What’s the Point of Making Noise About Nothing?: A LOCATIONS Guest Blog

by - September 06, 2022

Photo courtesy of Hannah Turner-Harts

“Why stand on a silent platform? Fight the war. Fuck the norm.”

When we started LOCATIONS, we didn’t know what the direction of the band was going to be. When we were writing one of our first songs, we knew we wanted to repeat a line that felt political but not divisive. We were looking for a sentiment that everyone could get behind. We came up with “they don’t care about us” - “they” being corrupt politicians. Our song, “Loud”, came together quickly, and we had found a message that would bring “us” together.

We envisioned a chorus of voices shouting the line by the end of the track, so we enlisted some friends to come over and yell into a microphone. We wanted to get them riled up and angry about corruption before we recorded, so we went to YouTube to find a video that highlighted all of the terrible shit going on in American politics.

That’s how we discovered the first organization we got involved with, Represent Us.

Represent Us is a bipartisan anti-corruption organization that is working to pass initiatives at the local and state level. We found this incredible video (starring Jennifer Lawrence!) that explained everything that we knew was wrong with our system of government. After the video laid out the problems, it moved on to the solutions. They were talking about term limits, ending gerrymandering, ranked choice voting, and publicly funded elections to get big money out of politics. We were blown away!

We knew we wanted to use “Loud” to raise money and get our fans engaged with Represent Us. Once we saw how powerful a song with a message could be, we knew that this was the way forward. Of course people want to end political corruption, but they need to be shown how and where to put their anger and energy. We decided that we would focus each of our releases on an issue with widespread support and direct our fans to use their power and take action.

While working on our new single, “Moves”, we knew from the start we wanted to use it to take on the dog shit healthcare system we’re stuck with in this country. We’ve both spent years without health insurance or with coverage so bad that it was unusable. Lucky for us, our trade unionized in 2017 and we gained access to incredible health insurance. Just over a year later, a major medical event came knocking and put that insurance to good use. But to this day we can’t stop thinking, what would have happened without that coverage? How can tens of millions of people in this country fall through the cracks of our healthcare system without the rest of us standing up and saying THIS IS NOT OK?

It is literally insane that Americans can see how the rest of the developed world treats healthcare and not believe that we deserve the same. Healthcare is a human right. No person should have to make the decision to lose their home, or spend their life savings, or risk their mental health, in order to get the medical treatment that their doctors say they need. Hundreds of thousands of people file for bankruptcy because of medical debt every year. Why are we allowing this to continue?

We live under a system that prioritizes profit over health. Americans spend thousands of dollars more per person on healthcare than any other country, and yet we don’t have anywhere near the best healthcare system by nearly any metric. Think about that. Where is all of that money going? It’s not going to healthcare workers. It’s going to the insurance companies, who make a profit off of denying coverage to our sick and dying people. It’s going to pharmaceutical companies, who make a profit off of selling life-saving drugs at extravagant markups.

How do they spend these immoral profits? A massive amount of money is spent on lobbying and donations to our elected representatives. Let’s not forget the Super PACs, which are legally allowed to raise unlimited amounts of money to spend on influencing elections. In the 2021-2022 cycle alone, these PACs have reported total receipts of over 1.5 billion dollars. We know that the vast majority of politicians are bought and paid for. It’s out in the open. 43 Senators just voted against capping the price of insulin! It failed to pass with the necessary 60 votes. We have to put a stop to this madness.

In New York, there’s been a bill called The New York Health Act floating around Albany for over 20 years. It would move New York to a single-payer system that would give all New York residents access to quality health services without fear of financial ruin. You can learn more about the details of the New York Health Act here

The bill finally has enough co-sponsors in both the Senate and Assembly to pass. New Yorkers and their representatives WANT to revolutionize our healthcare system. The problem is that the leaders of the Senate and Assembly have to bring it up for a vote, and they won’t because they don’t want it to pass.

Despite Governor Hochul proclaiming “Every New Yorker deserves the dignity of having access to quality health care”, she has remained silent on the passage of the New York Health Act. If she really believed that, she would at absolute minimum vocally support the bill. Her silence is deafening. We called the office of Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins to get the most recent excuse on why the bill hasn’t been brought to a vote. Three calls ended with the promise of a call back that never came.

Do their campaign contributions affect their positions? I’m sure they would say of course not, but it’s easy to follow the money. In the meantime, countless people are suffering and dying. Shame on them!

It is long past due that we guarantee access to healthcare as a human right in the richest country in the world. Collective action is an existential threat to the immoral healthcare system that Americans are trapped in, and that is what we are trying to achieve with LOCATIONS. But we can’t do it alone; we need you to join us.

Get involved with the Campaign for New York Health. You can give your time, your money or at least your voice. You have power, it’s time to use it! Call your state representatives, and make sure to demand that Senate and Assembly leadership bring the New York Health Act up for a vote. Call your own representatives and make sure they’re putting pressure on leadership to push the bill across the finish line.

Together, we can pass the New York Health Act and guarantee access to healthcare for everyone in New York. Once the rest of the country sees how single-payer healthcare works and wakes up to the fraudulent scheme that is the American healthcare system, the movement will spread like wildfire. Canada passed it province by province, and we can do it state by state. Every other country with a similarly-sized economy has guaranteed access to healthcare. Why should we settle for less?

Take action now.

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