Serj Tankian Goes Off On Mitt Romney And Paul Ryan

During a recent interview with American Rock Scene, singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, poet and political activist Serj Tankian shared his views on the upcoming presidential election.

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During a recent interview with American Rock Scene, singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, poet and political activist Serj Tankian, shared his views on the upcoming presidential election, Blabbermouth reports. Speaking about the two-party system that dominates American politics, Tankian said, "Here's the thing: if you want more choices, you have to create more choices. We need more parties, and that's been the case for many, many years. Even the communist party of the Soviet Union had two sides of the same coin; they had kind of a liberal side and a conservative side, they were kind of like two parties, kind of like the Democrats and Republicans, in different ways, obviously. But I point that out just to say that with two parties, it's not much of a democracy. But what makes it less of a democracy is money in politics, the K Street lobbying firms and groups like Citizens United, who make corporations into people."

He continued, "The real problem isn't just the choice of candidates, it's what's happening around it. The money in there. The electoral system. We really need a healthy left-wing party in this country like the Green Party or I'm down to start a socialist party because President Obama is not socialist. The Republicans are calling him socialist and I'm like, 'Come on'. The guy made legislation where you have to buy insurance from private entities. That's not socialism, there's no public option. Most of his policies are centrist, just to the right of center, sometimes left of center. That's not socialism, but apparently, America has no idea what socialism is."

Asked what he thinks about the religious beliefs of the candidates, Serj said, "I'm not as concerned about the candidate religious beliefs as I am their policies. Mitt Romney's policies are... Well, first of all, he's gone back and forth between so many different policies. First he supported health care in Massachusetts, and then he turned a 360 and said, 'I don't like it anymore. I was wrong. Everything I thought, was wrong, I repudiate.' He's just trying to get the right-wingers on his side, but ultimately they are failed policies of the past. It hasn't worked for America. It's left us in debt, it's left us in wars. And the fact that he actually even said that he doesn't care about 47 percent of America. I would fucking toss him off the ticket now. That's offensive. His answer was that it wasn't a classy way of explaining it, [but] he didn't even refute it. He admitted saying those things."

Serj also spoke about Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, who was blasted by Rage Against The Machine's Tom Morello in an op-ed piece for Rolling Stone after Ryan listed the guitarist's band as one of his favorites, despite their hardcore leftist leanings.

"[Ryan] didn't use Rage's music, but he said he was a big fan", Serj said. "And I actually think he does like it, but the thing is he never actually paid attention to the lyrics. He never paid attention to what they are trying to say with the songs and what they stand for. And that's kind of scary, because if you don't know what Rage Against The Machine stands for in the United States of America, where the f--k have you been?"

He continued, "I was on the East Coast on tour with System [Of A Down], and I read what Tom had posted and I e-mailed Tom and said, 'Bravo. That's one of the most beautiful things I've ever read this year.' The way he put it was so incredible. He could have just said, 'You should not like my music because we don't stand for that,' but he literally laid into him, and I was like, 'F--king beautiful!'"

