A couple of days ago my son started singing along to “Kill the Poor” by the Dead Kennedys. Two things dawned on me. First off, I was so proud of my boy for singing along to good music. Second, was the realization of my influence in him. Here he is, two years old, singing along to a song that is about class warfare. This is my kid. Mine. Every time I turn my music on in the van (hey if I’m in the captain’s seat and there are no other people of equal rank, ie my wife Katie, I control the music. End of discussion. And no that is not fascist.) these kids are soaking it in, learning, absorbing my politics.
The first and only time I saw former front man to the Dead Kennedys, Jello Biafra, in person was at a Green Party Rally at the Congress theater in 2001. It was the birthplace of me thinking politically. Fresh out of high school and in my first year at community college. It all started the day that George W. Bush held a campaign event at College of DuPage in the Art building’s courtyard. I wasn’t able to get to my classes since the building went on lockdown as soon as he showed up. There were snipers in the roof. I had nothing better to do, so I joined up with the Campus Greens group that was setting up a priest march around campus. Who did I bump into but my future wife who I hadn’t really seen since graduating. She was there to observe and cause a little hell. She joined in with our “BUSH AND GORE MAKE ME WANT TO RALPH!!” chants, got in people’s faces and vehemently argued for women’s right to choice. She doesn’t know it, but I was in love with her right then and there.
We then met up again at the Campus Greens organized rally at the Congress. Listened to Jello Biafra, cornel West, Ani Difranco, and Ralph Nader speak to an audience of young people that hadn’t even learned why they were pissed off yet. I was now a third party supporting, young leftist and the music I had been listening to for years suddenly made more sense than ever.
Flash forward a dozen years later and I’m sitting in the parking lot of the walgreens in my home town listening to my 2yo son sing “Kill the Poor”. If we can get this next generation thinking critically about the system at 2, then we might actually be changing the world in ways we could have only dreamed about when we were standing in that crowd at the Congress theater all those years ago.
Recommended track list:
Dead Kennedys: Kill the Poor
NOFX: Murder the Government
Strike Anywhere: Riot of Words