There is a misnomer going around in our culture that if you and I do not agree on the same moral standards, laws, structure of government, which part of the sidewalk we should walk on, or whether pumpkin spice lattes should be made available all year or just seasonally then one of us should compromise by agreeing with the other person’s view completely while renouncing our original view.
In the mid-90s, the National Association for Music Education set out to revive this activity in homes, community organizations, and schools by launching a “Get America Singing…Again!” campaign. According to its own materials, “The campaign [had] two main objectives: the first of which [was] to establish a common song repertoire that Americans, of all ages, know and can sing.” To this end, the NAFME compiled a collection of 88 songs every American should be familiar with and able to belt out with their fellow citizens. (You can see the list here; how many do you know — not only in recognizing the title, but remembering all the lyrics?)
So I went to the site that he provided the link for and I guess it was okay, but when I read through the list I kept hearing all the talking points and ideologues from both sides of the moral aisle for why some songs should be removed from the list because they weren’t inclusive enough, or they were written by xyz person who did xyz in the past, or that some songs were fascist or nationalist and would lead to hate crimes. Others might say that some of the songs should be required in our schools or sung by every immigrant who wants citizenship. But I think the well meaning National Association for Music Education may have gotten it wrong. Instead of trying to bring people together who do not think alike, or listen to the same music, they should have made lists for the different groups of people to get together within their group. Maybe even suggest that those groups get together to listen to each other’s music.
So then I thought, who cares? Everyone has their own musical style(s) that they prefer. Even within like-minded circles such as churches there is a wide range and passionate thought on what should and should not be sung. So how in the world can we expect to share a round of songs in the public sphere that meets everyone’s shared values…..? And that is where the root lies.
We do not share the same values with everyone, at all places, at all times.
Humans like to be at ease, comfortable, around familiar people, places, and things. Change is hard unless you are one of the rare breeds who thrive within change. There are some. Market research folks call them early adopters and trend setters. They target those people. But they are a small percentage.
Anyways. It is okay to disagree. It is okay for me to want to sing I Saw the Light with my country friends and for someone else to sing The Piano Man in a bar with their friends (I have sung that at a bar in Vegas with some Brits, it was a fun night).
I do not have to believe its okay for you to love whoever you want to love anymore than you want me to not hate who I want to hate (and if we say that we don’t hate anyone then we lie and are deceiving ourselves. And if you don’t hate those who prey on our children, kidnapping them, luring them into sexual slavery or molesting them in their homes then I question your values and would not trust you with an unborn child).
Love and hate are emotions and symptoms of the values that we hold. The problem comes in when we use authority to force each other to love or hate something. It is impossible and will only lead to tribal warfare.
For my Christian peeps out there. See Psalm 2. God has a sense of humor, or at least He is said to laugh. I find it amusing that what He laughs at, we get super stressed about (politics in particular and the plans of men).
Merry Christmas, since I probably won’t post again for another six months!