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September 2, 2008

Why Obama, by Ryan Walsh (Hallelujah the Hills)

Why Obama is a series of guest essays by musicians and authors, where they share their support for Democratic United States presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama and offer arguments why he needs to be elected president of the United States.

Ryan Walsh is the frontman for Hallelujah the Hills.

In his own words, here is Ryan Walsh's Why Obama essay:

I've been pretty conservative about exactly how much hope I'm willing to muster for the prospects of an Obama presidency. I've been walking around asking myself, "How could the money men behind the military industrial complex and the oil industry let a candidate who may spoil their record profits get this far in an election if he's not already in their pocket?" I've yet to come up with a satisfactory answer.

Yes, Barack Obama is obviously intelligent, a very compelling speaker, and it's clear he has a strong conscious. But what if we end up with someone who's completely charismatic and convincing but continues to offer us a buffet of lies and war? This would bring about an unbearable new pain which would also be confusing and disarming-- like being pick pocketed by a freshly crowned homecoming queen.

And so, I'm hopeful, I'm cautiously optimistic, and I'm worried. All these kids wearing Obama shirts like he's a comic book hero scare the shit out of me. Like them, I too am relieved to have the option to vote for someone who doesn't make me want to scratch my own eyeballs out, but hero worship has no place in a citizen/presidential-candidate relationship. Even our best politicians must be kept in check by an informed, questioning, vigilant citizenry. So, you could argue [and I will], that if Obama wins this election, our greatest challenges are just beginning.

This isn't just a bit of election season exaggeration by the way. An informed citizenry relentlessly questioning the intentions and actions of its government is the only way a democracy functions successfully. Thomas Jefferson told us, "When the people fear the government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty." Do you think the government fears a lazy, debt ridden people who can easily generate larger ratings for an episode of American Idol than it can the Democratic National Convention? Come on, let's get it together, make Thomas Jefferson proud, and scare the living shit out of our government. It'll be fun and rewarding. I promise.

And guess what? In a way Obama invited us to do just that in his speech the other night. He said, and I quote, "One of the things that we have to change in our politics is the idea that people cannot disagree without challenging each other's character and each other's patriotism. The times are too serious, the stakes are too high for this same partisan playbook." Yes! Finally! And so it is that the worst, most insipid, most effective strategy for neutralizing political discourse has been dismantled! He's telling us that this country is strong enough to weather the most extreme criticisms and examinations. So let's do it. And let's start today.

This band's name is Hallelujah The Hills and we approve this message. Here's a John Lennon song that we recorded on a boom box in our practice space the other day. It's called "Bring On The Lucie (Freeda People)" and I think it's a lot stronger than protest-staple "Give Peace A Chance." You can read the lyrics and you can hear an MP3 of our recording of it:

Hallejujah the Hills: "Bring on the Lucie (Freeda People) (John Lennon cover)" [mp3]

Ryan Walsh and Hallelujah the Hills links:

Hallelujah the Hills' website
Ryan Walsh interviews Cassie Berman and Joe Marrett
Ryan Walsh's Largehearted Boy Note Books essay
Ryan Walsh interviews Jami Attenberg at Largehearted Boy
Jami Attenberg interviews Ryan Walsh at Largehearted Boy

Barack Obama link:

Barack Obama presidential campaign website

also at Largehearted Boy:

other Why Obama essays
Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
guest book reviews
musician/author interviews