July 15, 2024

5 On It: Power to the People

So here we are, in January 2020 — an election year — staring down the barrel of our poor choices that have created a fucking mess of our country’s political leadership. What a time to be alive! We’ve got a president who is guilty of so many more nasty, potentially illegal things than abuse of power and obstruction of Congress regarding one situation created by his own idiocy and narcissism. We’ve got a Congress that seems to be solely focused on their power struggle over each other. Nothing useful is being accomplished. As a matter of fact, bad shit is happening. For instance, our government has instituted rules that are making it harder for people to qualify for food stamps. God forbid we give someone who needs help roughly $127 a month to feed themselves. And who knows what the hell is happening with our immigrant detention center/POW camp situation. Did everyone stop caring about that? But I digress.

I’m not really sure how we can get ourselves out of the three-ring circus we’ve allowed to be built around us. I’m not someone who thinks electing Democrats will solve all our problems. Electing more Republicans won’t either. If we keep alienating each other, it won’t matter who we elect because we’ll end up slitting each other’s throats. Maybe, though, if we just drop our bullshit, treat each other like human beings, and work together…I’m not sure where we’ll end up, but it has to be better than the here and now.

It still does matter who gets elected. Not based on their party, but more so on their desire to get things done that actually build up and benefit the people they serve. Here are five songs that can help us get through this election cycle with a little psychic resistance and just maybe help us find a way to stop sucking.

Beyonce, “Irreplaceable”

Congratulations, Beyonce — you produced the perfect 2020 Democratic political rally anthem 14 years ahead of schedule. Maybe you didn’t mean to write it that way (or maybe you did ILLUMINATI), but either way let me break this down for y’all. Trump is being put on notice that everything he owns needs to go “in the box to the left,” leaving behind all the stuff we the people have provided to make his cushy life even cushier. We’ve heard about all the chicks who’s pussies he was grabbing. And you know if by some miracle Trump is not re-elected, he will definitely be standing on the front lawn of the White House yell Tweeting about how we are all fools and that we’ll never find a man like him again. Well, I hope to God we don’t.

“You must not know ’bout me
You must not know ’bout me
I’ll have another you by tomorrow
So don’t you ever for a second
Get to thinking you’re irreplaceable”

Tori Amos, “Up The Creek”

In her last album, Native Invader, Tori continued to fight back against the political “powers that be.” “The songs on Native Invader are being pushed by the Muses to find different ways of facing unforeseen challenges and in some cases dangerous conflicts,” Tori said when announcing the album. “The record looks to Nature and how, through resilience, she heals herself. The songs also wrestle with the question: what is our part in the destruction of our land, as well as ourselves, and in our relationships with each other?”

We all have a part to play here. Let’s get to it.

“Good Lord willing and the creek don’t rise/ we may just survive / if the Militia of the Mind/ arm against those climate blind”

Bjork, “Declare Independence”

Apparently Bjork didn’t mean to write this song as a wake-up call to freedom, but even she ended up using it as several times in encouraging people from different occupied countries around the world to “declare independence” from those who would hold them back. It’s very motivating.

“Damn colonists
Ignore their patronizing
Tear off their blindfolds
Open their eyes

Declare independence
Don’t let them do that to you”

Arcade Fire ft. Mavis Staples, “I Give You Power”

A strong protest song with a simple, but effective message: “I give you power, I can take it away.” Mavis ends up practically hissing her refrain and it gives me life. This unofficial video for the song is actually pretty cool, too, with footage shot in Washington DC in the weeks surrounding Trump’s election.

Eurythmics, “Would I Lie to You?”

All politicians lie. It’s kind of their schtick. For example, Trump’s average is slightly more than 13 lies per day since inauguration. But the thing that defines a lie is the fact that you know what the truth is, and I’m not convinced people like him do, in many cases. Or care. They honestly could think it’s all the truth, which in my mind is even worse. Bottom line — it’s up to us to sort through all the crap information thrown at us every single day to figure out what’s right and try to forge a new path forward. I feel like Annie Lennox is singing this very 80s tune right to our 21st century hearts, giving her slightly sarcastic refrain, “Would I lie to you?” more meaning in the context of trying to “pack our bags” and rid ourselves of politicians who can’t get over themselves long enough to get it together for us.

“Tell you straight, no intervention.
To your face, no deception.
You’re the biggest fake.
That much is true.
Had all I can take.
Now I’m leaving you”

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Sylvia June 27 Articles
Staff Writer

I'm Vee. I live in a cute little house with my cats. I grew up in Northwest Iowa and graduated from Iowa State (where, btw, I first met the notorious Ted Flint over a game of flip cup). Other totally random facts about me: I like goats and I am turned on when people make literary references in everyday conversation.

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