US Election: Should Musicians Weigh In On Politics?

Famous guitarists have been vocal about their choices   06-Nov-12

US Election: Should Musicians Weigh In On Politics?
Dave Grohl sporting his 'I Voted' badge // Rights Reserved // Facebook/Sound City Movie

There's a famous adage which claims that sport and politics should never mix. But music and politics on the other hand are historically intertwined, with the guitar and microphone acting as two of the best weapons for getting a message across (just ask Neil Young).

The press coverage of the 2012 US Election has been as much about which celebrities are backing which candidate than it has been about policy, predictions and politics.

Many of these celebrities are famous guitarists, with fans not only in the US, but also abroad. Tom Morello has been vocal in his opinions about the Republican running mates, and Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry recently came out and said that he was an 'old-school Republican'.

As well as potentially alienating fans who may have a different political view to their heroes, such public statements about politics could also be a turn off for those who just don't care about politics, and just care about the music.

Another consideration is the fact that many fans of guitarists such as Tom Morello and Joe Perry will probably be too young to vote in the Presidential election, is it responsible for public icons, famous for their musical offerings, to send political messages to youngsters who might well hang on their every word without consideration for what a particular party stands for?

Galvanising children to take an interest in politics is a surefire way to safeguard future democracy in America, and many celebrities have taken part in the 'Vote 4 Stuff' campaign, which is a non-partisan initiative designed to promote the act of voting.

Indeed, Slash has been sending messages to his Facebook followers reminding them to vote, and mentioning that he has voted (but not indicating who he voted for). Dave Grohl has also encouraged his fans to get out there and vote, no matter who they vote for.

If the true nature of democracy is to make an informed choice, then encouraging first-time voters or youngsters to take an interest in the democratic system is probably the best way to do things. Allow people to make a choice, but urge them to make one all the same, based on what they think is best.

Of course, that is based in an ideal situation without propaganda from both parties in every corner of the press. However, famous guitarists are right to seize the opportunity to get people involved in making a choice, but they should leave the politics to the politicians, and get back to playing guitar.


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Amped Editor



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