The point: I’d like your help to spread an important and timely society-healing message by sharing or performing one of two songs. This is the liberal song of the pair. You can listen to the song on Spotify or other streaming services (search for ReliaSolve) or preview a copy by clicking on the image or on this link to hear Jake sing it or this link to hear Laura.
The details: I’m trying to help reverse the polarization of society into opposing groups that consider each other to be irredeemably flawed and to be fought rather than reasoned with. My twenty five years of experience as a professor and VP developing nanotechnology, virtual reality, and medical diagnostics offers no help so I’m trying a community approach.
It seems that many people draw much of their world view and approach to social engagement from media sources (Facebook, YouTube, podcasts, music, etc.) and that these media are also becoming polarized and unforgiving of real dialog. A shift of this media to give permission to talk and to provide an example of how it might work could help encourage improvement. This would not provide a full solution to the problem, but it will provide a shifting of the landscape to make it more acceptable.
To that end, I wrote a pair of songs — one aimed at moderate conservatives and one at moderate liberals — that incorporate the concept of active listening into their choruses and express the notion that we might respond to what seem like ridiculous views by engagement rather than, well, ridicule. They admit the large rifts between our initial positions and they express the full outrage that we enter the conversation with, but they offer an alternative outcome.
Working with Curtis Stith (a talented singer-songwriter that I know) over the course of several months and dozens of rewrites, the songs were reduced in length and radically reworked and improved. They were then reviewed by family and friends from both the liberal and conservative camps. Finally, they were reviewed by colleagues and strangers and further refined and produced to a level that shows their potential.
I then worked with David Spencer (an established producer and songwriter in Nashville) over several months to rework the songs again, refining them to the level where they could be released and hiring vocalists to produce polished versions.
To have maximum impact, they would be performed by popular artists in concert and on various media outlets (radio and web-based distribution sites). In one optimal case, two artists from different viewpoints would perform at a shared concert as a further expression of permission to engage each other as people rather than simply foes.
At this point, I’m seeking artists who want to engage with this issue and to help pull everyone back into the same family. These songs could be useful to you as vehicles to carry that message. The styles and melodies would need to be adapted and the lyrics further revised to match your style, but the current forms convey the message in a voice that matches each camp and is well received by many listeners. If you’re interested, send email to email@example.com.
In the meantime, if you want to help: share a link to this page, share the songs on playlists, and spread the word!
Lyrics:I struggle not to see
your words as simple bigotry.
… Let me buy us both a drink
I won’t hit you with disdain,
or all the questions I could frame,
until I really hear what you believe
I’ll bite my tongue and not butt in,
let you complete what you begin,
soak up your words like water into sand.
I won’t agree and I won’t attack
but in my own words say it back.
And then together, you and me
can build a bridge to help us see, can build a bridge, build a bridge to
Humanity. I’m talkin’ ‘bout you and me – our similarities, we gotta learn to see.
I’m talking humanity – it’s more than just you and me.
If we want harmony, we gotta learn to see.
Learn to see.
My friends all wanna see you fired,
they say your views are old and tired,
but I think that it’s a warning sign.
‘Cause I can see your work is good.
Yeah I hope it’s understood
you should be allowed to speak your mind.
[verse completion] Change: I’ll hold my tongue
Why’s it so hard for me to see
That you’re a person just like me?
You say it’s hard as hell for you
to see me as a person too…