To look out upon the world today, you see wars raging, racial strife, people struggling, and a general sense of anger that many feel is unprecedented. What’s happening to us?! Though this is what is called “recent bias.” Sadly, the world has always been this way. Americans in particular look back on past slavery, a cruel, inhumane practice that was legal in the nation for many generations before it was finally ended. But to look at many countries in Africa, and in India and some Asian countries, slavery is still legal. There are also concentration camps and caste systems in the world, as you’re reading this. So, no, these things are not unprecedented, despite how much the corporate media shouts that they are. This is pretty much the status quo for humanity. We’re all just wandering around blindly trying to find a path, and, individually speaking, we can get lost.
What does this have to do with country music? Awareness of the self, as the great philosophers put it, is the first step taken toward impactful change. So while listening to your favorite tunes on hit country music radio isn’t going to change the world, finding inspiration through great music can certainly help you change yourself. It’s the difference between viewing the ocean as an impossible amount of water vs. an amalgam of individual drops. Once you view yourself as an individual drop, and change yourself, that sort of thing spreads.
Granted, it’s primarily the world’s governments that inflict so much trauma on the people, but our hands are not clean. Humans have a capacity for hatred that is unlike anything else seen with any other animals on the planet. It’s a shame, too. As songwriter Elvis Nash put it, we’re all crayons, sharing the same box, with so many colors to share. Unfortunately, we’re broken crayons. We’ve never collectively found the way.
No version of humanity has ever truly lived in peace. You might have notions of peaceful societies, once upon a time, but those bygone years aren’t what they may seem at first glance. Delve into the details and you find inter-tribal warfare, invading hordes, and all manner of horrible cruelty. Good country music can draw attention to the ills we all face on this planet, but alone that is all it can do.
No matter how great the song, or how prolific the artist, they’re just words you hear on the radio, or slogans printed on a country music graphic t-shirt. You’re not going to walk into the middle of a raging war, turn your amps to 11, and get everyone to stop fighting. Real life isn’t the movies. All sweeping change starts on an individual level. Being a better person, being nicer to people, voting for the change you want – actually becoming the change you want to see. All you can control is yourself, and this is a message that spreads to other people.
We might all be broken crayons, individual drops, but with enough drops, you get an ocean.