Interviewed by Jamison Kane
AP.net: Which candidate will you be voting for in the upcoming election and why?
Tim: Unless something changes, I'll be voting for Kerry this fall. I don't think Kerry is a solution to all of our country's problems, but I think he's a vehicle to get us out of the hole that the Bush administration has dug us into and is continuing to dig even deeper. Someone needs to stop GW before the hole gets any bigger. This is not a band endorsement for Kerry, this is my personal viewpoint, and I simply encourage people to vote and have that vote be a product of their own decision, not the decision of the singer of some band.
AP.net: With regard to the White House and the next president, would any democrat be better than any republican, in your view? Are there exceptions?
Tim: If I had my way, Dennis Kucinich would be president! But unfortunately, in order to be president you have to be a millionaire with lots of corporate friends. Could any democrat be a better president? This is a ridiculous question, and of course there would be exceptions: like a neo-nazi, a racist, a sexist, a relative of George Bush, Adolf Hitler, etc.
I don't even think it's a question of Republican or Democrat, Bush is simply an idiot as a person! I wouldn't have even graduated high school with his public speaking skills! Didn't they teach that back then? Even Republicans are embarrassed by Bush, and rightfully so, he is representing them.
Pre-emptive war is an insane concept in this day and age. Absolutely insane. Hussein was a bad guy, but there are lots of bad guys in the world right now that we are ignoring. Why aren't we at war in Sudan where the Sudanese government has sponsored the ethnic cleansing in Darfur of 30,000 tribespeople this year!? The difference is that Hussein had oil. We've become modern day vikings. Innocent civilians have died by the thousands at the hands of Americans, that's who we are now and we have to deal with it.
AP.net: Is it responsible for voters to choose their candidate on the one issue that is most important to them (i.e., a person who votes for Bush because of his stance on abortion, while they disagree with his other policies)?
Tim: One can't help but feel especially passionate about specific issues. I'm not about to tell a woman who was raped that it is irresponsible to only care about a woman's right to choose. I'm not about to tell an environmentalist or a pacifist what they should care about more then just what's most important to them. The issues that resonate with us personally are the things that make up who we are as people.
Luckily, Bush has a bad record with just about everything he's had his hands in, so there isn't a lot of choice out there.
AP.net: Describe the roll that you feel music plays in rallying the youth of the nation to a political viewpoint. Do you see what you do as a necessity in today's world?
Tim: I do see it as a necessity. But that doesn't mean everyone else should, you need to make up your own mind about that. I feel like I have been given the privilege to hold a microphone in front of masses of people almost everyday of the year, and with that privilege comes responsibility. The punk rock I grew up on emphasized social awareness and change, standing up for yourself, and speaking out against what you disagree with. This is the torch that I've chosen to carry on to the next generation of punk rock.
Music was my rallying point, and I owe it to those bands to pass on that legacy, and I feel good doing it.
AP.net: What do you consider to be the most important issue facing young voters in the upcoming election and why?
Tim: There are so many issues. What's important for people to understand, is that 9/11, however senseless and irrational, was retaliation from years of shitty foreign policy by our government. We've been the bully of the middle-east for so long that someone decided to push back. So did we learn? No, since then, we've only stepped our bully techniques. Now I feel like it is only a matter of time before another 9/11 hits, because instead of learning a lesson from it, we only amplified the hate and violence outside our border.
Right now, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi and Afghanistan children are growing up without parents, brothers, sisters, and friends. They are growing up in a war-torn country all but destroyed. But they didn't do anything to deserve it. They had nothing to do with 9/11, they had nothing to do with supposed "weapons of mass destruction," and they had nothing to do with Saddam Hussein dictatorship. Hussein and Bin Laden are still alive. But these innocent civilians are dead. This next generation of victims are growing up with a hate for American deeply instilled, and this will only manifest into the next 9/11, when we are in those buildings, or maybe our sons and daughters are. We have secured our position as a terrorist target for years to come. Because of the Bush Administration and there careless decisions, we may never be safe again.
AP.net: Is it responsible for political bands to use their music to influence the minds of very young listeners (12-14 years old) who may only rally behind the band's message simply because they idolize the band, and not because they believe in the cause?
Tim: This world and the media uses its influence to teach children to be consumers, to not question authority, to disrespect women, that the environment isn't as important as SUVs, that violence is the answer to international problems, and that if you're going to get anywhere you have to "play the game."
