Whenever I tell people about my involvement in HeadCount, I am usually met with various forms of agreement and approval. "Yeah, I've see those booths at shows," "Way to go," or "Wow, that's cool. I wish I could volunteer," and to them I reply, "You can!" But sometimes people seem baffled about why I would've become engaged with HC in 2004 in the first place, but now why I am back four years later. Here's what I tell them - call it my spiel.
"I grew up the daughter of a State Senator (WA) and an ethnomusicologist professor, so politics and music have always been together in my life. After being absurdly involved with civics and student government in high school, I earned a BA in Political Science and went to work in the State Senate, but never really felt like I was engaging all of interests. Politics are interesting and constantly in flux, but government can be a bit of a bore. I missed being out of my element and on tour with my friends, seeing places I'd never see if Phish or moe. wasn't playing there and meeting people who'd never been to Seattle or even the west coast. I relish the seat of your pants lifestyle. And so when I heard of an organization called HeadCount that strived to integrate music and politics, to engage a segment of the concert-going population that had become largely apathetic, and to instill a degree of civic involvement in those younger than my ripe age of 26 (at the time), I was all over it."
This is a pretty effective bit of wording and having listened to it, most peeps want to know more. But sometimes folks need more convincing and that's when I break out my "Oh, the humanity" speech, which goes like this.
"I believe in civic engagement and I believe in democracy. I believe in compassion for others and looking beyond yourself. I believe in love. I believe that giving your time and other resources is incredibly gratifying. I also believe that we exist in a polarized, fragmented society - whether it be race, politics, money, or something else that drives us. Too many extraneous things - material objects, emotional drama, and life's static - now distract us. I believe that as a society we are losing our humanity and thus, some of America's core values. And I don't like it. This is a chance for me to feel like I am making a difference in a tangible way. That's why I am involved in HeadCount, and that's why you should, too."
At least if I can't convert them, I can give them something to think about. Maybe they'll come around and maybe not. But it doesn't make me feel any worse.