During a recent interview with American Rock Scene, singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, poet and political activist Serj Tankian, shared his views on the upcoming presidential election. Speaking about the two-party system that dominates American politics, Tankian said, “Here’s the thing: if you want more choices, you have to create more choices. We need more parties, and that’s been the case for many, many years. Even the communist party of the Soviet Union had two sides of the same coin; they had kind of a liberal side and a conservative side, they were kind of like two parties, kind of like the Democrats and Republicans, in different ways, obviously. But I point that out just to say that with two parties, it’s not much of a democracy. But what makes it less of a democracy is money in politics, the K Street lobbying firms and groups like Citizens United, who make corporations into people.”
He continued, “The real problem isn’t just the choice of candidates, it’s what’s happening around it. The money in there. The electoral system. We really need a healthy left-wing party in this country like the Green Party or — I’m down to start a socialist party because President Obama is not socialist. The Republicans are calling him socialist and I’m like, ‘Come on.’ The guy made legislation where you have to buy insurance from private entities. That’s not socialism, there’s no public option. Most of his policies are centrist, just to the right of center, sometimes left of center. That’s not socialism, but apparently, America has no idea what socialism is.”
Asked what he thinks about the religious beliefs of the candidates, Serj said, “I’m not as concerned about the candidate religious beliefs as I am their policies. Mitt Romney‘s policies are… Well, first of all, Mitt Romney has gone back and forth between so many different policies. First he supported health care in Massachusetts, and then he turned a 360 and said, ‘I don’t like it anymore. I was wrong. Everything I thought, was wrong, I repudiate.’ He’s just trying to get the right-wingers on his side, but ultimately they are failed policies of the past. It hasn’t worked for America. It’s left us in debt, it’s left us in wars. And the fact that he actually even said that he doesn’t care about 47 percent of America. I would fucking toss him off the ticket now. That’s offensive. His answer was that it wasn’t a classy way of explaining it, [but] he didn’t even refute it. He admitted saying those things.”
Serj also spoke about Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, who was blasted by RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE‘s Tom Morello in an op-ed piece for Rolling Stone after Ryan listed the guitarist’s band as one of his favorites, despite their hardcore leftist leanings.
“[Ryan] didn’t use RAGE‘s music, but he said he was a big fan,” Serj said. “And I actually think he does like it, but the thing is he never actually paid attention to the lyrics. He never paid attention to what they are trying to say with the songs and what they stand for. And that’s kind of scary, because if you don’t know what RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE stands for in the United States of America, where the fuck have you been?”
He continued, “I was on the East Coast on tour with SYSTEM [OF A DOWN], and I read what Tom had posted and I e-mailed Tom and said, ‘Bravo. That’s one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever read this year.’ The way he put it was so incredible. He could have just said, ‘You should not like my music because we don’t stand for that,’ but he literally laid into him, and I was like, ‘Fucking beautiful!'”