Saturday, April 16, 2016

Twenty Reasons Marilyn Manson Should Run for President

Just as it's never too early in the US to start saving money to cover the ever-increasing, money-gobbling monster that will be your young child's college expenses, it's never too early to start talking about our next presidential election. Sure, we still have the 2016 one going on, but why not look down the road a little bit? After all, the current frontrunners for both major parties have favorability ratings that are far underwater; if we're lucky, maybe the relatively popular Bernie Sanders will manage to upset Clinton (though, as always, that's a long-shot), but Sanders would be our oldest president, and the most anyone can serve is two terms, anyway--so still, why not think down the road a little bit?

Marilyn Manson (taken from Loudwire)
For the 2020 (or perhaps 2024) election, one name sticks out in particular, at least in my mind: Brian Warner. Sound familiar? Probably not, but you may have heard of his stage name, Marilyn Manson. Now, someone best known for being a gender-bending goth industrial metal singer may not seem like the obvious choice for president, but hear me out. Here are some reasons that I think this choice is actually entirely reasonable.
  1. We have a precedent. The current Republican frontrunner is Donald Trump, who's never held political office and is known for being a business magnate and reality show host. We also had Ronald Reagan, who was an actor. So is industrial metal frontman really that insane of a background for a future president? 
  2. He's at least thought about this before. Check out his entrance at the 1997 MTV Video Music Awards. He even had a presidential address ready! If he was that prepared almost 20 years ago, surely he should be ready by 2020. 
  3. He knows his foreign policy. In an interview with Michael Moore, he noted that the Columbine shooting took place the same day as the US launched its heaviest one-day bombing of Kosovo (according to Moore). In 2004, he compared the still-young Iraq War with Columbine. Let's face it: he has a better record of calling out America's warmongering than anyone who's running for president in this election. 
  4. He represents the unrepresented. A big problem in US politics: how do we represent the people who are so disenchanted they've come to hate politics? They're a big chunk of the country--we have one of the lowest voter turnouts in the developed world. So how do give a voice to people so disenchanted they don't come to the polls? Easy: elect one of them. Manson's view of politics is about as pessimistic as the average American's, and he's only voted for president once: for Obama in 2008. Finally we could have someone as openly disenchanted as most of us are.
  5. He's not beholden to either party. I think most people want a president who won't blindly serve whatever political party they're a member of--that explains the appeal of both Trump and Sanders. Well, good news: Manson has made plenty of enemies in both parties, from former Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman to Republican former Secretary of Education Bill Bennett. His general contempt for authority also renders it pretty unlikely he'd let himself be pushed around by any party elites. 
  6. He's been around the world. In 2008, Sarah Palin argued she had foreign policy insight because she could boast of living close to Russia. Manson's toured around the world--both Americas, Europe, Asia, Australia--so, certainly, by that standard he's well-equipped to deal with international relations. He's even performed with German Neue Deutsche Härte band Rammstein, so he's made connections. 
  7. He can bridge the gap between ideological groups. Liberals and leftists can certainly get behind Manson's searing indictments of religious fundamentalism, corporatism, and America's fixation on guns. But on the other hand, his hatred of political correctness might also be appealing to some conservatives. And certainly libertarians can appreciate his condemnation of censorship and criticism of American foreign policy.
  8. He's pretty plainspoken. People are sick of politicians using Orwellian language and vague platitudes--that's why Trump and Sanders are popular. But Manson probably has them both beat. I mean, he's openly compared US presidents to mass murderers
  9. He can engage the younger voters. Younger voters are disenchanted with politics. Bernie Sanders has helped get many of them engaged, but even if he wins, there's got to be someone for him to hand over the reins to eventually. Manson still has a pretty strong following among people in their late teens or twenties, even if the height of his popularity was back in the nineties. 
  10. He's from the American Heartland. Canton, Ohio, to be exact. And hey, Ohio is a swing state, just to add to the appeal. 
  11. He's living the American dream. He grew up middle-class in a small Midwestern city and went on to become a multimillionaire through his own hard work. If you don't look much more closely, it's pretty much pure Horatio Alger, as Manson's late friend the great Hunter S. Thompson would say.
