American “Freedom,” “Burden,” and coming home
Rock and roll will see us through this rough patch we have had. It’s the kind of purpose music serves after all: to calm, to comfort, and to inspire those who need it.
My wife and I got to see one of our favorite performers a couple of weeks ago. Amos Lee treated the people at the Murat Theater to a typical show featuring his distinctive vocals and his trademark subject matter of relationships. He sings about relationships to people and places. He sings about symbolic and otherwise insignificant objects from time to time and then rips into rockers about his faith.
He doesn’t really do political songs. Unless a guy like me is listening. I hear politics when the subject matter is made up of people, places, objects and faiths. That is what America is to me.
So when he sings his song “Freedom,” he might have been thinking about something different than what I hear:
“Freedom is seldom found
by beating someone to the ground.
Telling him how everything
is gonna be now.”
This is the most “involved” I have ever been in a season of campaigns. I have invested so much time reading, listening and writing about candidates this time around that I have forgotten some of the things that were written and said just a few weeks or months ago.
Four years ago, after Mitt Romney’s loss to President Obama, the GOP acknowledged its areas of weakness and vowed to address them. Those gaps in support were with Latinos, blacks, women and young people. Then the primary process resulted in the nomination of Donald Trump, a candidate who found a way to solidify the party’s distance from these same and giant parts of America.
The Democrats had their own dangerous fight with themselves on the big stage. Bernie Sanders unexpectedly made the party really think about it. This was a party of which many of us thought had their nominee two years ago. And feelings got hurt along the way. But Sanders’ “political revolution” was not wasted energy. He matters now, well after his campaign officially ended.
Hillary Clinton seems to have been the survivor of it all.
It has been exhausting though. It has been a burden on Americans. I imagine “Burden,” being sung by the finalists of this ugly campaign to all of us:
“I never meant to be a burden
I just worry more than I’d like to.
I never meant to be a burden.
Please forgive me, if I’ve weighed on you.”
In Indiana, control of the U.S. Senate has also been hanging over us like a dark, ominous, storm cloud. The two major party candidates have worn us out with their attacks on each other. I happen to know that both of these guys are better than the barrage of ads would make them seem. I wish everyone did.
Also here in the Heartland, we got to see the end of an embattled term in the Indiana Governor’s office. No matter what happens tonight, Mike Pence’s time as governor is almost over. I have written many times how important his time there needed to end. It has ended in an odd twist of fate, but the most important thing is that it ended.
Our next governor will be a better one. John Gregg is who I predict will win, and I started predicting that in January. He wants to serve our state and his campaign has proven that he is ready. I believe he will do a great job.
He and Eric Holcomb should be proud of the class they have shown this fall. Proud not just because the other campaigns have been so awful, but because they made the effort to act like grown ups. We needed that.
And most of all, we need to act like grown ups as a people and get back together with each other. Honestly, I can’t believe that I have friends who will vote for a Trump/Pence ticket. But I do. I want to keep those friends after today. Well most of them any way.
I definitely want them to keep me even after I vote the other way.
We can get it back together America. Seriously, no one can stay mad for long while singing “Sweet Pea” to someone you left, or someone who left you, or anyone else for that matter.
“Sweet Pea, keeper of my soul,
I know sometimes I’m out of control.
But you’re the only reason I keep on coming home.”
Try it America. It works. Trust me.