Opinion: Why GOP Candidates Should Support Indie Music
Friday, July 01, 2011 - 04:09 PM
Every campaign season, without fail, a Republican candidate or elected official is asked to stop playing some celebrity musician's music at their campaign appearances. It's a one-day story, liberals get to point and laugh while Conservatives get to feel bad about being arbitrarily hated.
The default position for famous people is to be liberal. When they're not, even when they hold an extremely mainstream position like being anti-Communist, it becomes something on note. It's the equivalent of running with the in-crowd. You might not know why you want to hang out with them, but everyone always does. The extent to which Conservatives are shunned in the celebrity world is shocking and embarrassing.
It's hard to be a big music fan and also a Conservative. I've been to dozens of shows where I felt uncomfortable because of the musician blathering onstage about his one-dimensional opinions. One time at a Bright Eyes show the singer Conor Oberst led the crowd in a chant "f*ck Fox News." I had a great moment when, at the end of the chant when the smallish venue had quieted, I yelled out "you're all sheep!" There were some jeers but lots of laughter too. I don't even watch Fox News, or any television news, I just hate being lectured to and having a music concert turned into a political propaganda performance.
I don't stop listening to musicians because of their outspoken opinions, though I've been known to roll my eyes and mock them, but it is annoying. When a musician asks a politician to stop using their music, despite the politician having purchased all the necessary licenses and rights to that music, it becomes a statement that those who don't think the same as the musician are not welcome. It's just mean and spiteful.
If I were a Republican politician, I wouldn't stand for it. I would not allow my campaign to pay for music by people who hate me. They shouldn't be rewarded for their behavior Republican candidates should seek out independent musicians who, at the very minimum, are sympathetic to their political perspective.
The truth is, and those of us obsessed with politics forget this, most people are not all that politically interested. Political apathy is rampant (and I don't think this is wrong - but that's another post) and the great majority of musicians will just want to have their music appreciated, no matter where they stand on taxes or abortion.
Republicans are the party of the entrepreneur, trying to get the government out of the way so the small businessman can succeed.
An unsigned musician is the entrepreneur of the music world, struggling against the tide to succeed. Republicans should look into supporting these independent musicians and not continuing to give money to the already-successful rock stars who don't appreciate it.
Born in the Soviet Union and raised in Brooklyn, Karol Markowicz is a public relations consultant in NYC and a veteran of Republican campaigns in four states. She blogs about politics at Alarming News and about life in the city with her husband and baby at 212 Baby. She can be followed on Twitter.