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Monday, November 03, 2008

ELECTION DAY - The Whole World Is Watching

vote pt30 site no war30

The Whole World Is Watching is a slogan chanted during the 1968 Democratic Convention. Forty years ago the unrest amongst young people the world over formed a zeitgeist so strong that the world simply exploded in response to the ugliness all around them. (Just Google "1968" - there was the Czech revolution; RKF, MLK assassinated in the USA; the Tet Offensive begins in Vietnam and later that year the My Lai massacre takes place; Nixon wins the Presidential election; shall I go on?)

In 1968, when during a summer vacation in San Francisco, I was admonished by my mother not to even think about wandering into the park adjacent to our hotel (on Union Square). Too many hippies and rabble-rousers.

Little did my mother know, I was already indoctrinated!


Prior to its sloganization, I first heard the phrase on Bob Dylan's 1964 album, The Times They Are A Changin' - its a lyric in the song "When The Ship Comes In." That's the track on the album that precedes my favorite of all protest songs, "The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll."

I don't know where or how the protesting youth of 1968 decided to sloganize the phrase "the whole world is watching," but its a good one and has returned with every election cycle, embraced by every thinking person as the most appropriate of all possible slogans.

The whole world is watching - so THINK about your vote, and then just do it.

Here are some photos of musical persons who are thoughtful and its worth thinking about the things they say in their songs...

Wayner Kramer
Wayne Kramer - MC5

Michael Davis / MC5
Mike Davis - MC5

The MC5 were part of the first wave of thinking American Midwest musicians that played loud music with an angry angle, shaking its fist at the powers that were... inadvertent co-inventors of punk rock and the godfathers of politically motivated music.

Stiv Icon
Stiv Bators

My favorite conspiracy theorist; Stiv questioned authority, saw through things and asked you to "Open Your Eyes to the lies right in front of you."

penelope sally
Penelope Houston (Avengers) and Sally Webster (Mutants)

Two San Francisco artists who expressed themselves musically as well. The Avengers, along with The Dils (Chip and Tony Kinman are pictured below) were San Francisco socialists - not fascist pigs! - they were completely politicized. The Avengers sang about "The American in Me" being horrified by the behavior of the country and its corrupt and morally bankrupt leaders.

chip holly & tony dils chip jumping
Chip and Tony Kinman of the Dils with author Hollly George Warren, 2007 and in 1978

The Dils saw an American Class War and sang about it... as well as singing how they hate the rich. John McCain's in that class right? Prescient, these guys... prescient.

Hans Rotenberry
Hans Rotenberry - The Shazam

Not a punk rocker, but this man, Hans Rotenberry wrote one of the best songs invoking political metaphors - "Super Tuesday." Even The New Yorker thinks so. You can hear this song on the music player on the band's myspace page ( - its the first track on the player.

I voted already. We have Early Voting in Tennessee. Hit the voting booth today. If you don't vote, you can't complain. If you don't vote, you are part of the problem.

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