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World

9.10.2018

Go Fucking Vote

It’s been said that the 2018 Midterms are the most important election of our time. Whether or not you agree is a little beside the point, because it’s really the sentiment that matters, and it’s this: now is our chance to change the status quo and rewrite the narrative. You can’t effect change if you don’t participate, but luckily it’s not that hard to participate—just go fucking vote. So, in the spirit of our new rallying cry, we partnered with Moda Operandi to bring it to life—in the form of an Americana-inspired T-shirt that’s literally emblazoned with GO FUCKING VOTE. Alongside a group of select designers who also created shirts, we’ll be sending one hundred percent of the proceeds to Rock The Vote, a nonprofit committed to increasing political engagement for the next generation. We believe in the power of democracy, and a democracy is only as powerful as its people. So join us on November 6 for a vote to change our country, and in the meantime, buy the shirt here, & then hear straight from our founder Mazdack Rassi on why voting is so damn important.

What is your first memory of voting?

My first memory of voting was when I was in high school in central Illinois. They were doing voter registration, so I went to sign up, and they looked at me and said, “You’re not a US citizen.” It was crushing. I never thought about it because even though we grew up as immigrants and we had a green card, I felt like, “Oh my god, this whole time I thought this was my country.” I was on the football team and the basketball team in middle America. I was 9 when we moved here and we had green cards. It made me feel like I wasn’t really part of this country. It kind of scared me. It took me a while, but years later I got my citizenship and I went to vote, and it was one of the greatest feelings of my life because I remembered that moment in high school where I realized I wasn’t like everyone else.

How can we tell our generation that voting is important, especially when some kids take the right to vote for granted?

I think the key is education. In most countries that are democratic, you have to vote. It is your duty as a citizen, and a lot of Americans don’t realize that – especially young people. I think it’s really important that we re-educate them and say: this is your duty. Other than paying taxes, voting should be mandatory – I really believe that. I grew up in a country where there was a monarchy and there was a revolution. Democracy didn’t exist. Everyone thinks that what we have in this country will always last and they don’t need to fight for that or protect it. And it won’t, you can see it all around the world. So I think the more young people can travel and see how other places don’t have the opportunities to have a voice as a citizen, the more they will respect it and appreciate it back home.

Do you think this is the most important election ever?

I think that this November 6 election is more important than the presidential election because it’s not about one person – it’s about getting a body of government back. It’s about bringing back the checks and balances. I never thought that if there was a Democrat as President, that they should control both chambers of Congress, and I don’t think a Republican should either. That’s the beauty of checks and balances. And when everything is under the control of one party, that’s when it’s dangerous. We start losing the ability to question, fight and debate in this country. I believe that it’s never good to control everything and force the rest of the country to take the policy of one group. And I don’t care if it’s the Democrats or Republicans doing it.

What do you think is most exciting about participating in our democracy? Why vote?

There are a lot of countries around the world where there is mandatory military service or mandatory voting – here, this is the one thing you can do for your country, like JFK said. To vote, to be part of the process, to show up at primaries, to show up at caucus gatherings and talk. A lot of young people don’t realize that these forums exist – that they can actually go and speak. These forums are usually filled with much older people who would be considered parents or grandparents. And I think that if we can get a new generation of young people to be more involved in the grassroots efforts of what leads up to an election, then there is no doubt that they will show up to the ballot. But they don’t realize there is a process before the ballot. It’s this sort of gathering, it goes back to the beginning of our democracy where people would meet in town halls and pubs and restaurants to debate on what the people running for office stood for and what they as citizens wanted. I think that’s why our change in government is so extreme from one end to another because we all just show up at the ballot and we really don’t know what we are voting for. But if you are more involved in the process of the conversation beforehand and you do your research, you can pick your best candidate. I think today it isn’t about Democrats or Republicans, it’s about the people. It’s about the right candidate – about what they stand for, what they believe in, what their history is. Let’s get rid of this partisan divide. Most countries in the world that are democratic don’t have just two parties, they have multiple. I hope that at some point America will break out of this two party system. It’s too delicate. It’s polarizing – you are either on this side or that side. I think the new generation should all be independent and then make what they believe to be the best choice.

Can you talk about the art direction of the T shirt design?

Being from the midwest, growing up in middle America, when you look at urban cities, we tend to be a lot more modern – none of us are flying flags outside of our houses. There is less Americana culture here. The idea of the shirt is to celebrate Americana from an urban point of view. It shouldn’t just be Harley Davidson in rural parts of America, or houses in small towns that fly the flag. We want to fly it on our shirts – we want to celebrate the eagle, the snake. We wanted to go back to the red, blue, and white. It also belongs to us, too, no matter what side you are on. It’s about reclaiming Americana from an urban point of view. I think that’s really what I love about the design that the team created.

Images courtesy of Cian Moore

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