Republicans should listen to more rap music, democrats more oldies

Republicans should listen to more rap music, democrats more oldies

Republicans should listen to more rap music, democrats more oldies
January 28
01:08 2016

Harrison Long | Opinion Editor

@HarrisonGLong

Before we proceed further, it should be clear that in order for the point of this article to resonate with the reader, vast generalizations must first be taken. It is understood by most that just as not all Republicans are backward-thinking bigots stuck in a 1950s mentality, not all Democrats are drugged-up hippies trying to overthrow the system and bring about anarchy.

Music is a powerful entity. It can be used to supplement positive feelings and evoke joyful memories of days past and yet to come, and even more, push a gloomy mood and bring tears to those who listen to it.

Musicians, artists and writers alike all have one thing in common: their devotion to express personal narratives and experiences through an artistic medium. Those who have mastered their craft and become eminent in their field did so not by guessing what was correct or what people wanted – they called upon deep, sometimes dark sentiments within themselves and threw it at the world. The stereotype of the tortured and starving artist exists because it has proven to be true time and time again.

Our political system has been gridlocked for some time. Both major parties have for years now looked down their noses at the other side. Republicans believe Democrats have no respect for anything sacred or moral, just as Democrats consider Republicans to operate with deficient intelligence or vision.

A revelation both would benefit from having is that politics and art, even if inconspicuously, blend with and compliment one another. The underlying messages about perception of society, be it good or bad, can be found in most creative outlets.

On Sep. 13, 1994, The Notorious B.I.G., also known as Biggie Smalls, released his now internationally-known album “Ready to Die.” This album catapulted Smalls to stardom and fame that lasts almost 20 years after his death. Despite whatever tastes one might have in music, it would behoove our lawmakers to consider the narrative provided in now-classics such as “Gimme the Loot” and “Juicy” both of which paint a clear picture of what desperation, lack of motivation and squalor can do to an impressionable young man.

When Smalls says “this album is dedicated to all the teachers that told me I’d never amount to nothin’, to all the people that lived above the buildings that I was hustlin’ in front of that called the po-lice on me when I was just trying to make some money to feed my daughter,” it provides an insight that more often than not receives a cold shoulder from those who have not experienced as much. His continual bragging is not meant to sound arrogant, but give hope to those who are where he used to be, and to provide a glimpse of what life is like beyond the hood.

Conversely, it could be prudent for those who point their fingers at conservatives, claiming they are stuck in an era of soda shops and drive-ins that is never to return. In Merle Haggard’s pro-establishment ballad “Okie from Muskogee” he condemns those who subscribe to the hippie lifestyle, as can be taken in “We don’t burn our draft cards down on main street, cause we like livin’ right and being free.”

Even if indirectly, this entire song is pining for the days before Vietnam, prevalent drug use, or nowadays, a war-torn middle east, and has become an anthem for those who want life to return to a simpler and more wholesome day.

Of course, these times were not perfect.

Racism and sexism were still very much institutionalized, and just as it does no one any good to glorify a gangster lifestyle, it is wrong to repaint history to demonize those who oppose you politically. It is beneficial to consider the other side’s viewpoint, if only to take a walk in another’s shoes and see things from an alternate perspective.

In short, the point should be made that in the age of buzzwords and congressional gridlock, it is unquestionably important to take note of those who view the world differently from oneself.

Who knows? Both sides have at least some valid points, and maybe actual progress has just disguised itself all this time as middle ground.

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