You Are (The Government)
"Well..... This song has a sarcastic tone to it. You are told from when you are born that you are in charge of your country and your destiny. Remember: this is told to you through political propaganda. You are really in control of nothing, and only have the ability to learn what the government will let you, thus you are ignorant to their ways, and you are at their mercy. Your vote means nothing, and neither does anyone's political platforms. You can object...but you will be silenced by one of a million ways, be it passive or aggressive. You are (useless)"
"R.P.M's explanation goes along well to No Control as well. Gee ain't that just great?"
"This is about how the politicians and people in power think they are more important than the average Joe, when in fact it is the average Joe who elects them. The lyrics are suggesting that everyone can play an active role in society instead of relying on the morons in power to do it for them."
"I think this song deals with what is wrong with our society and way of life these days. It states whats wrong and it also states how by not changing it you in fact are the government!"
"I think it's about how we are told that we have power, but in actual fact we have next to none. We don't have a say in the running of anything, democracy is only there so that we can choose who makes our decisions, as opposed to deciding ourselves. The song may be sarcastic because he is trying to imitate the government. I don't think it's about your vote not counting, because Greg appears to be in favour of voting from his essay about responsible voting. On a side note, does anybody else feel that the money spent on presidential campaigns is a narcisstic statement?"
"In my mind this song inflicts upon us that each human being has an advantage over each other, which is the ability to use and operate their own mind, and produce their own decisions without an outside force such as the Government, and God Inc. getting in there way, and to not sit complacently while the earth around them is being destroyed in the name of profit. PEACE!"
"When Greg sings the chorus 'You Are The Government, You are Jurisprudence, You are the Volition, You are Jurisdiction, And I make a difference, too' I don't believe he is talking to the people in elected offices. I believe he is talking to each and every American, the source of real government in America and every other self-governing democracy. We live in a democracy and the power of democracy comes from the people, the voters. You may complain that you do not like your government or some aspect of the government. Well, my friend, you have the power to change the things that you do not like in America because we live in a democracy and ultimately YOU are the government. You say the government sucks. Well, did you vote in the last election? Did you volunteer to help with the campaign of your favorite candidate? Did you run for political office? In America, YOU are the government. You have the privilege (and duty) to participate. And the unbelievable part is that we tend to often overlook and neglect this great gift of self-government. Most people in America do not vote! Ultimately, it is your choice: you can just complain about how bad the government is and give up this power of self-government to other people who are willing to vote and participate in government and do nothing yourself. Or, you, like Bad Religion, can participate in your government and make a difference, too. Because ultimately, YOU ARE THE GOVERNMENT. Register to vote! And once registered, VOTE! I write this in spite of what happened in the recent Presidential election. If you don't vote you have absolutely no right to complain."
"Actually, it would seem to me this song is expressing a sense of hopelessness/powerlessness to effect any kind of positive change. It is being sung to the people in power who have fucked the world up by someone who would like to see things changed to be more sensible but feels hopelessly outweighed by the forces that perpetuate the system. 'You are the government, you are jurisprudence...'; all the institutions used to control society are controlled by the people that 'I' want to challenge, whereas 'I' am virtually powerless against 'You'; 'Can I make a difference?' This is the pessimistic outlook on social change that one finds in many Bad Religion songs (Empty Causes, Entropy, I Want to Conquer the World) P.S. Americans have been voting for quite some time. If we were really able to create a sensible, just society by voting, don't you think it would have happened by now? I don't vote, but I certainly reserve my right to complain."