Why We Aren't Playing at the RNC

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie leaves the stage after addressing the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla. on Tue
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie leaves the stage after addressing the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla. on Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applwhite)

Last July, my band declined an offer to play a private party at the Republican National Convention.

Playing private parties is standard for many musicians. If you have the dosh, The Rolling Stones, Jay-Z, or Journey, for example, might play your private event. We are minstrels after all, and we sing for our supper.

The Republican National Convention is not a private event, though. It's a public sales pitch, and everyone is supposed to held deliver the script:

Day One - Rail against the president by also-rans

Day Two - Vice-presidential candidate throws red meat

Day Three - Candidate's wife talks about puppies, pretends to be inclusive

Day Four - Candidate comes down to save us

The End.

This whole hustle is peppered with music bits meant to wed policies like forced births of rapist's babies and minority voter suppression to song. Even the private party my band was asked to play at the RNC is not some innocuous event. Though I am happy to play for Republican fans, like my life-long Republican mom, playing the RNC convention is a tacit endorsement of the Republican presidential candidate and his party platform, and this is not my mom's Republican Party anymore.

Mitt Romney says he wants to have an open and welcoming convention. Wow. Open and welcoming to whom? Students who need Pell Grants? My gay Republican cousin who wants to get married? Brown people from Arizona who forgot their ID? People who like roads, air traffic controllers, and disaster funding for hurricanes -- you know, all that stuff Republicans think is wasteful spending? The over three million Americans who got working again because of the stimulus? Women who want fair pay or choice with their health? I mean really, who do they actually welcome?? They are in fact, a party dedicated to exclusion. No where is this more clear than their stop-people-who-don't-vote-for-Republicans-from-voting-at-all-Voter ID law. They now seek to subvert the democratic process itself because they no longer think they can win by adhering to basic tenets of our democracy like the Voting Rights Act. I call that craven. For that reason alone, if I came to their convention, I would Occupy their convention.

The Republican party is on the wrong side of Lilly Ledbetter, fiscal responsibility, unions, civil rights, climate change, evolution, the Big Bang theory, stem cells, Medicare, and me, and that's why we will let them be, in their government-funded event center, to sell their song and dance without me.