Chosen Ruler is a protest against authoritarianism, groupthink, and scapegoating.
This single paints a bleak portrait of an individual’s decent into wilful ignorance and cowardly violence. The song’s protagonist is also seen within the context of a wider societal trend: the masochistic tendency to elect leaders who ultimately punish those who mark a ballot in their favour.
“A black X scrawled / For a new state of scripted control” is the unsettling choice made within a voting booth in this song. It is a decision borne out of misguided, divisive rhetoric, and a reliance upon fear-of-the-other propaganda. These are the very same retrograde ideas that were espoused by the 45th president of the world’s second largest democracy. The very same president who has been disturbingly cited as being “the chosen one”.
The song Chosen Ruler is sadly not an adaptation of dystopian fiction. It is an unflinching look at what is playing out before our very eyes. It is a cautionary tale to us all.
In the fall of 2019, a bizarre series of headlines had begun making the rounds. Apparently, a number of individuals had come to believe that a president (who shall remain nameless) was “the chosen one”. Not just a person who was (shockingly) ushered into office by a portion of the electorate, but someone who was legitimately part of a divine lineage.
The notion seemed comical to me. For a second. But, the realization that these statements were being made without irony — and by adults — was alarming. Especially in light of that president’s ongoing xenophobic and racist actions against the people that live, or that seek to live, within the nation that he is supposedly leading.
This president, like so many current political figures on the right, was brought into power on the promise that he would return people’s lives, and livelihoods, to a mythological golden age. It would be a magical transformation into the past. And, to get there? Divide, violently disrupt, and conquer. Respond to the press with nonsense, or simply a wall of silence. Bulldoze backward into a pre-civil rights dystopia.
Here in Canada, I have observed a worrying level of similarly dangerous, and at times utterly discriminatory, rhetoric coming from the right. Emboldened by the president’s playbook, there have been more “conservative” politicians than I care to recall who have tried their hand at the same kind of fear-of-the-other tactics that resonated so strongly south of the border. This normalization of scapegoating, and pandering to the far right, is genuinely appalling. And sadly, such deliberate ignorance — innocuously referred to as “populism” — has taken hold across the globe. Why go to the effort of building fair, inclusive and progressive societies, when you can just hate someone?
And here we are. Those of us living under right-wing majority governments are feeling the fallout. All those lower taxes we were promised? Yes, we might have been granted those token discounts. But, at what expense? Witness the continued, and seemingly endless, cuts to healthcare, education and science. It is as if we are compelled to elect leaders who will ultimately penalize us.
During the next election, we will have the privilege of marking a black X on our ballots. That X can either set off another oppressive era of scripted control. Or, it can open the door toward a more compassionate and forward-thinking existence — for all people, and for the planet.
Make YOUR VOICE heard.
- Chosen Ruler (Mix V2)*
- Chosen Ruler
*The bonus track “Chosen Ruler (Mix V2)” was added to this release as a Bandcamp exclusive on November 2, 2021. Why? Simply because this updated mix does a better job of capturing the energy and emotion of the song. Get this version here, or on “The Idiot Parade EP” (released on November 1, 2021).
Vicar: voice, programming, guitar, mixing, mastering, visuals
Recorded at Scriptorium IV in 2020.
Released June 8, 2020
THIS IS AN OFFICIAL RELEASE, offered directly from us (DHI).
Support the band. Not the bootleggers. Learn more >