But I should keep my mouth shut in fear of influencing a 12-14 year old to make up their own mind? Wake up.
We talk about what's going on in the world. If we didn't do that, that would be irresponsible. While the rest of the world is trying to turn 12-14 year olds into perfect little consumers who don't question anything, we are stressing a message of making up your own mind, even if that means making up your own mind about how you feel about Rise Against. That's fine. Everyone should be encouraged to make up their own mind, that is not irresponsible.
AP.net: How do you feel about movie stars getting involved in politics (i.e. Gary Coleman and Ah-nold the Gubernator)? On one hand, it is the write of the private citizen to run for election in public office, so why should certain
people be denied that right due to their fame? On the other, is it irresponsible for them to make this move into office while the eyes of every tabloid are constantly on them? Do candidates such as these make a mockery of public elections, in your view?
(Idea for question submitted by AP.net forum member VanillaClothing)
Tim: Americans first need to deal with their own idolatry of Hollywood stars before they attack the stars themselves. Americans are unable to separate the real Arnold from the movie star Arnold. The real Arnold is a womanizing racist, but our infatuation with Hollywood has secured him a place in government. That's our fault people.
AP.net: Have you seen Fahrenheit 9/11 and what are your thoughts on the film? Is it unfair to attack a public official by using footage that is largely taken out of context, in order to influence the minds of the audience through comedy? What do you think of Michael Moore and his agenda? Should the public trust the words of a man so clearly biased against the Bush White House?
(Idea for question submitted by AP.net forum member finch313)
Tim: Why the fuck are political documentaries made other then to inform and influence its audience? Gimme a break. Should we not be biased against the Bush White House? Should the public trust the words of George Bush instead, so "clearly-biased" against a Kerry White House? Should we trust no one and create no dialogue whatsoever, and not make incredibly important movies like Fahrenheit 9/11 that exposes information on the Iraqi war that Fox will never show you?
It's amazing to me that we are bombarded with brainwashing media messages and public relation campaigns everyday, but as soon as someone offers an alternate opinion, we talk about it being "out of context" or a specific attack on something. If there were a hundred more movies like "9/11," it wouldn't even begin to balance out the bullshit we are fed everyday by orporate owned media conglomerates. Media that refuses to show you casualties and destruction in Iraq. War sounds great when you see it on American TV. Long live Michael Moore and the people that follow in his footsteps.
As Americans, we watch TV that makes us feel comfortable, we watch movies that make us feel comfortable, not ones that make us think and deal with the reality we live in. That's why people are so offended by Fahrenheit 9/11. Because it questions your lazy-ass. Go see "Super-Size Me", "The Corporation", and "Fog Of War" while your at it.
AP.net: Let's talk about the band's involvement with PETA. What made you want to get involved in the first place? Do you agree with all of their doctrine, even the most extremist of it? Some of their policies, if viewed by the average American, would appear to be a little out there. Is your support for the organization unconditional?
(Idea for question submitted by AP.net forum member finch313)
Tim: Extremist? PETA is trying to eliminate the senseless pain, suffering and murdering of innocent animals. I don't see anything "extremist" about that. The "average American" is a brainwashed consumer, so I understand where anything that they don't see in a football game commercial could be seen as "a bit out there." They think punk rock is "a bit out there." They think mohawks and screaming into microphones and driving 6 hours to see your favorite band to spend the night getting shoved around a pit is "a bit out there." Do we give a shit? Punk rock has taught me compassion and
open-mindedness, and animal rights are part of living in a sustainable
AP.net: Would you support anyone who votes against Bush, regardless of whether or not they know the facts (e.g. they are voting against him because, say, all their friends do, when in reality they don't know about the issues)? Is an "ignorant" vote against Bush still better than an "informed" vote for him?
Tim: Would I support ignorance? Of course not! Would I support an un-informed decision? Of course not!
This question is redundant and petty, c'mon people. There's a big picture, and your punk rock elitist politics of "I know more than you know," are getting in the way of something way more important. If you really have been under a fucking rock over the last four years and don't know shit about the Bush Administration, then get off this website and spend less time reading band interviews and more time paying attention to what's happening around you.
Bottom line here, I love this country, I feel proud to be an American. That's why its so sad to see current administration dragging our name through the dirt. That's why things have to change, and they will.
Thanks to all the Rise Against fans out there, you rule. We'll see you this fall with Bad Religion.
Four more years George Bush? Try three more fucking months.