TURN OUT THE LIGHTS, THE (DEMOCRATIC) PARTY'S OVER . The members of Twisted Sister, the hard-rockin' outfit which did battle with Al and Tipper Gore over music's meaning during the illegal 1985 Congressional hearings, have all endorsed Al Gore for President. The reasons they give are telling, since they are typical of the way millions of decent Americans have been brainwashed.

Twisted Sister frontman Dee Snider doesn't approve of Gore, exactly, saying "I don't trust the guy as far as I can throw him." But, Snider adds, "To me, everything else is moot if you don't have a planet to battle on. He's a big environmentalist. He's stood up for environmental issues in the face of a lot of hostility."

It would be more accurate to say that Gore has stood up for a lot of polluters in the face of a lot of friendly financial help. The Gore family, going back to Al's Senator dad, Al, Sr., has always had an extremely close relationship with Occidental Petroleum (Al, Jr. still gets a $20,000 annual check from a business deal his dad made with Occidental thirty years ago). One of Gore's top fund-raisers, Jack Bendheim, owns Philip Brothers Chemicals, which admits in its annual report that its subsidiaries are associated with environmental contamination in eight states, plus Norway and Israel. As a result of international agreements like NAFTA and the World Trade Organization aggressively championed by Al Gore, foreign countries now have the legal right to dismantle U.S. environmental standards if that adds to their profits. For instance, Venezuela successfully pursued a WTO case against American clean air standards, and now dirtier Venezuelan gasoline is legally imported into the U.S. As for the massive pollution of tobacco smoke, Al Gore has supported federal tobacco subsidies and, since 1985, has received $65,490 in tobacco industry contributions.

Is Dee Snider, now a Hartford disc jockey, an idiot for believing Gore to be a friend of the earth? No, like millions of Americans, he just believes that the sanitized dis-information flow that pervades our lives has some relation to the truth. Much of the same can probably be said of other musicians who've either endorsed or contributed to Gore: Sheryl Crow, Don Henley, the Grateful Dead's Bob Weir, Wayne Shorter.

Twisted Sister guitarist Jay Jay French put his finger on the truth, then got it ass backwards, when he explained his support of Gore: "I like insiders who have power and can get things done." Yes, Gore's an insider who gets things done, but not for the American public. Gore's support of NAFTA, the crime bill, welfare reform, music censorship, and the war in Yugoslavia are part of how he gets things done for the polluters, union-busting lawyers, real estate tycoons, transnational corporations, Internet privatizers, and defense contractors who fund his campaigns.

As long as we continue to agree to cripple ourselves by funneling efforts at social change mainly into a corrupt and hyper-manipulated annual round of elections, we'll all ultimately wind up like Twisted Sister: the reluctant tools of a Democratic Party that hates us, hates our culture, and is completely indifferent to the fate of the planet we're all traveling on.