Breaking It Down: Hey Meghan McCain… “Punk Rock Republican” Is An Oxymoron!!
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Meghan McCain was recently quoted by MTV News (my job) as saying that “the only way to be punk rock anymore is to be conservative”. Not only did she say this with a straight face, she said it while allowing herself to be interviewed at what has to be one of the most un punk establishments on earth – the Hard Rock Cafe in Las Vegas.
I find Meghan’s statement to be grossly inaccurate and bollocks.
All jokes aside, before I challenge the concept of being a Punk Rock Republican, let’s start with one example of general un punk behavior – from Meghan herself:
HER BLOG DOESN’T ALLOW COMMENTS.
She can write whatever she wants and make associations to any identity she chooses – but she doesn’t have the guts to address public opinion, or at least allow people to leave their two cents? Obama‘s blog even lets you comment. Why won’t she let people speak their mind on her blog?
Does condoning censorship sound like punk rock behavior to you?
To those immediately repulsed by my claim – Don’t bother sending me links to all the various punk rock republican websites. I know there are punk music fans walking around believing that they can indeed be Republican and claim a punk identity. They are wrong. These folks are ignoring and revising the definition of punk rock ideology to suit their own conservative political agenda.
Also, I am not factoring in Nazi punk politics and here’s why – I am going on good faith and assuming that Meghan McCain does not support Nazi punk values. She simply wants to associate the Republican party with a general “punk spirit” but I have to challenge this because it’s WRONG.
The amount of money the Republican party spent on Sarah Palin’s outfits is a strong enough argument on it’s own that the Republican party is NOT punk, but I digress…
To “be” authentically “punk” – to embrace a punk ideology – does NOT involve condoning racism, being anti-choice and banning gay marriage.
Punk Rock Republicans are not the same as Jews for Jesus or Log Cabin Republicans. You can indeed be a Jew and be for Jesus, because being for Jesus does not erase genetics (converts don’t apply in this example). You can also enjoy same sex activities and be a Republican, because you can be queer while voting for a party that wishes you didn’t even exist nor supports your right to marriage.
Sounds insane but it actually happens. Because money is a hell of a drug.
But I repeat: it’s IMPOSSIBLE to be both Punk Rock and Republican simultaneously.
Punk politics within punk subculture (as opposed to just liking the music) centers around a value system that developed starting with the birth of punk rock in New York City, then in London within the working class neighborhoods, then through the Los Angeles area and beyond. Common punk views include the DIY ethic, non-conformity (hello!), direct action, not selling out (ding!), and nihilism.
American punk ideologies further developed through the politically charged lyrics of American bands like Black Flag and the Bad Brains.
To “be” Punk Rock is to embrace an alternative (not conservative or mainstream) value system that arose within a subculture of REBELLION. This value system (the true spirit of punk rock) stands in direct CONTRADICTION of the Republican party’s CURRENT core values, two of which are:
(not the entire list, but you get the picture)
Yes, freeing the slaves was very punk rock, before being punk rock existed! But Meghan, wearing an Abe Lincoln necklace to remind everyone of that is just lame and – arguably – evidence that this was the last punk rock action taken by the Republican party in hundreds of years.
So… WTF? Based on our CURRENT political climate, how is it even possible for someone to “be” punk and a Republican? Enter Meghan with her new pal, Johnny Ramone’s widow Linda.
Johnny Ramone does not = punk rock. Not since the 80’s!
Before I am spammed by angry Ramones fans, Let me state for the record that I am NOT claiming his membership negates his influence on punk music or the culture – he will ALWAYS be part of the legacy and history of punk music.
But let’s be real – Johnny Ramone had different priorities and a lot of material assets to protect. He chose to stand by a party that had those interests in mind. He was rich and wanted to protect his money, at the expense of social welfare programs and a woman’s right to choose.
And that, my friends, is not punk rock at all.
Johnny Ramone also idolized Ronald Reagan, and used the band’s induction into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 2002 to praise George Bush!!! THAT’S NOT PUNK. He was also rumored to be a huge racist.
It seems that Meghan’s sole connection between the Republican party’s punk identity is Johnny Ramone, a staunch Republican who supported Reaganomics. Did you know that state mental hospitals were taken away by Governor Reagan in the seventies, and federal mental health programs were later taken away by President Reagan in the eighties? It is not a coincidence that the homeless populations in the state of California grew exorbitantly after that.
So, can you be punk while supporting a party who made thousands of Californians homeless by closing needed hospitals? To make it current – Can you truly be punk while supporting a party who’s most recent president created the No Child Left Behind Act, an ill thought out law that uses flawed standardized tests to label schools as failures and punish them with counterproductive sanctions, effectively making schools in low income areas even crappier?
Really, Meghan? The only way?
Conservative values are not the minority in America. If they were, Bush would have lost.Â You are not being radical or “punk” by supporting conservative politics during this election, you are being like (historically) a huge majority of this country. It’s misleading and a lie to imply that our nation is now mostly liberal. It’s not.
Maybe, on your journey as a “rock star” campaigner, you’ve met a lot of celebrities and artists who haven’t supported your dad or the Republican party’s values. Maybe it helps you to maintain your personal momentum by imagining that you’re being quite the rebel by not taking the “popular” route of supporting Obama.
Maintaining the status quo is never punk Meghan, and this country was already run into the ground by a Republican for eight years. Being punk would be to question how effective your dad can be in bringing real change to this country while still upholding antiquated and oppressive values that infringe on my and millions of other American tax payers’ civil rights.
edit: I know there are Republicans who are pro choice. I am merely stating what is publicy shared on the RNC’s website.
edit 2: MTV News takes an unbiased approach in all of our election coverage, which is the democratic and ethical thing to do. MTV News has interviewed both Senators John McCain and Barack Obama and has allowed the audience to make its own decision, without personal influence.
As an individual, I am entitled to my own opinion and will express it on my own site. My opinion does not represent that of MTV News, MTV Networks or Viacom.