Words have power and so words set to music can have even more influence. Right now I have the song, “From a Distance” in my head. I love the message about how you may dislike (possibly hate) something until you get close and see just what it is. I’m relating this to how I grew up with large dogs (OK huge. We had Newfoundland dogs) and never cared for small dogs.
I did not “get” the little dog attraction. In fairness, this was partially influenced by the comments owners of small dogs would say about my big dog. People would actually say “That’s a big dog” as if I was clueless. Some would suggest that my sweet, inherently gently dog would eat their dog which is not only preposterous but down right insulting. And, my least favorite “That’s not a dog it’s a horse.” This would cause me to suppress the voice inside my head from telling the person that my dog was a real dog and comparing their small dog to other small animals.
From a distance, I did not appreciate small dogs. Now that I have a part time job as a pet sitter / dog walker, I have gotten close to a few small dogs and I love them. They are different than large dogs in some ways but more similar than not. Their differences are really not much difference than the various personalities of one big dog compared to another. The traits they have in common far outweigh the differences. I think this is probably true for humans too.
We humans have the same core needs and aspirations yet we tend to focus on our differences. As a society, we highlight those differences. For example, Saturday Night Live has a new cast member. They do this from time to time as members move on, so this is not unusual. However, the news story was that SNL has hired an African American woman. I had to search for her name! Before I found it, I learned that this hiring was the first female African American cast member in 6 years. The new talented cast member is Sasheer Zamata. Yes, she is African American but she is also so much more. Her new co-workers praise her for her talent.
Instead of criticizing SNL for not hiring an African American female in many years, let’s give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they have been hiring the most qualified candidates. Maybe they hired based on merit instead of gender or race.
Let’s suppose that immediately following the 2008 election when we were about to have an African American President and First Lady, SNL hired African American cast members intending them to play the political rolls in skits. Would that be racial hiring? The cast members perform in many different rolls each week. Would it be right to hire someone to fill one particular roll? I’m not saying it is or isn’t. I’m simply raising questions.
Back to my original point about music. I would love to write a song with Taylor Swift. She is the talented singer song writer but I have a message and a song title to get us off to a good start. I would call our song “I care enough to not care.” This would not be a typical love song but it would be about love, love for humankind. I care enough about others to not care about their race, gender, sexual orientation, if they have freckles or are left handed. I can observe things about others but don’t need to categorize them and rarely need to treat them any differently based on these initial observations. I put that last part in because there are exceptions as there are people with special needs.
Do you care enough about humanity to not care?