In a recent interview with KNAC.com, OTEP frontwoman/namesake Otep spoke about the group's involvement with the Rock the Vote movement and their views on the upcoming presidential election. Several excerpts from the interview follow:
KNAC.com: How do you feel about certain artists such as Linda Ronstadt being villified due to their political beliefs and their willingness to use their celebrity to express themselves?
Otep: "It's frustrating and infuriating to see people react like that when it's our right and duty to dissent — especially during war times. Who says that you aren't supposed to challenge a President during war times? That's bullshit. That's when you should be opposing him and double-checking. Especially when we have some asshole in office who when given a chance to fight for his country during Vietnam used his parents' privilege and their name to get out of it and hide in Texas. There are a lot of things I don't respect, but I especially don't respect people who act without experience. Add Dick Cheney too — that guy got five deferments from Vietnam. He just says, 'I had better things to do.' Better things? What about now? What about these guys? You're sending them to fight, and for what? There are no weapons of mass destruction. There is no reason."
KNAC.com: There are billions of dollars worth of reasons.
Otep: "Well, it's totally about that, but then you have a guy like John Kerry who came from privilege, but actually volunteered to serve his country. He didn't even have to get drafted — he volunteered. With Michael Moore and 'Fahrenheit 9/11', I think the balance is there. I've seen it, and it's fantastic. It's important to balance the equilibrium of the nation when you have guys like Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly and the Fox News channel spewing all this propaganda. The whole attitude is that 'Don't bother thinking — we'll think for you.' "
KNAC.com: You mean Bill O'Reilly and his "no spin zone" — there's a misnomer. How much does it bother you that there is still a significant portion of the population — who in the face of a nation crisis that even dwarfs Watergate in its severity — chooses to sit back, not think, cover their head with the flag and wait for George to lead us out of the darkness?
Otep: "I think that's the big issue. One of the things people were questioning before we went out on Ozzfest was how accepting people were going to be of our 'Warhead' video and our anti-Bush message. The response has been overwhelming positive. I think people are seeing a huge shift in support. That is especially true of the people who matter the most — the people that are eligible for the draft, and they will reinstate the draft next year. They have to — membership in the military is down and in order for us to safely spread out and protect the homeland, there is no way that can happen unless they reinstate the draft. They will do it really smoothly too — they'll just say, 'We only need 10,000 more troops,' but when they reach that, then they'll say that they need 15,000 more. It is frustrating, and it is infuriating, but it isn't anything new. How else would a country based on freedom and 'we hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal' engage in 400 years of slavery. It's taken us 228 years to reach this plateau, but how can we try to push our morality on the world when it has just been recently that women have been given the right to vote? We had to be covered up — that sounds familiar. We couldn't even be heard in public. We couldn't speak out against a man. Even today, the most sexist, segregated place in this country is at church on a Sunday morning. You still have women who aren't allowed to be ministers."
Read the rest of OTEP's interview with KNAC.com at this location.