In an attempt to be a more hopeful voice of reason in a cacophony of confusion, Cass McCombs urges us in his newest single “Don’t (Just) Vote,” to think a little more deeply about our choices and asks us to meditate not just on the power to elect, but also to enact.
Building on the theme of his 2011 song, “Don’t Vote,” McCombs revisits the adolescent complications and strange isolating feelings he had about Election Day to elaborate further on his opinions about social activism, social action and our overall power to shape the country we live in.
Featuring a monologue about civil responsibility by writer Noam Chomsky and interlacing vocals from other artists, including Angel Olsen & Bob Weir, the song weaves similarly themed perspectives through a steady and simple driving beat.
“I was compelled to write something for the election and I thought of no better way than to troll myself, laying waste to a much-misunderstood song of mine from over a decade ago, ‘Don’t Vote’,” McCombs explains. “Most people never made it much further than the title, anyway. For this new song, ‘Don’t (Just) Vote,’ the message is clear: Vote, yes, but when you do, imagine the world you would like to see, beyond what appears on your ballot. Harness your imagination and justice becomes inevitable.”
We’ve heard more than ever this election year how crucial it is to vote. We’ve been urged to make sure that the right people get elected so that our country and its democratic system can sustain itself.
But past the elections, McCombs asks, what are you doing to make sure your country, or the world in general, is a safe and fair place? The act of voting is a powerful tool and our constitutional right, but it takes imagination and maintenance past the ballot boxes to supply real, lasting change.
Words: Patti Sanchez