North Stars

Arcade Fire’s Win Butler supports Obama: ‘I want four more sweet years of Canadians liking Americans’

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As an American living and working in Canada, Arcade Fire frontman Win Butler will vote in the U.S. presidential election on Tuesday, and he has chosen his candidate by carefully considering the repercussions he'd feel north of the border.

"I am excited for four more years of an Obama presidency for many reasons, but the one I am going to write about is selfish: I want four more sweet years of Canadians liking Americans," Butler writes for 90 Days, 90 Reasons, a pro-Barack Obama website (not related to the President's official campaign). The site was started by writer Dave Eggers and music manager Jordan Kurland and features essays by a variety of figures in American pop culture, including David Cross, Moby, Ben Gibbard, Bill Clinton, Anne Hathaway, and Miranda July.

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In his essay, "Reason No. 86," Butler writes that he believes "Barack Obama is perhaps the greatest president of modern times at communicating directly with foreign populations. He has also changed the way the government communicates with its own citizens about the outside world."

In other words, Butler says Obama's charismatic speeches aren't just tricks he uses on the campaign trail. The singer believes the President's likeability will help U.S. relations around the world, including Butler's new home country, Canada. His essay also suggests that some of Republican candidate Mitt Romney comments from the past few months are potentially offensive to other cultures, while praising President Barack Obama's moving speech about human rights to the U.N.

"This speech was broadcast all over Canada and the world, and it detailed America's vision for human rights, democratic change in the Middle East, and its priority to change the global status of women," Butler writes. "I felt so proud — as an American citizen living in a socially progressive country like Canada — that our president understands that there are global moral imperatives that unite us all."

Butler's younger brother and fellow Arcade Fire member Will also wrote an essay with a similar tone, arguing that he thinks it's not helpful to see the rest of the world as potential threats.

"I like that Obama isn't trying to scare me," he wrote. "There are dangers in the world, yes, but we don't need to fear them blindly — we need to see them clearly. Obama acts like we should engage the world, not shrink from it."

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Both Butler brothers -- Win, 32, and Will, 30 -- grew up in Texas, but Win moved to Montreal, Quebec in 2000 to attend McGill University, where he met future wife Regine Chassagne. Arcade Fire got its start in the early 2000's, and Will came up to Canada shortly thereafter. Although the band is based out of Montreal, they often travel around the world.

But they're not the biggest celebs to throw their names behind Obama. Other stars like Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Katy Perry, Bruce Springsteen, George Clooney, and Tom Hanks have publicly supported Barack Obama in Tuesday's election.