Tom Morello performs at the National Nurses United rally and march against NATO in Daley Plaza. | Rich Hein~Sun-Times
Freshly minted Republican vice presidential candidate, avowed conservative and P-90X maniac budget wonk Paul Ryan has a Rage problem.
Rage Against the Machine, that is.
In what has become standard to the public vetting of candidates, Ryan was asked who's on his iPod and, surprisingly, for a number of reasons, he answered that the politically charged, extreme leftist band Rage Against the Machine was in heavy rotation.
All well and good -- unless you're Libertyville native Tom Morello, who also happened to be the guitarist for the '90s poiliti-rockers. Morello took his incredulity to the keyboard and penned an op/ed for Rolling Stone that wonders whether Ryan has ever actually listened to lyrics from the band's songs, that include such ditties as Bullet in the Head, Know Your Enemy, Killing in the Name and The Darkness of Greed.
Paul Ryan's love of Rage Against the Machine is amusing, because he is the embodiment of the machine that our music has been raging against for two decades. Charles Manson loved the Beatles but didn't understand them. Governor Chris Christie loves Bruce Springsteen but doesn't understand him. And Paul Ryan is clueless about his favorite band, Rage Against the Machine.
Ryan claims that he likes Rage's sound, but not the lyrics. Well, I don't care for Paul Ryan's sound or his lyrics. He can like whatever bands he wants, but his guiding vision of shifting revenue more radically to the one percent is antithetical to the message of Rage.
. . .
Don't mistake me, I clearly see that Ryan has a whole lotta "rage" in him: A rage against women, a rage against immigrants, a rage against workers, a rage against gays, a rage against the poor, a rage against the environment. Basically the only thing he's not raging against is the privileged elite he's groveling in front of for campaign contributions.
. . .
But Rage's music affects people in different ways. Some tune out what the band stands for and concentrate on the moshing and throwing elbows in the pit. For others, Rage has changed their minds and their lives. Many activists around the world, including organizers of the global occupy movement, were radicalized by Rage Against the Machine and work tirelessly for a more humane and just planet. Perhaps Paul Ryan was moshing when he should have been listening.
A sample of Rage's work, if you're unfamiliar. And, as with most Rage songs, it's not terribly safe for work: