The night Barack Obama clinched the Democratic nomination for president, Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong found himself experiencing an unfamiliar emotion: hope.
"After his acceptance speech, I have to admit, it took me an hour to get the lump out of my throat," says Armstrong, whose band's American Idiot was the defining protest album of the Bush years. "Obama inspires people, and this country needs inspiration. People are jaded, pissed off and embarrassed."
"I don't want it to turn into a cult of personality. He's not Magic Man. The great thing would be if he could lead by example and inspire people to get their own shit together."
But Armstrong is not alone in his support. More than a dozen acts — from the Dixie Chicks to Death Cab for Cutie — joined together in 2004 for MoveOn.org's Vote for Change Tour. Despite Bush's victory that year, many artists say they'd be up for a replay — and MoveOn.org, has begun speaking to artist managers about some sort of reprise. MoveOn creative director Laura Dawn wouldn't reveal specifics but did say, "We're talking with a lot of artists about a whole bunch of hopefully good ideas about how to increase awareness and activism."
In Their Own Words: Artists Speak Out For Obama.
Death Cab for Cutie's Chris Walla "It was so easy on the Vote for Change Tour to believe that there was no way that John Kerry wouldn't win. But Obama is a better candidate. As we drive around the country right now, it's so incredible just how visible his campaign is and just how committed people seem to be to it."
Bob Weir "The contagion of hope is real. I think that Americans have the ability to rediscover what democracy feels like, and that's a good feeling."
Pete Wentz "This is the first time that I've had a chance to vote in a presidential race where there hasn't been a Bush or a Clinton running. From touring the world, the issue that draws me most to Obama is the idea of diplomacy and of repairing the U.S.'s image abroad."
Michael Stipe "With every passing day, every time I see him speak, I'm more impressed by his capabilities and sure-footedness. He represents something different."
Conor Oberst "He's just the real deal. The first time I saw him speak, it was just shivers down my spine the whole time. When you see old footage of Bobby Kennedy or Martin Luther King, I always assumed it was the gloss of nostalgia that made those speeches so powerful. But Obama has the same thing."
Jeff Tweedy "I came to Barack Obama with a lot of baggage and cynicism and reluctance to embrace any politician. And I think that's one of the things that's pretty magical about him: He's been able to melt the hearts of a lot of people like myself."
Dave Matthews "We are in the very worst position that the U.S. has been in the eyes of the world in its entire history. And we have to actively take control of it and turn it around, or the consequences are unimaginable in the end. It's so important that we have someone who can begin to help us heal the damage that has been done — and I think that's Obama."
Ludacris "I met him, and he's an extremely humble, down-to-earth guy. I mean, his energy is great, which is extremely important. He just seems like an honest person. And I really feel like that's what we need right now."
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