Voting Stories: Donita Sparks of L7 | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Monday, November 23rd, 2020  

Voting Stories: Donita Sparks of L7

“I have little patience for Voting Apathists.”

Oct 27, 2020
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With next Tuesday’s election day looming and millions of Americans already voting early, we asked musicians to write about notable times they cast a ballot in a new series we’re calling Voting Stories. This entry is by Donita Sparks of L7.

L7 came to prominence in the late ’80s/early ’90s and reformed in 2014, releasing a new album, Scatter the Rats, in 2019. The band’s 1990 album, Smell the Magic, was recently given the 30th anniversary reissue treatment by Sub Pop.

Visit vote.org or headcount.org to register to vote, get information on your polling place or on mail in voting, and to find out what else might be on your ballot.

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I’m fortunate that I live in a Progressive neighborhood in the Progressive city of Los Angeles. More money has come into my neighborhood in the last couple of decades, but thankfully it’s still pretty diverse, lots of immigrants, lots of gays, artists, show folk, and trustafarians. 

Seeing a MAGA hat around here is like seeing Sasquatch. 

“Wait, did you see that? I think that guy was wearing a MAGA hat!”
“Where? Where’d he go?”
“Around the corner, in that car!”
“Wowww… weird.” 

We drove home from a friend’s house that night in November, 2008 and there were revelers spilling out of bars and restaurants onto Sunset Blvd. cheering and hugging. Cars were honking, people were banging on pots and pans from their doorsteps on my street. Pure joy and hope rang throughout the neighborhood. Eight long years of hanging chads, voter suppression, water boarding, climate accord reneging, and lies seemed like they were finally coming to an end. That was an unbelievable night. We did it. We voted in Barack Obama as president. It felt good to be an American. 

Eight years later, same neighborhood, a bunch of us gathered at a local watering hole to watch the live election results. There was an upbeat mood as people were believing that we were to have our first woman president elected. I watched the TV with total uneasiness witnessing once again the long voting lines in freezing Ohio, and then the devastation as the swing states fell one by one for Donald Trump. People in the bar were leaving in complete shock, the large table of local punk rock lesbians was in tears, an older friend said to me that it felt like the night Bobby Kennedy was assassinated. Hillary Clinton won the popular vote which made the sting hurt even more.

I have little patience for Voting Apathists. To me voting is a no brainer, and it’s the least you can do, really.

When I encounter someone whose politics truly repulse me, I think to myself “My vote is gonna cancel out this asshole’s vote” and it gives me some solace. It’s a powerful feeling, a super power. 

This is no joke, this is not a test. THIS IS OF UTMOST IMPORTANCE, people. V. O. T. E. (Go Biden/Harris!)  

www.l7theband.com

Read our interview with Donita Sparks on her webseries The Hi-Low Show.

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