Musician Matthew Grimm, a longtime Iowa City fixture now based in Madison, Wisconsin, recently released a video intended to assist in Get Out the Vote efforts. “The Whirlwind” is a no-holds-barred indictment of the current administration. It condemns its actions, landing hard on ICE raids and the treatment of immigrants.
“Did you think we’d take your hand and just go gently into a new dark age?” the song asks, calling on all Americans to rise up and become a whirlwind to sweep away injustice.
“I did this GOTV/Bring It Home anthem called ‘The Whirlwind’ to light a few fires under what asses I was able,” Grimm wrote in an email. “Figure a bit of fire might help in the stretch-run.”
For the video, Grimm cobbled together some of the most potent images coming out of the news in the past months — shots of ICE in action, for example, juxtaposed against Nazi-era photos snuck into the mix — along with pics of the “enemy within,” as the song names the administration heavyweights that Grimm calls a “rogues gallery” in his email (Chuck Grassley and Steve King make the cut).
As he roll-calls the diversity of America in the song’s second half, he shows images of rabblerousers and heroes of the progressive movement, including many current candidates for office. J.D. Scholten and Abby Finkenauer have cameos here.
The PAC Blue America picked up on the song and had Grimm put together some shorter versions of the song as ads for some of their target candidates, including Scholten.
When he first shared the song online, Grimm wrote: “I did a new song and packed a solid two years of rage into it. Alternate alternate title: The Machine That Kills Fascists. The latter is [the general] you, by the way.”
Grimm, who was raised in Stanwood, Iowa, spent seven years in Iowa City honing his credentials as what he calls “a musical ‘activist’ of sorts.” He still plays in the area on occasion and has connections in the labor community here.