Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Obama, Why Langford

Musician, songwriter artist and founding member of the great Leeds band, the Mekons, Jon Langford has threw in his hat into the political ring, so to speak, concerning the upcoming U.S. Presidential elections. Langford's piece originally appeared in the blogsite Largehearted Boy, on 7 Aug. 2008. His essay was part of a series entitled, "Why Obama," from a collection of authors and musicians.

"I never quite worked out how the last eight years happened. So soon after Vietnam my adopted homeland slides back down the rabbit hole, hijacked by mean old rich white zombies full of hate. I remember driving back from O'Hare in October 2001 after the Waco Brothers' stagger-a-bout down under and seeing all the flags taped up in the windows next to Halloween ghouls, vampires & dancing skeletons etc. Weird happenstance collages of doom - ominous shit indeed! Back in the 80s when I was still living in the UK and Reagan & Thatcher ruled the world; there were bombs falling on Libya, Argentinean conscripts sunk deep in the South-Atlantic with lungs full of cold water and the whole pub cheered when Reagan got shot. I still get into fights with hardcore anti-American drunks in Brit-cities who can't believe I came here and settled here (and me a socialist too) but I did and there are reasons.

The explosion of music that took place in this country during the last century swept me up and consumed early on. Not just the punk (though my ears were always pointed this way back in 77) but the whole shebang. In the 80s we (the Mekons) started listening to Country, Cajun, Blues, Zydeco, Western Swing and found what we did as a band was not some year-zero re-invention of any wheel but thankfully just another tiny helpless bio-cog in a huge beautiful organic cultural mechanism that spans the globe but is clearly fueled & sourced somewhere over here in the USA in the confused melding of African and European folk traditions. I have often said I have a love-hate relationship with it (Love George Jones hate George Bush) and I have often been told I should go back to Russia BUT I have seen this place and been treated with great kindness and respect here and am saddened by the hatred this current junta's actions have inspired across the planet. I have American friends living in Europe who have to pretend to be Canadian for f*ck's sake.

Time for a change no doubt and a smart young Black bloke from Chicago as president will suit me just fine. I think we all know what they'll fling at him, what dark forces they'll unleash to bring him down and how hard he'll have to fight to clean up their mess when he's elected but this is historic, symbolic, once in a lifetime stuff. This country has talked a great game about freedom and opportunity over the years and while I have been the willing recipient of much of that promise it shames me to see what's been done in its name by this crowd of zombies and vampires. I've been really happy here, settled and raised a family & I could never have done half the things I do if I'd stayed in the UK so I thank you America, now do yourself a favor, give yourself a present and elect Obama."
-Jon Langford

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