It’s Voting Time!

Beat on the Street

Volume CVIII, No. 10October, 2008

This month we asked members why it’s important to vote and who they’re voting for. The responses are below. Please note that we received no responses in favor of John McCain. If you’d like to continue the discussion, you may send a letter to the editor. Letters must be 300 words or less and can be e-mailed to Mikael Elsila at

I’m voting for Barack Obama because it is good to think that someone has come along that has hope, idealism and vision about what our county can become. The past eight years have been a nightmare. The U.S. has lost all credibility here and abroad. Personally, I am embarrassed to have been any part of this mess. I would like to live my older years believing that something better is possible, that American people will still be capable of hearing, loving and learning beautiful music and not be so stressed out and angry about the miserable economic and tragic social events that surround them that they all just…give…up…!

Mimi Stern-Wolfe 

If you don’t vote, no matter how you feel about the Democratic candidate, we may be subjected to four more years of Republican attacks on the gains labor has made under Democratic administrations in the last 76 years.

Murray Rothstein

I’m voting for Barack Obama, basically because I pay attention to the issues and how the candidates deal with them. Obama, while not perfect, deals with most issues in a way that will benefit me, not some millionaires or a big corporation.

I’m also glad to be living in the 19th Congressional District, so I’ll be able to vote once again for fellow 802 member John Hall, who also reflects most of my views.

Both of these candidates disprove Frank Zappa’s famous quote that “Politics is the entertainment division of the military-industrial complex.”

Walter Barrett

I feel it is crucial for every citizen of voting age to be a part of the political process, regardless of who they vote for. This is especially true since there is the electoral college as well as the popular vote. Barack Obama seems to be the stronger candidate as far as standing up for the rights of working people, and mending America’s relationship with the rest of the world. And Michelle Obama would make an excellent First Lady.

Catherine Russell

Of course it is important for every American citizen to vote. How rare, though, that the two selected candidates of our still-very-much-two-party system present us with a fleshed-out plan for arts organizations before they are actually elected. And then… it’s often touch-and-go from there. I am personally an independent voter, but would have voted for Hillary Clinton had she clinched the nomination. Here was a woman with solid experience and ideas (and a positive history in relation to arts organizations), now reduced to “helpmeet” status vis-à-vis America’s preferred male political figures. Good that she is still New York’s state senator. Let’s see, is Ralph Nader still running? I may vote for him, if so. One of the few enduring figures in America’s political history who fought for and continues to fight for real change, rather than presenting us with horror stories disguised as pretty platitudes (that are really more-of-the-same), or gospel-esque pie-in-the-sky.

Tamara Cashour

This is one of the most important elections of our lives. We have a chance to end the disastrous Republican reign by electing a bright new hope, Barack Obama.

I say this in spite of the fact that no one my wife and I have ever voted for has won an election. Jimmy Carter won because we opted for John Anderson. Bill Clinton won because we had just moved and neglected to change our voter registration.

Still, undaunted, we will cast our votes for Obama. He is better educated and more cultured than his rival, and more likely to support the arts.

David W. Moore

The Republicans have trashed this country. Barack Obama has the energy, vision and wisdom to lead us out of the mess that Bush and company have created. He is the future — a new kind of leader for a new century. I will not only vote for Obama, but will do everything else I can to help get him elected. Volunteering is very easy now. You can make calls to battleground states right from home by going to and signing up.

Bill Ochs

If we don’t take action and if we only sit around and complain, we are contributing to the world’s problems. We need to observe, discuss issues and then vote — or nothing will change. I am voting for Obama as he is an energized and an intelligent leader with a fresh outlook. I also appreciate his ability to get out young voters.

Jon Berger

If we don’t vote, we have no say in our government! We also need to get involved in local politics: people who actively participate in their community can make quite a difference. I am voting for Barack Obama, because although I wish he had more experience, he is our only hope for health care and peace.

Carolyn Clark

It is especially important to vote now more than ever. First of all, we are sadly again in a time of war and widespread economic crisis, so as an old peacenik I will certainly cast my vote for Obama and Biden, who will undoubtedly put a faster end to the ongoing war. It’s critical for all AFM members to vote: we are the people who make music, not war. (I am especially proud of the New York Philharmonic’s recent tour to North Korea. It showed the world what a powerful type of diplomacy our music makers can bring to the international arena during these troubled times we are living in today. Bravo to Maestro Lorin Maazel and the Philharmonic!)

I am super lucky to live in Manhattan Plaza where we have the polls conveniently located in the Ellington Room, our public gathering room. It is always my pleasure to come down before 6 a.m. and help with the setup of the polling booths and be one of the very first people in our building to vote. Not surprisingly, our building is largely Democratic. It is especially important to get out the younger voters, so I’m putting out the call to all musicians and AFM members to make sure to get your vote in. It is our democratic right to do so.

Jon Hammond