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Protest Song of the Day: ‘Don’t You Understand’ by Linq

To recognize the power of protest music, acknowledge its role in keeping dissent alive and how musicians are translating today’s social issues and systemic problems into song, The Dissenter has launched a daily feature that highlights a protest song every weekday.

Musician and former pharmacist, Linq is a singer-songwriter who performs in New England and for the past years has been creating music on social issues of the day, such as health care, the effects of bullying on youth or the corporate destruction of planet Earth.

In May 2011, she was named OUTstanding OUTMusician for her music and activism at the 7th Annual OUTMusic Awards. And she sent The Dissenter a song she wrote for her latest album, Caught in the Act Acoustic, that is called, “Don’t You Understand.” It was featured in Under the Radar magazine’s “Protest Issue.” And it is a song for the struggle of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people to have full civil rights in America, including the right to marriage.

“Hey, what part of justice for all don’t you understand?” Linq sings over a simple guitar melody and percussion.

She says of the LGBT community, “We are a gentle angry people/Working on this issue every day/To those of you who would deny this/Simply because we’re gay.” She repeats, “To have and to hold/Til death do us part,” which possibly signals LGBT people have as much right to a religious marriage as straight people.

She sings out, “It’s about rights/Civil rights/Civil Marriage/Civil rights/It’s not about, hey, it’s not about religion/And it’s not about your political gains.”

Since the song was recorded, President Barack Obama has said same-sex marriage should be legal. He also said in the same interview where he called for marriage to be legal that he thought “states should decide the issue independently.” And then, months later, the Democratic Party’s platform included support for marriage equality and a plank opposed to federal and state constitutional amendments that might “deny equal protection of the laws to committed same-sex couples, who seek the same respect and responsibilities as other married couples.” It also indicated support for repealing the Defense of Marriage Act, which allows for federal discrimination against same-sex couples.

Much of this language in the Democratic Party’s platform and the fine words Obama expressed in May were the result of the LGBT community not worrying about any politician’s political gains. They pressured Obama for “rights, civil rights.”

But does President Obama and the Democratic Party sincerely support and intend to fight on behalf of the LGBT community for rights? Or are these words just being uttered because it is an election year? Do they really plan to take on the GOP and various right wing groups, who remain committed to promoting bigotry toward LGBT people?

The struggle is not over for LGBT people. There still is discrimination. For any LGBT person still seeking acceptance in society—in the community where they live, this is an anthem to sing.

Here’s the song:

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The Dissenter will be putting one of these up every weekday morning. If you have suggestions for songs that should be featured or if you recorded a protest song you think should be featured, email dissenter@shadowproof.wpengine.com.

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Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof Press. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure."