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Protest Song Of The Week: ‘Don’t (Just) Vote’ By Cass McCombs

“We have to excise a malignant cancer from the body politic. But that’s just the beginning. Real politics is what you do before and after you push the lever. You have to keep your shoulder to the wheel: engagement, activism, organizing – that’s what will make the difference.”

This statement by the political scholar Noam Chomsky was included at the
conclusion of “Don’t (Just) Vote,” the latest single by singer-songwriter Cass McCombs.

The song is an update of the tune “Don’t Vote” off McCombs’ 2009 album “Catacombs.”

McCombs described why he updated the tune. “I was compelled to write something for the election and I thought of no better way than to troll myself, laying waste to a much-misunderstood song of mine from over a decade ago, ‘Don’t Vote.’ Most people never made it much further than the title, anyway.”

For this new song, ‘Don’t (Just) Vote,’ the message is clear: Vote, yes, but when you do, imagine the world you would like to see, beyond what appears on your ballot. Harness your imagination and justice becomes inevitable.”

The elections are over (save for a couple of Senate runoffs in Georgia), and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden was declared the winner. Yet, as McCombs pointed out, the result will not has no bearing on the work that must still be done.

Biden is a status quo politician, who doesn’t support the expansion of Medicare to cover all Americans. He is unlikely to do much to address issues such as income inequality, mass incarceration, police brutality, systemic racism, and climate change.

Intuitional injustices do not miraculously go away with the results of an election. Real change is going to come from people making their voices heard and mobilizing to hold elected officials accountable.

CJ Baker

CJ Baker

CJ Baker is a lifelong music fan and published writer. He recently started a website chronicling the historical developments of protest music: ongoinghistoryofprotestsongs.com, and can be found on Twitter @tunesofprotest