Personal Voices: Politics Are So Punk

Politics was always a really boring and confusing subject for me. It didn’t really matter to me who was president, or what he did, because presidents come and go. So when George W. Bush was elected as president in 2000 I thought of him as just another one to sit in the White House for another four years and do nothing until a new one comes along.

All that was before I went to a Punk Voter concert, where great bands like Authority Zero, Alkaline Trio and NOFX played. Even more bands were on their "Rock Against Bush" CDs. Listening to the music made me want to know why everyone was so mad at Bush. I started to be more and more interested in the Iraq war and in the election. I started watching the news, reading newspapers, watching speeches on TV and listening to people’s opinions. I learned that Bush was never in combat. I heard people talking about lies, conspiracies, wars and greed. Who knew politics could be this interesting? It made me want to know what the lies were, and what was going on beneath the surface of the Bush administration.

When I saw the documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11," I was really affected by it. It was a really intense movie criticizing the Bush administration. At one point, a mother whose son got killed in the war, read a letter that he wrote her before he died. That really hit me, because he was just a kid, like me and you. It seemed so unfair that he was dead, and that he had died for nothing, while I was sitting at home watching TV. I began to feel an obligation to the fallen soldiers to pay attention to politics, and keep us out of unnecessary wars.

But some people said that movie didn’t tell the whole story and it was just propaganda, trying to make Bush look bad. It made me feel mad, confused and frustrated, because I realize there’s probably more to Bush or Kerry than I know. I know that all my opinions are just based on other people’s opinions, so sometimes I wonder if I should say anything at all. Maybe I’m just a stupid kid, but I know a few things. I do know that there’s no "Rock Against Kerry" concert tour. I haven’t seen documentaries or books against Kerry, or actors and musicians who rise against him. I also would rather have a president who actually fought for this country and tried to make a difference instead of chickening out and not going.

I feel like Bush lied about the real reason for the war in Iraq. There were no weapons of mass destruction, so why did we invade? I think he wants Iraq’s oil. So when I hear about soldiers dying, it makes me really mad, because I know how it is to lose someone, so when people lose fathers and brothers for nothing, that’s when you know something is just not right.

That’s why I feel proud to say now that I do have a political opinion. I stand against Bush. And if someone like me can get a little politically involved, then anybody can. I’m not a documentary-watching, newspaper-reading person. I tend to live in my own world, but this is serious. This president, who is going to control us for the next four years, needs to be carefully chosen. So read more, listen more and think more. You should at least know a little, and when you’re old enough, start voting. We need all the help we can get.

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