» Blog Archive Opinion: Career Suicide is Supporting Trump -
Evan Conway Hard Music, News

Let’s not act like we don’t know what’s going on in America right now. In the past few days, we’ve seen a dramatic turn of events as society is bursting into flames in an attempt to handle the injustice that was George Floyd’s death. In that time, an unbelievable amount of support has poured out for the Black Lives Matter movement as they’ve organized protests and pressed harder on the U.S. government to reform the police system in the country. The point is: police brutality must be dealt with, and even more pressingly the treatment of black citizens must better so that we can start taking steps to heal from centuries of racist treatment, all of which our “President” is seemingly against doing.

If you thought this was going to be from any other stance, you’re dead wrong.

During his speech in the Rose Garden on Monday evening, President Trump refused to adhere to the protestors outside of the White House. During his speech, the tear gas canisters being set off by the police were audible and live footage intercut showed the crowd being driven away with such methods. Trump’s non-compliance with listening to the protestors was all you needed to hear after he spent a night hiding in his bunker (“Examining” as later claimed, which I’m hard-pressed to believe) and antagonizing the protestors  via Twitter. And still, even after an embarrassing photo op with him hold “a Bible” (his words), his cult of supporters refuse to see his shortcomings, and that includes people in our rock and metal scene.

Most notoriously – and shockingly – did Krist Novoselic, former bassist of Nirvana, show appreciation for Trump’s speech, calling it “strong” in a now-deleted social media post. Novoselic has always remained independent in his political affiliation, but in a time of high tension and apparent rights-and-wrongs, including an overwhelming amount of footage displaying the protested police brutality occurring during the protests, Novoselic chose the possible worst line of thought to have. Effectively, he shot his career in the head.

With millions claiming Trump’s actions were akin to a dictator and him attempting to invoke Marshall Law, does being independent offer anything? “I don’t want to choose sides!” they may cry out, but as a citizen in the United States in a now world-wide protest, your lack of choice is one for police brutality, for Marshall Law, and for Trump. Silence is compliance and cowardice; looking away only strengthens the core problem.

Just today System of a Down drummer John Dolmayan claimed that Trump has done the most for minorities since Abraham Lincoln. I’m a white guy, so I can’t speak on this topic with any experience, but whatever Trump has done in the past that may have been good has been erased by the past week. It’s more shocking for a band as political and reactionary as System of a Down to have one of its members be of this mentality, whereas vocalist Serj Tankian has just recently as Monday ripped into Trump for his conduct as President. In times like these, can Dolmayan really continue being in the band when things are so explicitly right and wrong?

“But republicans and democrats have coexisted for so long!” you might say, and you would be right if this was a red vs. blue issue. When George Floyd was being asphyxiated and four officers held him down in the street, it was no longer a republican vs. democrat issue. This topic is not controversial, you just don’t want to see it for what it is: the people vs. the government, an oppressive system that’s supposed to protect and serve, but instead shoot tear gas at peaceful protestors, destroy state-approved medic stations, and brutalize journalists and protestors when they’re clearly unarmed.

Do you lick the boot, or do you break the ankle when it asks you to? Your favorite rock stars are held to the same standard as you, and they should know right from wrong.

In a twist of fate, M. Shadows of Avenged Sevenfold posted an editorial through Revolver that stated his support for Black Lives Matter. Their fanbase, as large as it is, definitely has a lot of military bros and tough guy republicans in Affliction t-shirts, reacted wildly. For a band that is so pro-America and pro-military, M. Shadows’ stance is entirely patriotic and standing with the core of this country: the people, who keep it going on a micro level so that the macro scale can operate.

Think about where you stand on this, as musicians, and as citizens. Rock and metal has always been political, and shying away from the issues at hand will do you no benefits. No lives matter until black lives matter.

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