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wonders never cease Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Seventeen Songs For Serious Citizens

Whew! Election Day has come and gone and we’re all still here, it seems. The nationwide barrage of horrifying ads and negativity had us terrified that the country was going over a cliff last night. As a whole, the nation spent between 3.5 to 6.5 billion dollars to convince two thirds of eligible voters to stay home, keep their doors and windows locked and save their votes for safer times. It really gives new meaning to the term “dark money,” doesn’t it? Many of us in DC braved the mild weather and weaved through the masses of placard waving partisans to elect a new mayor and some other important people. While we’re sure that our blogged exhortation to go and vote had as much to do with good turnout as the balmy weather and strong candidates, we ask that you forgive us our delusions of grandeur, if you will. As promised in said exhortation, here is the weekly play list, dedicated to all of you wonderful citizens who exercised the rights that our forefathers fought and died for. Whether your candidate came in first or fifth, we want you to know that we think you’re a winner just for playing the game. Congratulations to the victors, better luck next time to the also-rans. For those of you who stayed home, there’s another election in two years. Make sure to vote then. It's nice, and they give you a sticker when you're finished, just like in pre-school. Enjoy the tunes, one and all.

1. V.O.T.E. – Chris Stamey with Yo La Tengo
“If you are bored and disgusted by politics and don't bother to vote, you are in effect voting for the entrenched establishments of the two major parties, who please rest assured are not dumb, and who are keenly aware that it is in their interests to keep you disgusted and bored and cynical and to give you every possible reason to stay at home doing one-hitters and watching MTV on primary day. By all means stay home if you want, but don't bullshit yourself that you're not voting. In reality, there is no such thing as not voting: you either vote by voting, or you vote by staying home and tacitly doubling the value of some diehard's vote.”
- David Foster Wallace, Up, Simba!

2. Democracy – Leonard Cohen
“Every election is a sort of advance auction sale of stolen goods.”
- H. L. Mencken

3. Election Day – The Replacements
“Winning the election is a good-news, bad-news kind of thing. Okay, now you're the mayor. The bad news is, now you're the mayor.”
- Clint Eastwood

4. The Revolution Will Not Be Televised – Gil Scott-Heron
“Elections belong to the people. It's their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters.”
- Abraham Lincoln

5. Ballad Of A Politician – Regina Spektor
“I got involved because I wanted to help inspire more people to get off their butts and register and vote - not just in this election, but in every other election from now on, you know?”
- Jello Biafra

6. Electioneering - Radiohead
“Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.'”
- Isaac Asimov

7. Christ For President – Billy Bragg and Wilco
“Sooner will a camel pass through a needle's eye than a great man be 'discovered' by an election.”
- Adolf Hitler

8. Vote Baby Vote – Deee-Lite
“All voting is a sort of gaming, like checkers or back gammon, with a slight moral tinge to it, a playing with right and wrong, with moral questions; and betting naturally accompanies it. The character of the voters is not staked. I cast my vote, perchance, as I think right; but I am not vitally concerned that that right should prevail. I am willing to leave it to the majority. Its obligation, therefore, never exceeds that of expediency. Even voting for the right is doing nothing for it. It is only expressing to men feebly your desire that it should prevail. A wise man will not leave the right to the mercy of chance, nor wish it to prevail through the power of the majority.”
- Henry David Thoreau, “On the Duty of Civil Disobedience”

9. Mr. President (Have Pity on the Working Man) – Randy Newman
“Popularity should be no scale for the election of politicians. If it would depend on popularity, Donald Duck and The Muppets would take seats in senate.”
- Orson Welles

10. Election Night – Bic Runga
“We are told there is not enough money for education, but somehow there is enough money for people to raise billions of dollars to defeat somebody in an election? Oh! Okay! Does that make sense?”
- Phylicia Rashad

11. Vote For Me Dummy – Guided By Voices
“The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.”
- Winston S. Churchill

12. Ball of Confusion – Love and Rockets
“At every election, my vote goes to the candidate less likely to declare war. You're dropping hugely expensive pieces of exploding metal on a population. America deserves the president it gets, whether the country votes for them or allows their vote to be stolen, and the least we can do is to elect someone who won't do that to other people.”
- Ian MacKaye

13. This Land Is Your Land – Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings
“The values that I have are the values I was raised with, from where I'm from, which is a middle-class place. So that informs everything about me, my politics and all that stuff. I mean, politically, I vote against my own self-interest at every election. I actively ask these people to raise my taxes.”
- Matt Damon

14. Elected  – Alice Cooper
“I'll be glad to reply to or dodge your questions, depending on what I think will help our election most.”
- George H. W. Bush

15. Vote For Mister Rhythm – Ella Fitzgerald
“And, you know, politics aside, the success of Sarah Palin and women like her is good for all women - except, of course —those who will end up, you know, like, paying for their own rape ‘kit ‘n’ stuff, But for everybody else, it’s a win-win. Unless you’re a gay woman who wants to marry your partner of 20 years - whatever. But for most women, the success of conservative women is good for all of us. Unless you believe in evolution. You know - actually, I take it back. The whole thing’s a disaster.”
- Tina Fey

16. Election Day – Lyle Lovett
“It is enough that the people know there was an election. The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything.”
- Joseph Stalin

17. America The Beautiful – Ray Charles
“Democracy is not just the right to vote, it is the right to live in dignity.”
- Naomi Klein


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wonders never cease