Rachel Bunting

politics aside, right?

It should be pretty clear to anyone who reads my blog with any regularity that I think too much. I overanalyze pretty much everything, which is sometimes not a bad thing, and sometimes works against me. But I’ve been making an effort lately to really think carefully about certain things in my life. I’ve been more careful about what comes out of my mouth, following my acupuncturist’s mantra of “Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?” I’ve been trying to figure out what kind of message my actions actually convey – I say I believe in non-violence, but does that come across in the way I behave with people? I say I believe in tolerance and open-minded acceptance, but do I put that into practice? It’s a slow process of self-discovery, but I’m working on it.

For example, one thing I’ve been pretty careful about is my opposition to censorship. I’ve said for a long time now that I oppose any form of censorship, even understanding that means people who hate-speak will have to be given a platform. And if I find something offensive, I tend to either call out the party responsible or ignore it – depends on the issue, I suppose. But I don’t support the muzzling of anyone, regardless of viewpoint, and even when I find myself between a rock and a hard place in trying to decide on whether or not to support protecting speech that is absolutely vile, I think very, very carefully before making a decision. Not that my decisions ever do much beyond get posted on this blog – but the point is, I’m thinking about it. I’m not just snapping to it.

Anyway, one thing I’ve never been able to understand is people who don’t think out their positions before they start yelling them out. Consider this: I know someone who falls into the conservative category pretty much across the board. The following things are true about this person:

  • She considers herself a Christian, a faith that is generally accepted to be politically conservative and non-progressive on both social and political issues.
  • She comes from a middle-to-upper-middle class white family in the suburbs. While this doesn’t automatically make her a conservative, my non-scientific observation of such backgrounds (having come from one myself) is that the products of these backgrounds tend to be overwhelmingly conservative.
  • She appears to hold to “traditional” values, and also appears to place huge importance on things like social status, appearance and conformity.
  • She is a fan of NASCAR (no cheap-and-easy jokes, please), an organization that aligns itself with privatized corporate capitalism, shows a flagrant disregard for environmental issues, and tends to appeal to the working-class, blue-collar conservative demographic of America.

Again, while none of these things, taken singly, guarantee that she is a conservative, adding them together seems to indicate that the political leanings would be more conservative than not.

So it’s ironic, then, that she claims Green Day as her favorite band.
Stop laughing. Some people actually like Green Day.

I mean, one might consider, if one were inclined, just a handful of Green Day’s lyrics:
From the song “Minority” (the only Green Day song I will ever admit to liking), from the Warning album:

I want to be the minority
I don’t need your authority
Down with the moral majority
‘Cause I want to be the minority

I sort of laugh at this, because the official Moral Majority organization dissolved in 1989. However, the agenda of the group (evangelical Christian-oriented political lobbying) is still in force today. And I don’t think this person realizes that she is, more or less, a part of that unofficial moral majority.

And then there’s this one – “American Idiot,” from the American Idiot album:

Well maybe I’m the faggot America.
I’m not a part of a redneck agenda.
Now everybody do the propaganda.
And sing along to the age of paranoia.

I left out the NASCAR jokes earlier, but seriously – redneck agenda? Check. And considering how all-American NASCAR fans tend to consider themselves, I can’t imagine they would take kindly to such leftist criticism from members of a cultural fringe group (if we’re going to loosely apply the word “punk” here).

Not to mention that the members of Green Day have been incredibly outspoken against President Bush, his administration, his political party and pretty much anything associated with him.

Of course, it’s possible that she just likes the music. I mean, we all know that Billie Joe & Co. are incredibly talented musicians. Right?

In all seriousness, it is entirely possible that the political message of the music means nothing to this person, that she is entirely capable of academically separating the message from the vehicle. And it’s entirely possible, too, that she falls in line politically with the viewpoints of Green Day, and that the other factors that might contribute to a conservative outlook are just coincidence, and add up to nothing at all.

But those possibilities rather complicate things. And there’s Occam’s razor, you know. What seems far more likely to me is that she’s never connected herself with the messages that Green Day means to convey – she’s never bothered to think about what it is they’re actually saying.

I suppose I just wish people would think a little more carefully.

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