There are three pretty major events happening in the next two weeks – Halloween, Fest 15 and the presidential election. Regardless if you are voting for Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Gary Johnson, Jill Stein or Evan McMullin I think that we can all agree that this has been one of the most tumultuous presidential elections cycles in our lifetimes and perhaps ever in US history. So because Fest 15 is just about a week before the election we had members of bands playing the event answer this one purposely broad question about it and provide their favorite political punk rock song:

From the campaign announcements through the end of the primaries, and now just a week before we elect a new president of the United States, what are your overall thoughts on the 2016 election cycle?

The bands answered:

Max of Hard Girls:

Terrifying!

Jose of MakeWar:

I that this election proves that we still have to fight.  Fight against a misogynist, xenophobic, homophobic, pathological narcissist and bigot who’s base is everything punk and common decency stand against.  Fight against apathy and nihilism.  Fight against the privilege of not participating because deportation and the right to make choices about your body won’t affect you.  Ask ourselves, “who stands to benefit from my disengagement in this process?”  At the end of the day, you can’t opt out.  You don’t like the two party system?  Change it.  Maybe the fight has just begun or maybe everyone should stay off the internet for a while.

Brian of Night Birds:

I feel like Roddy Piper when he puts on the Hoffman Lenses in THEY LIVE. Trump has cast a light on all these racist, xenophobe, nazi, shit heads and I’ve been keeping tabs so I can TP all of their yards and egg their houses on Halloween… then go back to slowly dying inside.

Tim of Elway:

I defer to George Carlin: “I frankly don’t give a fuck how it all turns out in this country or anywhere else for that matter. I think the human game was up a long time ago when the high priests and traders took over, and now we’re just playing out the string. And that is of course precisely what I find so amusing! The slow circling of the drain by a once promising species and the sappy ever more desperate belief in this country that there is actually some sort of an “American Dream” which has merely been misplaced.

The decay and disintegration of this culture is astonishingly amusing if you’re emotionally detached from it. And I’ve always viewed it from a safe distance, knowing I don’t belong. Doesn’t include me, it never has. No matter how you care to define it, I do not identify with the local group, planet, species, race, nation, state, religion, party, union, club, association, neighborhood-improvement committee. I have no interest in any of it.

I love and treasure individuals as I meet them, I loathe and despise the groups they identify with and belong to.

So if you hear something in this book that sounds like advocacy of a particular political point of view, please reject the notion. My interest in issues is merely to point out how badly we’re doing, not to suggest a way we might do better.

Don’t confuse me with those who cling to hope. I enjoy describing how things are, I have no interest in how they ought to be. And I certainly have no interest in fixing them. I sincerely believe that if you think there’s a solution, you’re part of the problem.”

Mike of Hard Girls:

I can’t wait until this goddamn election is over!

John of Off With Their Heads:

I know when you think to yourself about the state of the world, the election cycle, this country’s future, etc. that the first thought in your head is “I wonder what the old brain trust over at OFF WITH THEIR HEADS thinks?” Well, you’re in luck. Listen, I know this band does not wax on philosophically about politics often. I know we are often as subtle as a sledgehammer. I know we are kinda dumb. And listen, we also get it…Hillary Clinton is a career politician who will yada yada, and same old-same old us just like every other politician has for years. Hawkish, out of touch, and of questionable motives. Got it. But here’s the thing guys and gals…fuck Donald Trump.

It’s hard to pinpoint what is the scariest, most basely offensive aspect of this wicked piece of shit. His racism? His sexism/misogyny? His textbook narcissism? The fact that the average American couldn’t have passed basic junior high school Civics classes with the amount of knowledge that this shit stain in a suit has? Hey, don’t get me wrong…all good points. But starting at the top of the list and working my way down, I’d have to say what scares me the most is the phrase “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN”.

We are not particularly chest thumping patriots. We don’t care if you burn a flag or don’t stand for the pledge or anthem or theme song or whatever. But I can tell you from experience there are a lot of great things here in this shit hole, and if you travel the world for just a little bit, I guarantee you’ll come home to appreciate what you have here a little more. It’s not perfect, but it’s home.

