Don't live in a battleground state? Don't despair, let these bands cheer you up

November 1, 2012 

It’s election season and I again feel neglected, unwanted and slightly disenfranchised.

Whenever I open the newspaper or flip past cable news on my way to more intellectually nourishing programming like “Jersey Shore,” I see the candidates for president stumping from some familiar locales.

Ohio. Florida. Virginia. North Carolina. Colorado.

These, as we all know too well, are the vaunted battleground states, states upon which yet another race for the White House hangs precariously.

These mystical dystopias teem with undecided voters, people, I’d like to believe, who allow their political indecisiveness to bleed over into their personal lives.

I picture a dozen Ohio voters puzzling over an issue of Consumer Reports in an Akron grocery store, none of them with the slightest idea how to choose between Peter Pan and Jif.

The undecided voter is an easy target but every four years, I find myself envious of his indecisiveness if, for no other reason, than because it earns him loads of facetime with the two men seeking our nation’s highest elected office.

I wouldn’t mind being coddled and fawned over by the campaigns but no, I’m just too darn good at making decisions. And so is everyone in my state.

This has happened before.

My voting life has included stints in Indiana and now South Carolina, two states with lengthy histories as GOP strongholds.

I even lived in Florida for a time, but not the “I-4 Corridor,” where all that delicious attention is but the Panhandle, a region known to Democrats and Republicans alike as Lower Alabama.

I’m an electoral foregone conclusion.

Well, this year, I’m rolling up my sleeves, getting proactive and doing whatever I can to live vicariously through these undecided voters.

If anyone in New Hampshire, Virginia, Wisconsin or North Carolina is reading this, I’d ask you to exercise your power as a person devoid of any decision-making ability whatsoever to do the following things on my behalf.

• Leverage your vote into a verbal commitment from a staffer of either candidate that they will name something after me. Doesn’t matter whether it’s a bridge, a parkway, an overpass, an airport terminal, whatever. This is what America needs.

• Challenge the candidates to do one of those gross restaurant promotions where you have to eat a cheeseburger the size of a manhole cover in an hour or less. Nothing humanizes a future president more than flop sweat followed by hours of televised, violent nausea.

• Make a $43 contribution to both campaigns using only Canadian nickels and dimes. Why not?

That’s it. Those are the things I would do if anyone actually cared how I was voting and I hope someone in one of those states hears my call to action.

This week, in honor of the battleground states, songs from bands who hail from each of these havens of the uncertain and unsure.

They can’t decide which shoes to wear to work in the morning, but they decide presidential elections. Yeah, that makes sense.

• Colorado: The Lumineers, “Stubborn Love” — This song, like most from this Denver trio, is a little sleepy but pretty and powerful nonetheless.

• Florida: Surfer Blood, “Miranda” — And you thought nothing good came from West Palm Beach.

• Iowa: Parlours, “Love Me Good” — A slightly twee but otherwise delightful song from this up-and-coming band from Des Moines.

• New Hampshire: Okkervil River, “Unless It Kicks” — The band’s frontman, Will Sheff, is from Meriden, N.H. That’s all I’ve got. You try finding good music from New Hampshire.

• Ohio: The Black Keys, “Strange Times” — Few bands have done more to improve the rock n’ roll rep of their home state than this Akron, Ohio, duo.

• Virginia: Dave Matthews Band, “Mercy” — Hard to believe that one of the biggest bands of the last 25 years is from, of all places, Charlottesville, Va.

• Wisconsin: Bon Iver, “Perth” — Eau Claire’s Justin Vernon doing his part to dispel the idea that Wisconsin’s only exports are cheese and those hats that look like cheese.

• North Carolina: The Avett Brothers, “Murder in the City” — This Concord, N.C. folk-rock ensemble is helping make North Carolina more than just a place where you will never, ever catch a flight on time.

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