All proceeds for this song will be donated to the ACLU.
"Early last year Monica was in town recording vocals with me for our upcoming album. We were working on the final song, most likely to end up as a B-side, called "-ism." The song was a stylistic departure from the others, and a thematic one as well. It was inspired by Donald Trump entering the primaries, back when most people were not taking him very seriously.
At the time, Trump had just declared his theoretical plan for a complete shutdown of Muslims coming into the United States. I can't say that one man standing up to suggest this phased me much (sadly), but for the rest of my life, I will remember how it felt to hear the roar of applause that followed that statement. The following week after the rally, I spent a lot of time thinking about how it would feel to be a Muslim American walking through airports, going to the grocery store, taking your kids to school. America's dirty secret was out: our dark past that we'd tried so hard to move beyond was alive and well.
So when Monica and I were up talking about the lyrics to "-ism," I recall saying that I didn't think the song could remain relevant for long. This was based on my assumption that Donald Trump would never be president, there would never be a Muslim ban, and eventually, our country would move on, and push this dark chapter back into the shadows. I thought that I- as well as others- would later look at a song like this one, and say "Wow, we were really, really afraid, and all over nothing".
Fast forward to now.
I suppose the heart of what the song is trying to say, is that we will do terrible, unforgivable things to very good people when we are driven by a fear or terrorism. And we are willing to accept that we do these terrible things as long as we do them in the name of patriotism."
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