However, let’s not forget that this country was, and in many ways still is, built on a series of barbaric practices and philosophies. Our history, and even our recent history, has been soaked in the blood of africans, native americans, women and our LGBTQ community. This is a stain that won’t wash out. Come to terms with that. When Trump uses language suggesting this country was better “back then” what he is really talking about is back when we excluded, marginalized, and stepped over people deemed lesser than “us”. What he is doing is harkening back to this era when a woman was in the kitchen and a man was a man. A purely hyperbolic 1950s fever dream that never really existed. His rabid nationalistic stance that says “Foreigners did this. The poor did this. The minorities did this. What are us poor, PURE, (white) americans ever to do about it???” is at the very root of what really makes us as a country not all that “great”. It’s ok to love your home. It’s ok to exhibit some degree of pride in the place of your birth. But never at the expense or through the suffering of someone else. Building walls, laying blame at the feet of others, and hiding behind flags and patriotism aren’t gonna make this place, its future history, us as a people, “great”.

“We draw lines, stand behind them. That’s why flags are such ugly things that they should never touch the ground.” – FUGAZI

There were a lot of bands that I listened to growing up that lyrically did battle with the establishment. Some very direct in their message, some subtle. Both approaches I appreciate, but it was when I first heard FUGAZI that I found a band that somehow did both. I chose the song “Facet Squared” off the record “In On The Kill Taker” because I think it sums up my point pretty well. Flags are just things made of cloth. We shouldn’t be stepping on the backs of others in some mindless parade of image worship and nationalistic pride out of the fear that we aren’t “great” anymore. Maybe we never were. Maybe being “great” isn’t all that important after all. Maybe start with making this place a little kinder first, and the we can work on being “great”.

Nick of A Wilhelm Scream:

In my term as President of A Wilhelm Scream Tours and Wail City Percussion I have seen some serious shit. If elected president of the fest I will do everything in my power to make some positive changes. I will change all the PBR kegs into a beer that does not give you a massive hang over. I will knock down at least one wall at every venue, so there will be no lines to see the band you showed up last minute for. I will provide a rickshaw service that will be operated weed dealers. All shows will be BYOB. Free sex will be provided for all Virgins. There will be designated nap areas for all you people that went too hard too early. With these ideas, along with some other crazy shit I will come up with on the fly, I will make fest great again. Don’t vote for some other dip shit that will make crazy promises, and stink up the room with his dog hair breath and Wopper thumbs. Thanks!

Rev of Success:

It’s a rough time for America. I’m proud to be an American, but embarrassed as hell of this election. Unfortunately, the power isn’t in the hands of the people anymore. It’s in the hands of the rich people. We don’t have a say in the election process anymore. But with that said, I still believe we can turn everything around and gain power back. It’s just going to take some huge changes over time.

PEARS:

These things are always awful, but seriously who let the spoiled Benjamin Button bigot toddler run for President? He’s like Sid from toy story if the character was a big tan wrinkle that had the hots for his daughter. Look at the people positions of power attract. Inherently a problem. Hoping his failure and the utter humiliation of the Republican Party in its wake are the catalysts of retiring some of the more archaic mainstream conservative tenets, but what do I know? From a different era, still relevant:

Jorge & Marco of DFMK:

In Mexico, our past presidential elections were held in 2012 and was kind of similar to this year’s US Presidential elections, in the sense that we had a leftist political candidate, the conservative side had their own candidate, the absurd right political side had their own puppet, also there was a candidate from a millennial hipster political party trying to appeal to young people (in Mexico there are several political parties that have their own candidate that can run for President). It was run the same way, media had a huge influence in it and Enrique Peña Nieto (PRI party), was unquestionably the candidate for the biggest media conglomerate in Latin America, Televisa. A candidate with absolutely no intelligent arguments whatsoever and that meant a return to a corrupt and retrograde political state which the PRI party we’re making a comeback to power, they lost the presidential elections in 2000 for the first time in 70 years and in 2012 they were coming in full force, but still, you knew that the PRI candidate, who was viewed by the media as the “handsome” candidate, was going to win all the way.

It seems that every time that they put a stupid social figure or famous actor as a candidate the important part is that they want you to repeat his name every time you can. That’s a very clever and yet old school political strategy that always works, because in language is where you interact with your reality. Dogs have their sense of smell and hearing, humans have language. So when Trump, was put as a candidate we knew that making controversial statements and the media covering every inch of them, was the main goal. When he talks about Mexicans and building a wall, it’s something that a part of the US wants to hear, because there is still some hidden racial and superiority issues in American culture. And about Mexico paying for the wall, yeah, good luck with that, it doesn’t make any sense. First of all, we do not have the money. The peso is way devalued against the dollar and we’re still in debt with the US for more than 100 million dollars. Did you forget that? And if they build a higher wall, people will find a way to jump it or go underneath it! [Laughs] ‘Cause it’s in our blood, you know.

