LATINO VOICES

5 Rage Against The Machine Lyrics Paul Ryan Ignored When Voting To Kill DACA

08/04/2014 06:46 pm ET | Updated Oct 13, 2014
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Following the revelation during the 2012 presidential race that Rage Against the Machine was one of U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) favorite bands, many wondered whether the conservative Wisconsin congressman had ever paid attention to the band’s lyrics.

To judge from his vote on Friday to kill the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, he didn't. The policy, known by its acronym as DACA, shields some 500,000 immigrants brought here illegally as children from deportation for a renewable two-year period and allows them to work legally in the United States.

Fronted by radical Chicano lyricist Zack de la Rocha, Rage Against The Machine often invoked Mexican-American themes and railed against the injustices that immigrants face in the United States.

It appeared at one point that Ryan, who emerged last year as a prominent advocate for comprehensive immigration reform, might have been influenced by those lyrics he heard while pumping himself up for his workout routines.

Friday's vote to kill DACA makes that theory seem less plausible.

Here's five Rage Against The Machine Lyrics Paul Ryan ignored when voting to kill DACA.

  • 1 People of the Sun
    Rage's Mesoamerican anthem “People of the Sun” may well have kindled in Ryan an early respect for the indigenous people of Mexico, exposing him to the creation myth of the five suns and introducing him to the last Aztec emperor Cuauhtémoc, who defended Mexico City from the Spanish conquerers, but was later captured and executed.

    But if it did, he forgot about that Friday as he cast his vote to kill DACA.

    "With their borders and boots on top of us
    Pulling knobs on the floor of this toxic metropolis
    But how you gonna get what you need to ta get?
    The gut eaters, blood-drenched get offensive like Tet
    The fifth sun sets, get back, re-claim
    The spirit of Cuauhtémoc, alive an untamed."
  • 2 Year Of Tha Boomerang
    While listening to “Year of tha Boomerang,” Ryan may have rethought the wisdom of locking immigrants in detention for civil violations, we are guessing. That alleged reflection possibly played a role in getting him to back a pathway to citizenship.

    But he wasn't remembering Zack de la Rocha's words on Friday.

    “Aw, power to tha people
    'Cause tha bosses right ta live is mine ta die
    So I'm goin' out heavy sorta like Mount Tai
    With tha five centuries of penitentiaries so let tha guilty hang
    In tha year of tha boomerang.”
  • 3 Take the Power Back
    When Ryan first heard this ode to ethnic studies, he might have pondered whether the cultural chauvinism of European-descended Americans in the public school system acted as an obstacle to the mutual understanding necessary to create a just immigration system.

    But if he did, those thoughts weren't evident on Friday.

    “The present curriculum
    I put my fist in 'em
    Eurocentric every last one of 'em
    See right through the red, white and blue disguise
    With lecture I puncture the structure of lies
    Installed in our minds and attempting
    To hold us back
    We've got to take it back
    Holes in our spirit causin' tears and fears
    One-sided stories for years and years and years
    I'm inferior? Who's inferior?
    Yeah, we need to check the interior
    Of the system that cares about only one culture
    And that is why
    We gotta take the power back."
  • 4 Vietnow
    It is not totally out of the realm of possibility that when listening to “Vietnow,” Ryan stopped to reflect on how rightwing radio demonizes undocumented immigrants by portraying them as “illegal.”

    But judging from Friday's vote, maybe "Vietnow" didn't have much of an impact on Ryan's thinking after all.

    “Flex tha cerebellum, fire, uh!
    Somebody gotta shell 'em
    These evil angels lists, hittin' tha AM playlist
    Paid ta say this
    That one inhuman, illegal, single woman
    Tha one without a movement
    The transmissions wippin' our backs
    Yeah, comin' down like bats from Stacy Koon
    Terror's tha product ya push
    Well I'm a truth addict, ah shit I got a headrush!”
  • 5 Bombtrack
    Many undocumented immigrants who have entered the United States in recent years worked in agriculture in Mexico and took up similar work here. So perhaps when Ryan heard this song, he wondered whether those who immigrate in search of jobs deserve to be stigmatized as criminals while those who profit from an unjust agricultural labor system on both sides of the border live lives of wealth and prestige.

    Not on Friday.

    “Landlords and power whores
    On my people they took turns
    Dispute the suits I ignite
    And then watch em burn.”
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