Duff, We Don't Need More Politicians, We Need the Rock Party

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In Rock, Or, Sweet Child 'O Time. Krist Novoselic's column runs every Tuesday on Reverb. Check back on Friday when he writes about what he's listening to.
Dear Duff:

Thanks for including me on your political ticket. I like the idea of a McKagan /Novoselic candidacy--but I must respectfully decline. I don't believe we need more politicians--we need more people to become personally invested in the political process.

The ticket you propose would have a lot of name recognition. And that works in politics, but the hard part is actually changing things. Mentioning change is cheap talk anymore. Voters are constantly electing these supposed "agents of change" who, as lawmakers, manage only to fit as cogs in the political machines that actually run things.

Celebrity change-agents haven't done any better. In the 2003 California recall election, Arnold Schwarzenegger resurrected lines from his action films as part of his campaign. It was a perfect fit, and the strongman image played to a throng of voters wild to tear down a sitting governor.

Schwarzenegger got into office with people expecting that this outsider would somehow fix Sacramento. But that didn't happen. The Governator instead got swept up in insider politics, and now the state is in far worse financial shape than it was when he took over--and possibly worse than it's ever been.

Schwarzenegger's failure to change--or even fix--Sacramento should come as no surprise. After all, he ran as a Republican. That party--along with Democrats--have their own constituencies to cater to. And I'm not talking about voters in legislative districts. I mean the interests who work the halls of power. They're the ones who stick around after the confetti and balloons from election-night parties are swept off the floor. Voters thought the Terminator would take care of everything by himself--just as he did in Kindergarten Cop. People invested their hopes in Schwarzenegger, but they didn't take it much farther than that. But this always happens, with presidents, governors, or any other kind of lawmaker. Voters only wait until the next election to choose between the Republican and Democratic candidate--again--while in the meantime, those interests I've mentioned work the system. And fickle California voters have done enough damage themselves to the state through the initiative process, so I can't be too hard on Governor Schwarzenegger.

Duff, I beat the drum of political association regularly. We're both bass players, so let's say it's the thump of a kick drum. Perhaps this season of discontent is not calling for a McKagan / Novoselic ticket as much as for a new political party: The Rock Party. The idea is to get people invested in their own power through working with like-minded others. Here's how a Rock Party could work:

First, we'd need some precepts for our group. This would be an unalterable aspect of what we'd do. I propose something like promoting civic virtue and individual opportunity. Civic virtue is at the heart of the ideals espoused by our nation's founders. It's about liberty and inalienable rights, while at the same time working within your community to make lives better. And individual opportunity is about the American dream: Work hard enough and you can be successful. This can be discussed at length--the idea is to have a philosophical foundation to our group, and I'd like to hear your ideas.

Another cornerstone: The Rock Party would not take any outside political contributions. The party would only receive funds from members, which is appropriate for an organization that's member-driven. Small-scale political contributions are revolutionizing campaign financing. The numbers can add up quick with online contributions.

Then there's the organization's structure. The party is to be financed exclusively through regular membership dues. It would cost $5 a month to belong. And what are the benefits of membership? Members vote on nominees for the public ballot. Members also vote for party officials. Members will develop and ratify a yearly party platform. This would all be done through the Rock Party Web site--which will also offer free music downloads to members. (That alone will bring all kinds of people in!)

At this point, we don't need to get into too many details, like what kind of stance the party will take on issues. That will sort itself out during the platform process. Party politics can be messy and things will have to shake out with the platform, but I'm sure it will be a healthy debate as long as our precepts are honored. We'd start with local and state elections and work our way from there.

Duff, I'd nominate you as party Chair, and we'll see who other members nominate. But I can't get going on it for a while--it's a super-early spring out here in Deep River, with plenty of seasonal chores on the homestead. Considering some of the things I've just written, I'm not ready to bail on Obama either. And Democrats? President Obama has his own party / organization - so people can line up where they need to. The plan I propose above should be universal, and maybe those who see any value will run with it?

If we eventually pull this off, let's have an enduring organization that's part of building the future. Remember--VOTE ROCK PARTY!

 
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