Election season is almost over and I must admit I’m a little disappointed. Not necessarily in our electoral choices – well perhaps that, too – but what I see as massive missed opportunities.
You see, when the truths became self-evident and we all realized it would be Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton entering the ring, I was ready for the fringe benefits that often accompany a hotly contested and deeply divisive political campaign.
I was prepped not just for the political theater the campaigns themselves promised, but the creative fervor that, should history be my guide, was already being readied. Protest songs and sharp satire. Films with a political edge.
But aside from the occasional micro-budget Internet shorts and a recurring Saturday Night Live skit that, in true SNL fashion, grew stale long before it was put to rest, there hasn’t been a lot of outrage funneled into creative output and what little there has been hasn’t garnered the kind of traction I expected.
I was initially encouraged when it was announced that the pioneering rap-rock act Rage Against the Machine would team up with the legendarily outspoken Public Enemy MC Chuck D and Cypress Hill frontman B-Real. On paper, that was some political outrage – equal part Woody Guthrie, Black Sabbath, Malcom X and Bob Marley. But what should have felt like indignation distilled and concentrated instead came off as cashing in on the national zeitgeist.
One of the more interesting projects is the “30 Days, 30 Songs” project developed to release 30 anti-Trump tunes leading up to the election. And while this digital project has attracted some significant names such as Jim James, Death Cab for Cutie and R.E.M., it doesn’t seem to be getting the attention expected of a high-profile project like this.
The same could also be said of Michael Moore in TrumpLand, a stand-up style film by polemic documentarian Moore, best known for his film Roger and Me.
Sadly, the clock has run out on an October surprise. There will, at this point, probably be no Fugazi reunion or Ted Nugent tour in support of their respective candidates.
There will be no We Are the World-style mass chorus singing Make America Great Again or Stronger Together. I suppose the argument could be made that the stories coming out of the campaigns themselves – email investigations and profane interviews, doppelgangers employed during medical emergencies and the famous Mexican wall – were far more surprising and, in their own perverse way, entertaining, than any song could be.
Still, I hold out hope.
Not only are there a few days left before voting finally (and perhaps mercifully) closes, but come Nov. 9, we will have a new president-elect that, regardless of the results, a large number of Americans will be disappointed with.
Four years is a long time. Perhaps one of those disenfranchised will find the seed of inspiration in disappointment.
If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands.
If you’re angry and you know it – write a song.