88 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Hungryformore21
    Turned a 360, Serj?
    Lapidus
    Tony Vivaldi: What is this, Benedict? First you're my friend; now you turn a... 360 on me! Benedict: 180, you stupid, spaghetti-slurping cretin - *180*! If I did a 360, I'd go completely around and end up back where I started! Tony Vivaldi: What?
    SIEGE312
    Kinda confused here with the last part. Am I not allowed to like Rage simply because I disagree with the lyrics (I know exactly what they mean) and think they're a little too far left? I also believe they (Rage) also happen to be incredibly talented musicians, despite my disagreement. Open minds please, gentlemen.
    Arr0wHead
    Agreed. And I can listen to Mr Bungle and not be obsessed with pooping and dirty sex. Musicians put way too much importance on their own lyrics, myself included. The reality is that many, many, many RATM fans couldn't care less about the lyrics.
    on3andth3sam3
    Then are they supposed to ignore the rallies they perform at, their music video's, the things they've said in interviews, and even the name of Morello's guitar? Hell, I have a shirt from them with an american flag upside down. It'd be different if they just wrote political lyrics, but they don't. They walk the walk. Being politically/morally conservative and liking RATM is like being homophobic and liking Lady Gaga.
    Arr0wHead
    I saw the singer of a band whose albums I owned strip down to his boxers onstage, rub himself all over with orange juice, and pretend to masturbate. Doesn't mean I went home and threw out all their albums. Well, actually, I did - but we gotta draw a line somewhere. That was MY orange juice.
    samhell
    Yeah they walk the walk by raking in piles of cash and taking advantage of the Capitalist system they rage against... sure, I believe it. *No really *not really
    on3andth3sam3
    They use said "piles of cash" from "taking advantage of the Capitalist system" (I have no idea why you capitalized that, it's not a person or a place) to fund non-profit organizations. Like this one: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Axis_of_Jus...
    samhell
    Oh, so they don't have much nicer houses with nice recording studios, piles of expensive music gear, etc? Why can't I have those things so I can be equal to them? They should have to give me some of their nice Les Pauls because its not fair that they have them and I don't. If they have two they can give me one and we can be equals.
    on3andth3sam3
    Because you don't really need those. You need a house, food, health insurance, in some areas a car, and possibly some spending money for random, important, expenses. The modern concept of equality is not about giving you their things so you have the same amount of stuff. It's about helping people get the essentials, so no one has to suffer due to poverty.
    DexterF
    When the americans want a better political system it will dawn all by itself. What good is a green party or socialist party when nobody supports the idea. Once people start to notice that such parties might be a good idea the density of supporters will eventually form small local groups that eventually evolved into parties. Those will have a hard time at first but *that* will be the change another lobby marionette tried to promise.
    samhell
    You nailed it. If all that green and socialist crap is so wonderful, why isn't it in place? I don't like that stuff, all of my friends don't like that stuff, and we all vote. We'd never vote for any of it. Thats part of democracy everyone seems to love. Mob rules. Nobody cares what you think is a good idea. I think those things are fundamentally wrong and borderline evil so I'd fight to the death against it. Democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner. Of course liberty is a well armed sheep.
    DexterF
    I got a quote, too: "The best argument against democracy is to have a 5 minute conversation with the average voter." -Winston Churchill
    ATREYUFAN4LIFE
    Dude, you obviously don't know Serj. He's in Politics all the time. Have you ever listened to half of his lyrics in SOAD's music? Or read any of his books or listened/read anything from him? Obviously not. Your statement was an uneducated statement from a ignorant person. YOU go home and look something up about him and then come back and talk.
    SSSteve
    dr718, 1. socialism isn't communism, and he didn't say anything about supporting tyrants. 2. as long as tax rates are progressive, there will always be rewards for ones own efforts. Only a fool who doesn't understand progressive taxes would turn down a raise because it pushes him into the next bracket 3. with a top tax bracket some 10,000x lower than the top earned incomes, with a rate well under 50%, even more favorable terms for capital gains, and 400+ US billionaires, fear we will "take all the money from 'the rich'" is laughably alarmist, right-wing, propaganda speak 4. The poor and stupid sometimes actually do offer jobs, granted not necessarily good ones.... and the wealthy, stupid or smart, don't necessarily have any reason to hire a single person just because we continue to let them pay the same and lower rates than many of the poor, and most of the working class. In summary, your position is umm... nonsense. Sorry.
    Logan_B
    In time, in due time. I used to be a close minded thinker when It came to politics, being from Canada I always supported the Conservatives and I am happy with Steven Harper being Prime Minister. Lately since Ron Paul came to my attention I started to open my mind and Im thinking that sooner or later, In America you guys might see a change. Just look, Ron Paul seemed like he had more support than what most people thought. Times are changing, the status quo with it.
    mmkat
    seriously serj, what are you doing? an educated statement on politics from a musician? go home, serj, you're drunk.
    goingnowhere21
    Because he's a musician doesn't make his opinion total crap. Not every musician's mind is filled with drugs like stereotypical society wants you to think. Don't be condescending.
    mmkat
    dude, feel the sarcasm. he's one of the few musicians out there that actually think before they speak, unlike mustaine or nugent. why on earth isnt there some sort of sign that shows sarcasm when it's written? someone should invent that.
    qrEE
    It has been around for a while. It's called /sarcasm. The joke is HTML based, when you put a / in front of something, it means that the command is over. So if you're being sarcastic, and you say /sarcasm, you're saying that you're done being sarcastic. Some invented it, the joke got old, where the f*** are you?
