I remember the media telling us there was "no way" this county would ever elect an actor to the Presidency -- there was just no imaginable way Reagan could win, the pundits insisted.
But he did. Twice.
If there was anything good about the Reagan years, especially during his first term, it was that he was a perfect target for the North American punk rock scene to vent its angry energy toward. The UK punks had both The Queen and Maggie Thatcher to spew their bile upon, but for the first couple of years, this side of the pond had no real galvanizing figure to equal either. Reagan fixed that. So much great music was made in protest of that man: D.R.I.'s spat out "Reaganomics," The Minutemen imagined "If Reagan Played Disco," Canadians D.O.A. chimed in from the great white north with "Fucked Up Ronnie." The Ramones checked in with "Bonzo Goes to Bitburg" while Reagan Youth presented an eponymously titled diatribe. Reagan's presidency provided fuel for hundreds upon hundreds of hardcore bands across the country. And for a while, hatred of Reagan fueled nearly everything Jello Biafra and the Dead Kennedys did. It was perhaps all best summed up with The Pop-O-Pies' wonderful "A Political Song:"
"We don't want your apathy
No fucking government gets down on me.
Can you spare any change? Can you spare any change?
Anti-Reagan and stuff, man, yeah."
So now here we are, 36 years later, and the possibility looms that we may elect a reality-TV star with bad hair and frighteningly hateful ideas to the White House. Donald Trump makes sure we all know how evil and terrible and frightening the Muslims are, and that if we didn't stand up and fight they will infiltrate and destroy us. Illegal immigrants are bringing in crime and taking our jobs. The economy is in ruins and everything is too expensive for the average joe, but hey, no worries, The Donald is here to fix it all. His baseball cap even sports a reassuring phrase: "Make America Great Again."
The media kept telling us there was "no way" this county would ever elect this buffoon to the Presidency -- there was just no imaginable way Trump could win, the pundits insisted.
But he won the Republican nomination, and there are those now saying he could win it all.
So where are the current crop of punks? Trump is ripe for the same musical evisceration, and they keep telling me punk's not dead. So far, we've had to rely on those who were there before: D.O.A. updated their classic as "Fucked Up Donald," and Jello Biafra is at it again with his current band, The Guantanamo School of Medicine, who are now out on the road on their "Nazi Trumps Fuck Off" tour. The seeds are planted, the way has been shown.
A Trump presidency making America great again? Yeah, I don't think so. But if it happens, it just might make punk rock great again. Can you spare any change?