Today is Election Day in America and I hope that all of my fellow Americans are heading to the polls to exercise their right to vote! For those people who know me outside of message boards or this blog know that I have been very involved with campaigning. I have always been passionate about politics but did not get involved in a political campaign in a serious way until 2008. In May of 2008, I discovered that John Taylor agreed with me, politically, when he came out for the encore in Chicago wearing an Obama t-shirt. At that moment, I felt nothing but validation. Obviously, this feeling was not shared by all Duranies as some were supporting Obama’s opponent. This led me to seriously consider how political I think Duran should be.
Duran Duran has never been a political band, not like bands like U2. Of course, I knew that they did commercials for organizations like Amnesty International and, obviously, supporting getting food to famine victims in Africa in the 1980s. Yet, none of their songs were about politics or political issues. Even when they began to get more political on their albums, they did it in a very subtle way. Take the song, Finest Hour, for example. My understanding is that song is a reference to a speech given in World War II about how Britain had to stand up against Hitler and even if they lost, they should still be able to say that this was their “finest hour” as a people. From what I heard, Simon’s lyrics wanted to use this reference as a means of standing up to Bush and the Iraq War, which was just beginning at that time. Yet, people could easily listen to that song and assume it was about the band reclaiming its place in the world or about people reclaiming some element that they have been missing. It is a song, like most Duran songs, that can be interpreted in different ways. Is this the way that they should express themselves, politically, by using subtle references in their lyrics or should they be overt like John was in wearing that Obama shirt?
I don’t have the answer to this question. On one hand, I absolutely believe that they should have their own political beliefs and should be able to express them. I wouldn’t want to have to suppress my beliefs just because of the job I do. On the other hand, should they risk alienating part of their fanbase? I can’t imagine how I would have felt if they had been openly supporting McCain, for example. I’m sure that I would have felt distant from them at the very least. Now, I absolutely believe that politics can be an expression of one’s values and core beliefs about people, government, etc., but I also believe that people can have differences of opinion and still be similar at the core. So, where does this leave me? It leaves me, generally, glad that Duran hasn’t been overtly political, for the most part. I need some part of my life to be just for fun, to be carefree because the rest of it, isn’t. I don’t want politics to divide Duranies. After all, there must be something special about Duran since they were/are able to bring all types of people together to form a very dedicated fanbase.