Some of us have a political statement of indifference. We rather not talk about it or make a naked Trump statue or make FU songs about him, because we want to avoid being within their strategy on talking about it, because that’s what they want us to do, so some of us prefer nihilism. But some of us do need to start a conversation and talk about the bullshit and make jokes about it, because it is important to get these type of topics out there.
However, we are aware that this election is crucial for the United States, because they can stay and continue with the same political situation from the last 8 years and continue with business as usual or they can select a complete self-absorbed delusional loon that everybody knows is looking out for number 1, himself, a complete misogynist / racist that is out of touch with the common people, a real danger for the world.

But hey… the world is going down the toilet anyways, so why not embrace decadence, right? Nevertheless, a lot of you have a choice either way, if you’re going to vote, please choose wisely. PEACE.

Matt of Caskitt:

The 2016 election and preceding campaigns have been monumental. We had a GOP lineup of candidates that easily could’ve and should’ve been made into a reality show rivalling MTV’s Teen Mom. Then you have the Democratic nominee, the ONLY nominee, Hillary Clinton. Which isn’t completely out of the ordinary to have a front runner, but it felt like the Democrats went “No, no, no, no. We know what’s best for you and America. Just sit back and let us decide. OK?”. It felt belittling. Then, for the first time at least since Ralph Nader, the 3rd party candidates really seemed to have a fighting chance. Bernie Sanders offered logic, reason, and transparency to an election cycle riddled with obvious corruption. He captured the hearts of young people as well as swaying older, liberal conservatives too smart to vote for Donald Trump but unwilling to vote for another Clinton. Sanders became the only reasonable choice for POTUS and it broke so many people’s hearts to see him drop out and endorse Hillary. Her wallet ran deeper than his, and it became evident corporate money owns our elections. Driving the caboose of the election, creating much needed voting options (if only for our sanity), is Jill Stein and Gary Johnson. Stein representing the absolute left (as she always has) and Johnson representing an anti-racist, rational right, since Trump is a clear- and-present danger to society, The United States, and Planet Earth.

Tuesday November 8th, 2016 will be a nail biter. Will we have the First Woman President of The United States? Or will we have allowed the silent majority of closet-racist-conservative-Americans vote a sociopathic-bigot into office and lead our country?

Morgan of Hard Girls:

Scary shit! Make Peace & Love not Hate & War!

Seth of Arms Aloft:

The most inspiring political punk band, to me, has always been Propagandhi. Hardly my unique take, but undeniable. When I was younger, “Today’s Empires, Tomorrow’s Ashes” and specifically the title track, convinced me that a punk band should actually feel compelled to write political music. Any punk band worth it’s weight in jean shorts knows The Rules say you have to include a vaguely politicized song on every record, but usually it’s hidden in vaguely left-leaning sloganeering or ham-fisted cliches. Not far removed from “We’re not gonna take it”.

There’s something super vital and super thrilling about how plainly radical Chris’s lyrics are. If there’s poetic language there, it’s because he’s a good writer. Not because he’s trying to dress up the issue at hand or make anything easier to digest. So that’s something I guess I find myself aspiring to when I write.

As for 2016 (to use some of that plain language): Fuck both of these goblins and the parties they represent. The 2 party system absolutely has to be dismantled or we’ll keep treading whatever water the capitalists let us float in, forever. Or I suppose until the planet cooks us. If there’s one thing that was inspiring about this election it was that socialist and leftist rhetoric is no longer taboo in mainstream American politics. Shoutout to Senator Sanders. But other than that? Just another shining example of what our watered-down, pragmatic old system buys us. This time with real fascists! Oh boy!

BONUS! Mike Odd, manager of Mac Sabbath talks Halloween:

Halloween has always been my favorite holiday by leaps and bounds, in a way that it runs so personal and deep into all facets of my life, but no one puts the deep feeling for us “everyday is Halloween” folks better then Jello Biafra (with an honorable mention to Ministry for letting me borrow that phrase of course). “Halloween” by the Dead Kennedys perfectly illustrates the feelings we have about expressing ourselves as individuals and the feelings we weirdos have about the individuals that don’t. How social regulations have most of us so pent up that we wait around all year for that one night that it’s ok to be whatever the hell we want with no societal restrictions and to strip away all inhibitions with a special hall pass to do it behind a mask. Calling us all out and challenging us to try to reach this goal on a daily basis. “Why not every day, why are you so afraid? What will people say?

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