Next Tuesday, November 6 marks the 2012 United States presidential election as American voters look to determine if President Barack Obama will see a second term in office or if Republican Party nominee Mitt Romney becomes the 45th President of the United States. Ahead of the occasion, The Hundreds called upon a group of industry heavyweights to catch their thoughts on the election and gauge the sentiments of the art, design, skateboarding and streetwear worlds. Entitled “Politixxx,” the ensuing interview includes the positions and sensibilities of legendary streetwear designer Alyasha Owerka-Moore, Pharmacy Boardshop co-owner Donny Damron, renowned graffiti artist Mear One, Michael Brown of San Francisco-based boutique True and Us Versus Them‘s Graham Nystrom as the group share their individual takes on the candidates, the ability of the president to affect change, and the idea of political non-participation. Select excerpts from round one of the interview can be seen below and read in its entirety here while the second round of “Politixxx” will make its debut on November 1.
Who are you voting for and why?
MEAR ONE: I was going to vote for someone like Ron Paul, but he wasn’t on the ballot. So I voted for Barack Obama, because he was the least problem on there and most likely to get elected. I’m not happy with the lack of choice. He’s definitely the lesser of two evils. And I mean, we have the Independent party and Green party… After years of voting and being a voter, I’ve just seen that the Green party and the Independent party are not in the position right now to deliver us a President, still. And so I’m stuck with two choices basically, and it’s BS and it sucks. I’m not happy with it. But there’s no way in hell that I would want Romney over Obama, even though they’re both a couple of puppets.
Does any of this really matter in the long run? Does the President of the United States actually affect any change for our lives, or is he just a puppet?
ALYASHA: EVERYTHING MATTERS in the long run. The president absolutely has the ability to create change for our lives. Just ask the Wounded Warriors / Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. I understand the power of corporate lobbyists on our government, but by no means is president Obama a “puppet.” GW Bush was a complete puppet for the Trilateral commission and Romney is presently a puppet for the American corporate power structure.
MIKE: It does matter in the long run because the President is one of the three main branches of our government, the Executive branch. Through the Bush and Obama presidencies, the powers of the Executive branch have been greatly expanded. While the President needs the cooperation of the Legislative branch, he or she can affect change (mostly over a longer period of time) in our lives. The President is the main representative of his or her political party. “Puppet” is a strong word, but yes the President can be considered a tool his or her political party or main supporters.
GRAHAM: It does and it doesn’t. To say that it doesn’t matter completely eliminates any level of influence which any one president DOES actually possess. The people he decides to put into office and surround him or herself with will influence the policies that are enacted during their term and beyond. So, yes, it does matter. However, given that our choices are solely Republican or Democrat, does it matter? No. Sure, they may have differences concerning things like whether rape pregnancies are a gift from god, or if people should be allowed to be paid to work less (at the expense of the truly incapable), but when it comes down to the deep, deep financial and world issues that will ultimately affect your lives more, there is NO difference between the two.
So a big trend with today’s youth, and maybe rightfully so, is to refrain from politics entirely. Maybe jaded by the Internet coverage, the lying on both sides, or just the lack of obvious change or effect in their personal lives, many proactively choose to not only stay away from voting or educating themselves, but to voice an opinion against it. Bertolt Brecht once said, “The worst illiterate is the political illiterate” because “from his political non-participation comes the prostitute, the abandoned child, the robber and, worst of all, corrupt officials, the lackeys of exploitative multinational corporations.” Would you agree with Brecht or do you empathize with the non-voter?
DONNY: I think any vote that is an uneducated vote is a bad vote and playing into the two party system that is controlled by a small group of people. Thomas Jefferson said “The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers.” Major media is a monopoly that six corporations control 90% of. I would say over 99% of people are politically illiterate because they get their info that is skewed by major media. I am not saying it’s all lies but it is a lot easier to mislead someone with facts than it is with bullshit. That’s why people like Rush make so much money. I would have to say I agree with Brecht.