By Kris Kielich
It’s no secret that there’s a great deal of anger, fear, and outrage over Donald Trump’s first few weeks in office. If you’re like me, every day seems worse than the next and it’s hard to escape the anxiety and the feeling that the world is approaching impending doom. Now I’m an optimist, so I choose to think that when these four years are up, we’ll look back on this time as a past nightmare. Still a nightmare, but one that hopefully will be slowly and surely repaired in years and future administrations to come. But for now, we must resist and show that the majority of Americans will not be controlled and coerced into bigotry, hatred, believing “alternative facts,” or supporting policies and laws that hurt others and ourselves. So it’s time to get angry. However, this is by no means a promotion of violent protest. Protest is most effective, patriotic, and American when it’s peaceful. This is just to get you fired up to get out there and make a change. Here are five songs to get you there.
5. "Capital G" – Nine Inch Nails
“Don’t try to tell me that some power can corrupt a person. You haven’t had enough to know what it’s like.”
Okay so really the entirety of Nine Inch Nails’ “Year Zero” album just became a thousand times more relevant and timely and you should listen to this record front to back right now. But “Capital G” is a song written from the perspective of a power-drunk, destructive, and ignorant leader or dictator (sound familiar?). While not a galvanizing song in itself, it paints a near mirror image of both the current leaders and puppetmasters who now control policy in this country. Perhaps now, Capital “T” (Trump) or Capital “B” (Bannon) would be more apt. This song should get you nice and pissed off about who’s leading our country.
4. "Wretches and Kings" – Linkin Park
“Hear us now, clear and true. Wretches and kings we come for you.”
This song has the honor of including, what I think, is one of the most powerful sections of speech ever given in the USA (besides anything by MLK). Mario Savio’s impassioned plea to the people to put their bodies upon the gears of the machine and to make it stop until it works for every single one of us is what this song is all about. If the political machine continues to run rampant, then make no mistake. We will come for you in the streets, in the papers, on the television, and in our votes. We are the majority, and will not be silenced.
3. "Toxicity" – System of a Down
“You, what do you own the world? How do you own disorder?”
Addressing leaders who think they own the world (again sounding familiar) and yet are blind to the disorder they create? Pretty relevant to me if I do say so. SOAD have always been on the frontlines of oppressive politics and boy I could sure use that new album right about now. The horrors of the past week notwithstanding, a lot of Trump supporters have a point in saying that there are REAL problems in our own country (not including our government). Poverty, homelessness, infrastructure, wage gaps…there’s a list to be sure. But Trump and the GOP has not addressed much of anything regarding these issues. Instead, they indirectly seem to be aiming to create MORE internal suffering by repealing the affordable care act and splitting families of immigrants. Toxicity indeed.
2. "Killing in the Name" – Rage Against the Machine
“Some of those that work forces are the same that burn crosses.”
C’mon now. This was going to be on the list no matter what. It’s the ultimate anti bigotry and questioning of authority song. Now more than ever this song rings as clear as day. In this age of “alternative facts” and journalists being told to “keep their mouths shut,” it’s high time to listen to Mr. De La Rocha and not do what they tell us. I think things like, oh I don’t know, truth, real facts, and a free press are important, don’t you?
1. "Search and Destroy" – KMFDM
“Acceptance is surrender. Vile and vicious slander. We don’t want to be ruled by a handful of fools.”
WE SHALL RESIST! KMFDM are a band with a lot of political views, but regardless of their own (most of which happen to be pretty sensible) this song is just the kick in the ass we need to get up and protest, make some noise, and generally make the government know that we will not tolerate actions and policies like the ones we’ve seen and that we know will eventually come. This is an ultimate anthem to rise up and fight the powers that be. And that’s what we need now.
Before this list ends, let me say that it’s easy to become overwhelmed in sadness, anger, and fear of the kind I mentioned earlier. It can overwhelm your life and make you feel hopeless for not just the future of the country and the world, but for your own future. You should never feel that way, and you do have a future filled with protest and activism, yes, but not all the time. Take the time to find love where you can, and to spend time with family and friends. Take a break and do something that makes you happy, even if it’s something small like watching a movie or reading a novel to take your mind off of things every once in a while. But I want to end with this quote I read from Elliot Cohen of The Atlantic a few days ago. It put my mind at ease for a bit and I hope, for all of you out there who are scared and angry like me, that it does for you too:
“There is nothing great about the America that Trump thinks he is going to make; but in the end, it is the greatness of America that will stop him.”
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