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Prophet of the disenfranchised

November 21st, 2003 · No Comments

Ah, just as I was bemoaning how boring Washington elections are, as opposed to Louisiana’s recent gubernatorial campaign (well, it helped that I knew one of the candidates from college) here comes Krist Novoselic, of Nirvana fame, to run for Lieutenant Governor, against an incumbent from his own party nonetheless….

From Thursday’s Seattle Times
Lt. Gov. Novoselic? Rocker likes how it sounds

Grunge-rock pioneer Krist Novoselic says he may run for lieutenant governor in what would be the next step of a transition from rock star to politician.

Novoselic, a founder and bass player of the seminal band Nirvana and more recently an activist Democrat, is enough of a politician already to be wary about facing off against fellow Democrat Lt. Gov. Brad Owen, a two-term incumbent. But he’s thinking seriously about the intra-party challenge, is talking to party leaders and says he does not want to go through 2004 as a spectator.

…Now I have to say I know little about Nirvana. Don’t own an album but did recently check one out of the library and recognized a few tunes I must have heard somehow. I do remember where I was when Kurt Cobain was found dead. I know a little trivia about the band but that’s about it.

And I’ve got mixed feelings about celebrities running for political office. The fact that they don’t have to work for name recognition seems unfair, unlike John Doe candidate. (any California voters out there care to say anything about this?!) I’m concerned if we as a country are developing a trend of entertainers running for office: will the beginnings of political careers be born on a stage or theater? What kind of candidates will this trend create? Then again, our country, I think, was not created for career politicians. The idea that anyone should be able to run for office, be elected as a representative, has gotten drowned in a sea of bureaucracy. And I appreciate that Novoselic wants to get involved and to speak to those who feel “disenfranchised”, those who have “tuned out”…

“Nirvana was a political band,” he said. “And we were the prophets of the disenfranchised. We spoke to the disenfranchised because we ourselves felt that way.”

He promoted Super Districts in a speech earlier this month at Portland State University.

“Once democracy becomes predictable and a formula to sustain the establishment, people become cynical, stop voting and tune out,” he said in the speech. “The time has come for the new wave in American politics. The time has come for a ‘Full Representation’ democracy.”

Ah, but the question is, will the disenfranchised tune into what Nirvana’s bassist is playing? Will the people listen to their prophet?

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