I’ve started listening to a country music station, while I drive around or to or from work, my vehicle being only coincidentally a Ford F-150. And, based on the music that’s been getting air time, I began thinking that John McCain never had much hope of being elected President of these United States. In my estimation, listeners of 'country' radio are pretty conservative, politically speaking (not entirely true, according to the polls). I think that for the most part, country music, the singers, the listeners and everyone else who is involved in this true American industry are an excellent, valid proxy for the great Silent Majority that Richard Nixon told us about.
And so, I don’t think McCain didn’t win their vote, because they became enamored of Barack Obama, who it has to be admitted has a pretty liberal platform (which got him my vote). McCain has lost their vote, because the single issue he really cares about was the war in Iraq, and the attendant restoration of America’s military glory. Let’s be clear. When the US invaded Iraq in 2003, country music was right there with lots of songs that echoed and reechoed patriotism: what a great country the USA was and how great it was to be an American. And that fervor, perhaps muted somewhat, continued through the general election in 2006.
This year was different, though. The songs are about us, everyday people and the choices we make, good and bad. The songs are reflections, even meditations, on how we arrived or came to be where and who we are today. As with a lot of musical genres, there’s some outstanding poetry of the kind looking inward and taking stock. While I’m speculating, it strikes me that Country Music is pretty quick to take a pulse of what and how we’re thinking. And, what they’re serving up in response tells me that waving the flag and brash boasting about being American isn’t where Nashville thinks its audience is right now.
Brooks and Dunn and “The Red Dirt Road” says it all pretty well for me.
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