of ignorance and greed be exposed. As a response to negativity, if anyone feels fed up or disgusted by the current state of affairs then now’s the chance to express and participate; similarly, if anyone feels it is important to cast a ballot for dignity and virtue then now is also the chance. Do not be dissuaded.

America has such horrible karma to clear. Sexism, racism, xenophobia, homophobia, religious extremism… these appalling human rights violations as historical and social tendencies have persisted to this day; a pervasive ethos of greed and materialism sanctions exploitation and humiliation. How as a country are we to progress inhibited by such obstacles? The last election was a turning point, and, unfortunately, the dark side of America’s karma was given the upper hand. This means it’s time to go about this the hard way in the pursuit of social justice and universal accord. There will be confrontation, and now is most definitely the time to speak up and let voices be heard. I am sincerely distraught from the damage and suffering that has occurred over the past two years and what may yet be to come; already there is beyond too much. In these midterm elections it is mandatory to bring some hope for light and peace in the political landscape.

Politics does not exist for purposes of ideology or partisan values. So, what then is the point? Is it the subjugation of one peoples over another, of one race over another, of one sex over another, of one sexual preference over another, of one religion over another, of one social class over another, one community over another? The history of humankind has shown that this is fraught with disaster and prolonged suffering. What prevails? Fearfear of losing identity, fear of losing power, fear of embracing loving-kindness, fear of embracing charity, fear of embracing change… But, life as a whole moves on, and, unfortunately for those underexposed to the ways of the world, the old adage tells us that the only constant is change. The future will continue along its pathwhether technological, social, or individualand it can either be embraced or clutched against with fingernails digging into its sides. The ironic thing about change, though, is that as much things change, the core principles of humanity remain exactly the same. It doesn’t matter if we are dealing with the 15th century, current times, or whatever exists in the futurepeople are still people. America is at the crux of this crucial time in history, a moment when the global community is at our fingertips and information travels and grows faster than ever, yet there is so much resistance and fear to guide change in a constructive and healthy way. Motivations of greed, power, and corruption add fuel to this fire and now it feels like America is burning.

As a musician, one of the most amazing things is when I see my audience during a performance. From the perspective of the stage, generally speaking, the audience looks like one giant mass. When I see the audience, what I see is a collective totality of individuals dissolved into one another-I don’t see gay, I don’t see straight, I don’t see female, I don’t see male, I don’t see race, I don’t see nationality, I don’t see religion, I don’t see age. They are all concertgoers there for the same thing: the love of the music. It is my place to bring the LOVE of music to the audience. In the end, we are all there for the same purpose: love. Ideally, national and global politics will function along this similar line, and the more readily people are willing to let down their walls then the quicker there will be harmony and prosperity for all. What happens then is coexistence: people will live together in both their differences and similarities, a universal accord. The way of the world is meant to function in this way, yet it is consistently threatened by toxic politics which allow for hate, greed, and deception to thrive. At this stage, it is for people to speak their voice out of respect for this ideal of universal accord. Like Moses said repeatedly to Pharaoh in the biblical story of the Exodus, “Let my people go,” and then allowed for Universal Will to do its part. What this teaches is that if there is no voice of expression to speak up in the first place then there will be no hope for justice to follow.

Find your polling place here.

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