It's Time to Start Writing a Lot More Protest Songs

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Dear Houston musicians,

Like most of you, I was disappointed with the outcome of the 2016 U.S. presidential election. While there were plenty of reasons to oppose Hillary Clinton, her adversary’s inexperience, inflammatory rhetoric and insensitivity seemed to all but ensure a win for the Democratic nominee. That is, of course, if you had any faith in the validity of exit polls.

Even the most conservative Houstonians would have preferred to vote for a different candidate than the one the GOP eventually sponsored. Ted Cruz won the Texas primary, after all, beating Donald Trump by a healthy 17.1 percentage points back in March. But Cruz (and Marco Rubio and John Kasich, for that matter) didn’t carry enough weight nationwide, and Trump eventually won the Republican Party’s nomination.

He promised to protect our borders, scrutinize (and, in some cases, sue) media outlets and upset the establishment. His supporters were wide-ranging, from resolute Republicans concerned with future Supreme Court justices to David Duke and other white nationalists.

While many voters held their noses and voted a straight Republican ticket, others reveled in the idea of telling people with different skin tones, “Get out of my country.” But as much as I mourn his election, I refuse to believe that everyone who voted for him was a misogynistic, homophobic, backwoods racist. (Worth noting, I wouldn't have celebrated a Clinton victory either.)

Donald J. Trump, much to the dismay of roughly half the country, is now the president-elect of the United States of America. Beginning in January 2017, he will live in the White House, lead the executive branch of our government and serve as commander-in-chief of the U.S. Armed Forces.

One week removed from the election, media outlets nationwide have offered plenty of insight into Trump’s victory and the likelihood of the president-elect delivering on his many promises. As it turns out, the wall along the southern U.S. border probably won’t happen, and the Affordable Care Act is likely to be tweaked rather than dismantled.

Despite his inexperience, it would seem Trump understood the tactic of grandstanding to get elected only to renege on most of his promises after the fact.

Protests have been carried out nationwide with many dissenters shouting, “Not my president” as they march through the streets. But even as citizens voice their dissent in an eerily similar fashion to the Republicans they condemned eight years ago, something seems to be missing from the mix: Protest music.

Back in early October, author Dave Eggers launched the "30 Days, 30 Songs" project, which released a new song opposing the notion of a Trump presidency each day through Election Day. Notable tracks include Death Cab for Cutie’s “Million Dollar Loan,” Franz Ferdinand’s “Demagogue” and Cold War Kids’ “Locker Room Talk.”

In a similar vein, I’d like to know who’s going to write the next great protest song. And could it be a Houston artist?

In dark times, many of us — myself included — turn to music for solace, and in a city filled with so many talented musicians, I think it would be great to hear the local scene’s thoughts on a Trump presidency through song. Actually, local rapper BeatKing and indie-rockers the Wheel Workers have already weighed in, but there's always room for more.

So here’s to you, Houston. I know you’re all busy with other endeavors, but judging by your Facebook updates, most of you are none too pleased with the results of the U.S. presidential election. Here’s hoping you can find some time to put your genius to work and exorcise a few of those post-election demons.

But if you want to write a song or two sticking up for our new president, that’s your God-given right as an American citizen as well.

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