Can Americans Still Be Bigger Than Their Differences?

Sooner or later the lights up above Will come down in circles and guide me to love – Fall On Me, by A Great Big World & Christina Aguilera

What does it take to step beyond the mundane, the known, the settled certainties that govern our ideologies and alliances? What exceptional American passion still guides all of us, no matter how far apart we may think we are on so many issues that matter so much?

Last month the American Music Awards had its annual televised extravaganza. While show’s format inevitably presented fodder for conservative criticism, late in the program, singers Christine Aguilera and Ian Axel took the stage to deliver a new song of extraordinary beauty. Not only was the song utterly apolitical and touched universal themes, if you changed just a few words it could have been a gospel hit delivered by Hillsong.

The rapturous reception this song received, and the enduring power of a song like this before any audience, speaks to something universally present in the American psyche that can still be tapped – traits all Americans share of empathy, compassion, hope, and transcendental love.

So much has been alleged about how facts guide the conservative right-wing agenda, and emotion guides the liberal left-wing agenda. There’s probably some truth to this. One could go further and allege that to the extent the conservative agenda invokes fear and emotion, it is fear and emotion based on facts – welfare states cannot afford to absorb millions […] Read More