    Filipus
    "The worst type of sarcasm is the one people dont get" Have a good night kind sir.
    Miseryfields
    Actually there was once a punctuation mark to denote irony and sarcasm. It's called the percontation point. In the day and age of the internet, I do believe this should be revived.
    ATREYUFAN4LIFE
    You obviously don't know Serj. He is in a lot of politics. Have you ever listened to any of the lyrics in SOAD's songs? Highly political like Rage Against The Machine. You made an uneducated statement here so YOU go home and do a little research before you talk about something or someone you know nothing about.
    goingnowhere21
    He makes some pretty valid points. I've always had respect for Serj for these kinds of things. But I think we need less parties, not more. People just side with someone just because they're with a certain party, not because they feel like he (or she) is the better choice, and that's just wrong.
    Invert-blu
    That type of partisan affiliation would likely dissipate with a larger number of realistic party choices. People would look at all the options and vote for who they believe is the besttheoretically of course.
    samhell
    No they won't. They have these choices now and they don't do it. They won't put down their cellphones or turn off the TV long enough to put any effort into the democratic system. So, the mess we have now is exactly the mess we deserve. We did this to ourselves. Serj and every other douchebag can blame anyone they want but the answer has always been waiting for them in the mirror.
    crazyhorse174
    I might be missing something here, but how can you have less parties than 2 and it still be fair...?
    slaveskinJACKET
    What I think people mean by that, is that we shouldn't have parties at all. We should be voting in the people based on their actions, their statements, and what they stand for, not because they play for our favorite team.
    Obama FTW
    I like how Serj actually sounds somewhat intelligent in this compared to the other political rants from musicians. I'll be waiting for someone to reply to my comment and say 'you're just okay with this because Serj isn't bashing Obama'. Seriously, cut the bullshit. I made this name 5years ago. I respect an intelligent argument whether its for, or against, my beliefs.
    Telemonster4
    Sounds intelligent? Look at the medal winning comment..... And a governmental system without parties will never work. People don't agree ever, and it would eventually destroy whatever nation you care to try it in. None of the policies would make sense, whether they are economic or foreign because they aren't uniform. Imho.
    Telemonster4
    Also, I would like to add: 1. You did not make your name 5 years ago. It shows when you registered in your profile. 2. You make that your name and don't think you are going to get any flak at all, intelligent or not? Naive
    robo37
    The problem is, the people who vote for these kind of guys are the unthinking majority.
    dr718
    Tyranny is OK as long as it's the kind of tyrrany HE agrees with. Funny thing about socialism-it never works because there's no reason to achieve anything because there's no reward for one's own effort. Take all the money from "the rich"-good idea, the poor and stupid always offer the best jobs.
    travislausch
    So what of countries like Sweden or Canada, that do have public options that are working. Socialism doesn't necessarily have to mean complete equality, just more of it than the USA has. You guys have a rich-poor gap that puts you in the ranks with some third-world countries. Isn't that kind of sad?
    dr718
    Canada is awesome until you have a life-threatening emergent condition like heart disease. The waiting list is pretty long so they ship their patients down here. As far as gaps go, this country long ago fought for its' independence. It owes no one else there's, nore prosperity for that matter. Good intentions lead to tyrants as much as evil ones. Regardless, it's immoral to compel one man by threat of incarceration or worse to work more for another man than himself.
    travislausch
    I would know about Canada's health care system, living there and all. It's really not that bad. At worst, you get shipped to the nearest city with over 500,000 people. Which is not that uncommon for any country with low population density (including some more remote locations in the US). And I'm not arguing we should all be whipped and chained into working for everyone, but it would just be nice for the one "superpower" in the world to be prosperous all around instead of the huge degree of economic inequality. It's a stain on an otherwise normal reputation for a first-world nation.
    on3andth3sam3
    So, if someone has a mental disorder that will keep them from working/functioning in society for the rest of their life, they're just supposed to roll over and die, or kill themselves so you don't have to "work more" for them?
    dr718
    ah, the extremely emotional liberal overreaction. we only commit the dangerous mentally ill here. thanks to the ACLU, anyone not a threat to themselves or others is free to wander homeless as long as they don't get arrested. there's a difference between charity & responsibility to those who can't help themselves, and creating dependency on the government for those who won't. "poor" in America is a long way from poor in say, Haiti. If you don't think so, find a church and take a mission trip there to help out and see for yourself. Half of the US is now relying on some form of welfare-unsustainable for an economy and a nation.
    on3andth3sam3
    So, if I read your comment right, you think it's ok if the mentally ill become homeless if they can't work?
    samhell
    And whats wrong with that? What responsibility do I have to give my labor to someone else? I can be asked, and being compassionate I might help the person out, but to demand it of me is offensive and just makes me resent anyone who benefits from my labor without my consent.
    on3andth3sam3
    Hmm, I don't know? What IS wrong with people who didn't choose to develop psychologically and physically draining diseases losing everything they have, because they can't work, and rotting in the street like they don't matter?
    samhell
    You missed the point entirely... It is not MY responsibility to care for those people. I am compassionate, I probably will anyway, but to be forced to give up what I have earned to those who have not earned is just wrong.
    SugnaGodym
