Of Punk Rock and Republicans

Not too long ago, something rather odd happened to me.  I was going about my business on the Facebooks, trolling hard as I am wont to do, and posting rather inane and pointless drivel, as I am compelled to do.  I don’t recall the exact posting that I made or the context or even the subject, but I do know that it drew some interesting responses. Many of the things I post elicit responses from my friends which are typically fully in support of my statement or vehemently opposed.  For the sake of not making waves, it would probably be best that I only post links and homages to music that everyone can agree upon.

However, that’s the easy path, and I have chosen a much more difficult path.  I’m hardly a thin-skinned dude, I can take the abuse just as easily and cheerfully as I can dish it out.  Don’t believe me? Ask this clown.  And ask his friends to recount some of the ridiculous vitriol they’ve spit at me in retaliation for my poking and prodding.  Yeah, I like to throw gas on your little fires sometimes, but I’m fair game, so bring the ruckus.

But what transpired recently was interesting in a couple of regards.  A comment on one of my postings (probably about guns), I was told that I have become “another punk rocker turned Republican.”  Michale Graves jokes aside, this really got me wondering: have I gone soft?  Have I forgotten my punk rock roots and sold out to the man in favor of an easy life wherein I don’t question things and just go along with everything?  Have I given up on my history of anarchy and rebellion to take a menial office job with a mega-corporation that is slowly destroying my will to live?

Well, no.  I’d say not exactly, but really what I mean is “no, not at all in the slightest.”  For a person to make such a statement as “punk rocker turned Republican” leads me to believe that this person knows 1) very little about me as a person, and 2) absolutely nothing about punk rock.  Punk rock is not about being a Democrat or a radical anarchist or communist or listening to Crass and believing that governments and McDonalds are all out to exploit you and ruin your life.  Punk rock is not about telling people they’re horrible people for supporting the military or not supporting your cockamamie theories about the Illuminati running the world from their secret lair somewhere in Switzerland.

Just so there is no confusion in the future, I’ll go ahead and set the record straight as to what punk rock actually is: it’s about YOU.  Punk rock is that amazing feeling you get when you discover something that speaks directly to you and gives you some purpose or goal or inspiration.  Did a Propaghandi song make you want to get a job with a locally-owned business rather than a neo-colonial monster corporation?  That’s punk rock.  Did a Marvin Gaye song make you want to fight for civil rights? That’s punk rock.  Did Stonewall inspire you to crusade for LGBT equality? That’s punk rock.

Punk rock is about finding those things in the world that you can embrace and pursue in order to improve your life and the world as a whole for others.  Notice, however, that YOU come first.  This may seem like a wholly selfish statement, but it really is.  Punk rock is about YOU, remember?  And for the last 38 months, punk rock has also been about my son.  Punk rock has inspired me to work towards a better world for my son, and that work has a number of different forms.  I’m a firm believer in the Constitution (all of it, not bits and pieces like some of ya), I believe in national security (and by extension the security of the world), civil rights, gay rights, women’s rights, animal rights (lol), environmental protection and so on.

At the same time, though, punk rock has made me a pure pragmatist, for which I offer no apologies.  I work for a big, multi-national banking corporation.  I’m sure Johnny Rotten is spinning in his grave at the very thought of that.*  My job allows me to do a number of things: it keeps my boy in school, fed, clothed and insured; it keeps a roof over my head; it keeps me interested; and it allows me to have some level of involvement in protecting people.  If you’re not at all sure what I do, I’m happy to sit down and discuss it with you some time, but this is neither the time nor the place.

I support those who chose different lifestyles like xStraightEdgex or veganism or train hopping or this or whatever.  Punk rock taught me that I can support your freedoms, even if I don’t want anything to do with them.  I’m not xStraightEdgex and I never will be.  Want to be a vegan because you think animals are people and deserve to live? Whatever, I don’t care.  I might find that ridiculous because on the basest level chickens are stupid and deserve to be eaten and minks are jerks that deserve to be skinned.

And you can all disagree with me on any or all aspects of anything I believe.  THAT is punk rock, THAT is about YOU.  YOU have to make those decisions about what YOU want to believe in and support and live for.  I’ve made my choices and I sleep soundly at night knowing my punk rock card is still punched and I’m still getting into the show.  I’ve accumulated enough punk points and I’m cashing them in for the future that I want now.

So now tell me, what do YOU think punk rock is?  Maybe it’s just this, and nothing more.  I hope not.

 

 

*Note: He’s not dead? Well then, consider it a metaphorical grave of his relevance.