  12. Free-market types should love him. Speaking of him being a multimillionaire, aren't "free market"-loving conservatives always talking about how we should have a successful businessman for president? I mean, that was Mitt Romney's big argument (sure, he did politics, but he "didn't inhale,") and now we have Donald Trump. Well, like I said, unlike those two, Manson actually started from a humble background. Clearly that takes some business savvy. (It actually does--Manson and his band's relentless self-promotion early on helped get them attention from Nine Inch Nails musician Trent Reznor, launching their success). 
  13. He's more believable on LGBT rights than a lot of other candidates. The Republicans, of course, tend to openly oppose LGBT rights. Clinton says she supports gay marriage now, but was on record opposing it up until 2013. Meanwhile, while Manson isn't gay or transgender, he's been cross-dressing for a pretty long time and has engaged in sexual behavior with other men, so he's probably not the type to OK discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. 
  14. He's a very cultured individual. While, to the outsider, Manson might seem crass, his lyrics are full of references to very respectable topics: Shakespeare, Greek mythology, literature, philosophy; we tried the "President-you-can-have-a-beer-with" thing--it didn't work out well. Maybe it's time to go full speed in the opposite direction, and have a President you could have a glass of absinthe with while discussing the ideas of Friedrich Nietzsche. (He even has his own brand of absinthe, for that matter. It seems to still be available, in which case it's worked out better for him than a lot of Trump's business ventures have for Trump.) 
  15. Imagine how the fundies would react. I don't judge people based on their religion, but I've got to admit I'm pretty sick of Christian fundamentalists trying to impose their views on everyone else. Seeing them freak out as someone who has an album called "Antichrist Superstar" becomes president would be very, very gratifying. 
  16. He's a lot better on free speech than a lot of our other choices. Bush signed the PATRIOT Act into law, which has restrictions on who you're allowed to talk to (which the Supreme Court upheld). Obama's been described as the worst threat to press freedom in a generation. And Hillary Clinton once introduced a bill to criminalize flag-burning. Then there's Trump, who wants to beef up libel laws to use them against his critics. Manson loathes censorship, and even used to be a journalist, so he's the guy to trust if you want the First Amendment protected.
  17. Imagine the speeches. If you read some interviews with Manson or look at when he's actually given a speech, you'll know what I'm talking about. His inaugural address would probably be about two and a half hours long, and worth every bizarre, meandering, and yet still insightful, second. 
  18. We'd have someone to end the drug war, finally. The drug war has been a disaster--an ineffectual waste of money that's put a bunch of people in jail for no reason, while failing to reduce the rate of drug addiction. Democrats and Republicans alike have kept it going. Manson's been pretty unabashed about his drug use, so he probably wouldn't be too keen on throwing any more people in jail for nonviolent drug offenses. 
  19. He could use the bully pulpit pretty effectively. With Congress as dysfunctional as it is, we need a president who can get people to rally behind something. Based on footage of his live performances, Manson doesn't seem to have much of a problem getting people riled up.
  20. He's a man of the people. Having had to deal with hate campaigns against him, scapegoating, censorship, and so forth, and having grown up as a nerdy kid from a middle-class family, Manson has an understanding of the downtrodden in society, and he's on their side. Bill Clinton told poor people he felt their pain, but his policies didn't show it. Obama's tried to paint himself as a friend to the average citizen, but in a lot of ways, he's not exactly doing them favors. Marilyn Manson has pretty much always been the target of institutional power, even as a successful musician. Compared to Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, I'd say Manson is the guy to trust if you're one of the marginalized groups in society. 
I realize there might be some concerns people would raise about Manson not really having any political experience, but let's be honest here: we've had plenty of presidents recently who all had political experience, and our country is still in deep shit. So I think it's time to start pushing for Manson to run. He's got better ideas than a lot of other people we've had running in either this election or past ones, and, if nothing else, the campaign rallies would certainly be entertaining. 

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