Young Americans are notoriously apathetic to politics. They may be passionate about certain issues but they are not often invited to participate in ways that are meaningful to them. The political process seems inaccessible and completely separate from their daily lives.
Music for America is an organization trying to change all that by connecting young people to politics through music. MFA connects bands like Rilo Kiley, Le Tigre, The Decemberists, and Bouncing Souls with fan volunteers to spread political awareness and register voters as concerts. MFA provides the materials and the volunteers get to see free shows.
MFA is built upon the idea that participating in culture is a political act.
Your community of punks, or hipsters, hip-hop, or reggae fans is a group of similar people with similar concerns. When you or your classmates cant afford college, it affects our culture. When your friends get sent to fight overseas, it affects our culture. When a giant corporation decides what you can and cannot listen to, or should and should not know, it is cultural. The solutions to our problems are also cultural, and start when we all come together, realize we feel the same way, and realize we can change this.
On the face of it, there doesnt seem to be a strong link between smoky rock shows and the hallowed halls of government. But making the connections between the decisions that are made by our political leaders and the quality of life of young Americans is really the goal of Music for America. MFA volunteers are working to make those connections one music fan at a time.
When we reach one of our peers on a personal, sincere level, and show her how she can actually do something about it, were doing what we do bestproviding the gateway drug that will hook our generation on creating a better America.
The MFA website provides tips to get involved in the political process and all the ">materials you need to volunteer at a concert. While youre perusing the community blogs and learning about current issues, you can listen to your favorite bands on MFA radio.
This is just great. Voting is so important for younger people.
I went to vote this morning and there was a problem with the computer that the woman was using to enter my voter registration information. It locked up and showed that I had voted and yet failed to program the little card that I would have used to put into the machine.
They eventually "burned" me a card that I used to put into the voting machine to vote. I have no idea if it registered my vote or not. If not Carolyn Strayhorn, Eliot Shapleigh and Silvestre Reyes will do without my vote.
It does bring up the conversation about the computer voting machines and their predictability (or in this case un-predictability). When I read the comments about that I thought it was somewhat overkill until this morning. Now I wonder . . . . .
That's such a great idea. I can say for myself that I'm not involved in politics and it's not that I don't want to be it's just that I don't know enough. It's hard to find unbiased opinions to really see what people stand for and what you want to support.
This is wonderful to see adopted at the grassroots level. MTV's "Rock The Vote" did a great job getting the ripple started- but I think validated the hypothesis that a commercial media-entity could not maintain an un-biased and social-progress-centered effort in a sustainable fashion. Or at least beyond the viewers turning 24, or chronology aside, thinking for themselves beyond what the paying sponsors were interested in supporting.