He’s never been known to keep quiet about things that bother him, and this election has Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder quite vocal. The 39-year-old musician/surfer/activist is doing everything he can to make sure people get out to vote on November 2, and that includes you, his fellow surfer.

SURFING MAGAZINE: What do think surfers should be most concerned with this election?

EDDIE VEDDER: Usually you would say that the biggest issue for anybody who spends time off of the edge of continent is the environment, the coastline and the quality of water and the quality of your air. Not to Bush bash or anything, but Bush’s state had the worst record in the last 10 years with environmental issues and he has carried that over into this administration and the presidency.

Serious questions should arise when he is inviting representatives and attorneys for the energy companies into their offices to help them come up with what the energy policies of the administration should be. This is pre-9/11. They invite the energy companies to come in and help them write the laws as to how much pollution should be allowed out of their plants. They let them write their own ticket. What they are saying now, is that the air been cleaner since he’s been in office, because there have been less fines put out, when the fact is, they raised the level for the amount of shit that they can put into the air and not be fined.

A lot of times there’s six degrees of separation, and to get to the truth you’ve got to follow the money. With this administration with Cheney and Halliburton and Bush and the energy companies, there’s no separation. They are the energy companies. It’s going to take a lot of work to even undo what they have done in the last four years, not to mention the blank check they would have if they got in for another four years without having to think they’d have to run again.

Plus, you have the war and our troops getting sent out and us using every reservist there is at, and I’ll us the word that they use, “disposal.” The youth vote in general, which would include most surfers, if you have one third of those people who could be voting, voting how are you going to get your issues addressed?

At this point, if you are a guy who spends a lot of time in the water the environment is important to you. You’ve got to have a voice that is loud enough for them to hear, it’s the squeaky wheel that gets the grease. That’s why they pay attention to senior citizens and Medicaid, getting them prescription drugs, because three quarters of senior citizens vote. At this point, you have a draft that seems imminent if we continue on the road that they have traveled.

They say that there is no way that they are going to have a mandatory draft, but Bush also said he wasn’t going to participate in nation building, and that’s exactly what we are doing in Iraq. The poor people are fighting the war; the poor people are paying for the war, because the money is coming out of social programs and the only people making money off it just happen to be the same guys that Cheney and Bush represent in the White House. Not only are they making money, the contracts aren’t contested. We are talking billions and billions of dollars to so call “rebuild”.

The time has come. It’s now. It’s now for the 18-19 year old surfers that have never voted before to realize that there is power in this vote. It’s the one time in every four years that you are as equal to the richest, wealthiest, white guy in this country, that your vote means the same. It’s the one time that no matter what age, race, wealth bracket, it’s the one time that we are equal and to revel in that and participate in this democracy or what we hope will someday will resemble a full-fledged democracy. We are fighting for the fabric of our flag and for what it means. It feels like it’s been taken away, but you have to keep hope that you can get it back.
Tim Donnelly