    If this guy knew what he was talking about maybe I'd listen to him. O'care is designed for private companies to fail forcing us into a public option. Only thing that will be left when all healthy young people go to the government or pay tax and the sick go to insurance companies until they can no longer support and then rates raise and everyone cries about the greed and then bankrupt those same companies. 360?!!! WTF?!!! A democrat congress and ignorant president Bush caused the bank and housing collapse which had brought on all the bubble bursting. Google that? A left-wing party? The democrats are out of the closet progressives, socialist are one in the same. Right of center. Bailouts, Government Motors, Wall Street reform with no jailings, a trillion dollar stimulus to payback bundlers and crony capitaIsm, get real dude. Smoke more weed and play more music and keep your political drivel in the shadows of your brain. Just because you are a public figure doesn't mean anyone wants to hear your biased opinions.
    on3andth3sam3
    Obviously you know nothing about his musical career. Let me inform you. He was the singer of a band who opened an album with a song about how broken the american prison system is, using real statistics as lyrics. But yeah, I'm sure he has NO idea what he's talking about.
    SugnaGodym
    Never claimed to know. And your citing gives him credit for politics, how?
    on3andth3sam3
    If you didn't know, why did you comment in the first place? Thanks for confirming everything you've stated has come completely from your own ass.
    Metalhead118
    ^ Someone who doesn't know what socialism is.
    Metalhead118
    Sorry for the double post, but to say "Just because you are a public figure doesn't mean anyone wants to hear your biased opinions" and be biased yourself is kind of silly. Also, last time I checked, he doesn't smoke marijuana. Nice try though.
    mbrenan
    Serj, continue with your good songs. If you are really interested in talking about politics then study a little more to make a better point of view. I think america need a change but socialism never will be a good idea, the past and the present teaches us that.
    SugnaGodym
    Correct. All socialist countries fail. The only thing that comes equally is the amount of misery afforded to all.
    cV333
    How are you defining failure? In terms of what? GDP? Happiness? Sustainability? Growth? All 34 of the OECD nations incorporate socialist aspects into their economics, some more than others. America has had a fair amount of socialism in practice in the last hundred years.
    SONNY MUNSON
    I heard that Denmark is the happiest country, i mean the people there are happiest, and they're completely socialist.
    mbrenan
    Failure is taking away the freedom that people have by forcing them to pay a tax to provide a service that probably won't be good or efficient, because every person has a different need for himself. I think is a lot better when people have freedom to choose which service fits them better.
    cV333
    That's not failure, that's opinion. Freedom is a very subjective term. I'm sure there are plenty of people who can safely say capitalism or corporatism failed as well.
    mbrenan
    Capitalism is not the same thing as corporatism, you messed up with the terminology. The most desirable thing for a corporation is to create regulation and bureaucracy, so you eliminate competition from other companies that will give up to appear on the market. Capitalism is just a voluntary exchange envolving two or more individuals, the more freedom you give for this action the more capitalism you will have.
    YorkshireMinor
    Lots of countries involve socialist elements, especially in Scandinavia and those countries and those countries seem to be doing well for themselves.
    mbrenan
    Yes, these countries are using some socialist elements, and they are actually failing in the fields they try to do that. To a better view of what's going on there you can see this 6 minutes interview that the swedish Johan Nornberg gave.
    mbrenan
    Yes, these countries are using some socialist elements, and they are actually failing in the fields they try to do that. To a better view of what's going on there you can see this 6 minutes interview that the swedish Johan Nornberg gave. /watch?v=S6psuUt8caM
    japanayotou1
    One of the comments about the USA will sort itself out is right. Many of the people don't want a left wing government even more don't understand it. But i think Serj is right, although the mindset of Americans is different to his.
    Dude475
    I don't know what rage against the machine stands for. Why you may ask? I was listening to waaaay better music. And serj, shut up! You are a musician. Not a political analyst.
    SugnaGodym
    Not to leave out the redistribution and class warfare.
    SSSteve
    1."Wealth redistribution" is just a red-herring buzzword. Every penny of revenue winds up being redistributed; to every employee who works for any private company that does business with the government for defense, infrastructure, etc., all public employees, soldiers, judges, police, fire fighters, etc., Medicare recipients, blablabla and yes, some poorly managed and improperly dispensed entitlements too, but realize how small a piece of the pie is, and dont fall for such propagandist BS. 2.Class warfare is orchestrated by the mega-wealthy who maintain enough control over congress to keep the discourse on taxes all about a few percent up or down at a top marginal bracket under 400k a year. By doing this, those with top earned incomes ranging all the way up to 4-BILLION in some rare cases - the .01% - makes sure to keep the little people in the 99.99% embroiled in that war. In other words, they keep us fighting the class war against our doctors. The upper-upper middle class, those who do see a good chunk of taxes at that top rate, those from 500k-1M in yearly income of whom there is a sizable number (our doctors and such the 1%) fight with a good portion of the 99%. I can sympathize with them to an extent, but rather than suggesting those with less than them pay more, we should be suggesting that those with thousands of times higher income dont pay the same rate as the 1M/year doctor pays on 60% of his income. The 1% should be clamoring to the .01% to buck up not to the 46% who earn 1/10 what they earn. The 99% who fight for the wealthy side of the class warfare debate who DONT earn over 400k a year theyre just helping to perpetuate growing wealth disparity and concentration; making sure the rate at which the wealthiest pull away from the average continues to accelerate.