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Columns > HeadCount

Published: 2008/05/23
by Billie Nichols

Saving the World, One voter at a time

The era of free love is long gone, but has left a generation of young people raised on the ethics of their politically aware, music-loving parents. While in current pop culture, I see less politically or socially conscious music, there is a place where it lives, in much the fashion as it used to. The jamband scene is a community rich in those reminiscent of the 60s and early 70s; where the music is charged with causes of the times, and the attitude is proactive. HeadCount has really helped to foster these notions in a more practical way.
Drawing from a pool of young people who feel social and political responsibility toward their world and country, I believe that HeadCount serves an important purpose and seeks to perpetuate the success of organizations rallying the cry of humanity. When one goes to festivals today, unlike in the 60s, there are a gamut of organizations and people who have donated their time to greater causes. From the Wharf Rats to Conscious Alliance to HeadCount, there is literally something for everyoneand anyoneto rally around.
Today, there is respect amongst fellow volunteers, regardless of their organization, which bands us together as a solid community. Festival-goers of all ages can now see examples and precedents being set within their own counter-culture. Although not as dominant and encompassing as it used to be in the earlier years of the movements conception, one could venture to say that it may be more productive and focused. The people in the scene understand the importance of fundamental rights and HeadCount seeks to preserve one of the most fundamental rights of all: voting.
When I am on the ground registering voters, conversations tend to lean more toward musical interest, and less on political conversation. There is a greater realization of the whole, and less emphasis on the individual thereby making affiliation of party less of a standard. I believe that being non-partisan is a non-partisan issue. At HeadCount, that notion is echoed and achieved in a way that welcomes everyone to become a part of their own world, and not a member of any party except the human one. I must admit, I never feel safer or more accepted than when I am at a concert or festival. I am, literally, free to be. I find hope in this, and the organizations, which breathe life into these events. I do not know if HeadCount and like-minded organizations can help save the world, but I believe that we can, at least, help to give people the tools that they need to begin.

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