Musician and activist Tom Morello was a special guest at the annual Sidney Hillman Foundation Prize ceremony honoring advocacy journalism and activism last May, the first time I ever heard him in person, either speaking or singing. He’s a determined battler against entrenched, monied interests in our society and political culture, and also skilled at rousing a whole auditorium to sing along with him, as we did on “Union Town” and “This Land is Your Land.”
I wrote about the Hillman awards and Morello in May, a presentation that also featured Harry Belafonte, Danny Glover, and Ta-Nehisi Coates and so am glad to see today that Tom’s directing his voice against the Romney-Ryan ticket. Upon learning that the right-wing VP nominee is supposedly a fan of Morello’s band, Rage Against the Machine, Morello’s published an opinion piece in Rolling Stone. Here’s a selection from the opening of his column:
Paul Ryan’s love of Rage Against the Machine is amusing, because he is the embodiment of the machine that our music has been raging against for two decades. . . . Ryan claims that he likes Rage’s sound, but not the lyrics. Well, I don’t care for Paul Ryan’s sound or his lyrics. He can like whatever bands he wants, but his guiding vision of shifting revenue more radically to the one percent is antithetical to the message of Rage. I wonder what Ryan’s favorite Rage song is? Is it the one where we condemn the genocide of Native Americans? The one lambasting American imperialism? Our cover of “Fuck the Police”? Or is it the one where we call on the people to seize the means of production? So many excellent choices to jam out to at Young Republican meetings!
I recall when “Born in the U.S.A.” was released in 1984, after learning that Ronald Reagan, running for reelection, supposedly liked his album, Bruce Springsteen drolly remarked, “I wonder which song is his favorite.” I urge you to read Morello’s whole article, which pulls no punches, as he ends it by wondering if elected whether Ryan may