Friday, April 17, 2009

I Don't Vote Based on a Song, But I Bet Some Do

Maybe I am morally repugnant, but music does not permeate my life like it does for some. I do not have my Ipod on at the moment (it is in the drawer and probably the battery is dead), I do not listen to music in my car (I listen to NPR) and I do not turn on music at my house (either there is already someone there with the TV on, or I just enjoy the quiet). On the very rare occassion I do choose some music to listen to, it is oldies. Earlier than 1990, but probably later than 1950.

So Sunday night I was relaxing with a good book and DSD was watching the Country Music Awards. I couldn't help but hear some of the music and some of it was enjoyable, I caught myself paying more attention to it than the book. (I didn't care about the presentations) But I was not happy when John Rich performed his new hit song. I was astonished by the words and it occurred to me that THIS is where middle America gets their information on how to vote, who to like and how to feel about our present economic distress.

DC's paying out the banker
As the farmers auction ground
And while their living up on Wall Street
In that New York City town
Here in the real world they're
Shutting Detroit down
Here in the real world they're
Shutting Detroit down

Let's look at this chorus for a moment, shall we?

Yes, DC has paid out enormous amounts of money to Fannie and Freddie, et al, for the past few months. And DC has paid out enormous amounts of money to large commercial farmers for the past 80 years. Is either fair? Paying farm subsidies has not kept the small town farmer in business, he is slowly disappearing from the American landscape and that has nothing to do with today's economy or even the economy of the last 10 years.

I am certainly no expert on farm subsidies, but some pro/con information can be found here, here and here.

And, while there are probably those who are "living it up on Wall Street," what could the former employer of Leamon Brothers possibly be celebrating? And, hey, John Rich, New York City IS part of the United States of America aka the real world and has been for quite a long time.

And when is Detroit shutting down?

Here is the part of day when I start assuming, because to those of us who do not live in Michigan, Detroit = American Automakers. Maybe that isn't what this song is referring to, maybe it is referring to something completely different, but, as an Average American, I hear automakers, what do other Average Americans hear?

So from what I understood from the words of this song is that DC (President Obama) is throwing money at Wall Street and working feverishly to ensure that Ford, Chrysler and GM close and lock the doors to each of their factories, never to be re-opened. I know this is all a lot of hooey, because I pay attention to what is going on in this country. But many Americans do not, for whatever reason. Many Americans will use this song as just one more complaint about the current administration without finding out the truth.

Many Americans still believe that Saddam Hussein and Iraq had something to do with 9/11. Is this because Dubya and cronies announced it constantly? Probably, but how much of it has to do with these words?

I hear people saying we don't need this war
But I say there's some things worth fighting for
What about our freedom and this piece of ground
We didn't get to keep 'em by backin down
They say that we don't realize the mess we're gettin in
Before you start your preachin let me ask you this my friend
Have You ForgottenHow it felt that day
To see your homeland under fire and her people blown away
Have you forgotten
When those towers fell, we had neighbors still inside
Going through a living hell

Mr Worley does go on to remind us that we are looking for bin Laden. But this song was recorded on April 15, 2003. No one was thinking about Afghanistan at that time; the only war on the hearts and minds of the American people was the Iraq war. And this song still makes me think of Iraq.

We expect a lot out of our celebrities in this country. We expect them to be beautiful and skinny and perfect at all times. Maybe we should just expect them not to do a disservice to the less fortunate. Maybe they should be as concerned for the less educated among us and put out valid information.

Or maybe, like me, we should just turn off the radio.