MEGADETH mainman Dave Mustaine has lamented the fact that the the U.S. has become irrevocably fractured along political and ideological lines — Republican/Democrat, liberal/conservative, red/blue, etc. — making it harder for people to engage in civil discourse.
"As a society right now, we're capable of so much more," Mustaine told The Tampa Bay Times. "I've been writing songs for a really long time, and to write a song that's timely and timeless, it's difficult. Right now, if I wrote a song about how our nation is, I pray to God that 20 years from now, people wouldn't say, 'Yeah, things are still like they were in 2019, where everybody was at each other's throat.' I'm sad for our nation right now, with the way everybody's against each other.
Asked if he thinks the world's changed for better or worse since the release of MEGADETH's latest album, 2016's "Dystopia", Mustaine said: "This is going to sound so corny coming from me, but we've forgotten how to love and respect one another. We've got to be able to disagree. I stopped using Twitter. I was using Twitter all the time, and I just backed off it because you can't say anything without somebody dissecting it. I have trepidation speaking with you right now, my friend, and I don't know you, and I don't see you doing anything to hurt me. But some people, they get judged before they even get spoken to. Some people have said stuff about me, and they don't even known me. And it may not hurt me, but it sure the fuck hurt my kids."
Mustaine made headlines in early 2012 when he voiced his support for ultraconservative Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum. He explained at the time that the Pennsylvania politician looked "like he could be a really cool president… kind of like a JFK kind of guy." That same year, he drew ire on social media when he suggested onstage at a concert in Singapore that President Obama was behind the mass shootings in Aurora and at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin.
Mustaine later blamed media outlets for taking his statements out of context, explaining that never said he officially "endorsed" Santorum. As for the Singapore concert, he claimed to have been repeating the theories of Larry Pratt, a pro-gun activist who runs the organization Gun Owners Of America.
Also in 2012, Mustaine revealed his "birther" opinions on a talk show, saying he doubted President Obama was born in the United States. He told radio host Alex Jones: "With all of the proof about his birth certificate being fake… And you see the signs in Kenya that say 'the birthplace of Barack Obama.' Hello?! C'mon, guys. How stupid are we right now?"
Mustaine has consistently denied that he is a Republican, telling Artisan News in a 2012 interview: "I'm an independent, not a Republican — I've never been a Republican. I've always said that. I don't belong to any party — I'm non-partisan. And for me, the sad thing is, instead of voting for the best man, I have to vote for the lesser of two evils."