In case you didn’t hear, Neil Young pulled his music from Spotify this past week after he had given an ultimatum to Spotify. He essentially said it is either his music or Joe Rogan, an extreme right-wing zealot. His premise, from my perspective was since Rogan is a large spreader of lies, or what is now known as disinformation, to the masses, it was time to take a stand and say, “No More.”
If you are like me, I’d never even heard of Neil Young before all this started happening. I do have a newfound respect for him though. It takes a lot of courage at any time, but especially now, to stand up to the MAGA masses and the corporate interests that back them. Joni Mitchell has also taken the step to remove her music from Spotify. She is the first major artist to remove her music, which has millions of followers on Spotify.
There are so many regular people who are also standing with these two artists that they essentially crashed Spotify’s cancellation page. It was so overwhelmed, Spotify actually stopped canceling subscriptions, causing an even larger stir. Spotify’s stock has apparently fallen between 15-25% since the announcement of siding with Rogan.
As a writer/blogger, I do firmly believe everyone has a right to state their opinion. But an opinion is far different than spreading lies, excuse me, disinformation, which causes harm to society and the physical health of our country. Just as one can state their opinion, there are consequences to all opinions and statements we make, just as those companies that carry spreaders of lies may also suffer consequences. Spotify, and many other companies have learned this over the years.
Which, to get to my actual point, is where the power of people lie. We can’t compete with fundraising of the ultra-rich in light of Citizens United. We can’t compete as an individual voice in swaying the practices of big business in buying politicians and directing the “bribed” politician on how to vote. We the people just don’t have that kind of clout in our current capitalist and oligarchical hierarchy.
We do have collective power. When we come together to cancel subscriptions from companies such as Spotify, or decide not to shop at certain big businesses, we can and do have impact. When we all begin to use our voices by writing and calling our elected representatives, we can and do have impact. When we gather in protest and raise a united voice, we can and do have impact.
Most importantly, when we register to vote and then actually show up to cast our vote, we can and do have impact. Georgia and what Stacey Abrams did there in turning out the vote for now Senators Warnock and Osoff proves this point. People waited in hours and hours long lines. They had to overcome all kinds of voter suppression tactics to register and then to vote. In spite of all the obstacles, they showed up at the polls and cast the necessary votes.
For many years now the Republican party has seen fewer and fewer people registering as Republicans (Side note: The same has been happening to the Democrats as well, just not in as large a proportion). Democrats and Independents far out number Republicans, and definitely out number the far extreme right wing voters of the Republican (Trumpist) party. It may also be that young people are starting to pay more attention and are waking up to the fact their lives are directly affected by elected officials.
They may have finally realized if they want to live in a free, equal, and just society in a democracy, they will have to help create it at the ballot box. They have also begun to realize the power of social media, and are deftly, and strategically, starting to use it. Examples of this have been when they made it appear a million people were going to show up at a rally for Trump, which in the end had a few thousand spectators show up. Or more recently, in how they are standing up to the Virginia Governor’s gestapo-style phone line to report teachers who are teaching our actual history.
My hope for us saving our democracy has diminished greatly due to Trumpists, and the whole of the insurrectionists, still not being held accountable. However, I am feeling a little more hopeful lately in how people are starting to wake-up to what is happening. That finally, maybe the silent majority, the sleeping giant, will finally awake to the gradual rise of fascism and authoritarianism, and will become active at the local, state, and national level.
Maybe, just maybe, more people will start to stand up and speak out. More influential people will take on corporate America and greed, and do the right thing over profits. More people will become poll workers. More people will donate to politicians and organizations helping to register people maneuvering the maze created to suppress voters. More people will truly and really show up at the polls in such overwhelming numbers that the Republicans will have no choice but to accept their loss, and honor the will of the people.