Politics and Pop Music

10 Nov

I woke up this morning wondering if what happened yesterday was some sort of dream or a virtual reality Hollywood movie that had mysteriously found its way into my flat. It just didn’t seem real. It still doesn’t. In case you didn’t catch the news yesterday, I am talking about the results of the US presidential electionclipart-ballot-fn0n3v-clipart and the news that Donald Trump will soon be moving into the White House.

I can imagine that many Americans took the news as I took the news of British Brexit vote back on 24th June. Shocked, appalled, complete disbelief are some of the adjectives I can use but somehow they don’t even quite cover it. With Brexit I also had a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach and, as the implications of what might and might not be, sunk in the feeling grew and grew throughout the day.

I am not so melodramatic to say that I felt the same feeling yesterday than I did when Brexit happened. On one side I had no right to vote so, in a sense, nothing that I could say or do would make any difference to the outcome of the vote and, on the other side, I think to a certain degree the political events of 2016 have desensitized me slightly. Now, nothing is impossible.

There are lots of similarities between Brexit and the US elections. The most worrying parallel is that both of the campaigns were centred on the negatives, on hate and on fear. Playing on peoples’ fears will always stir up strong emotions and the protagonist will hope that this fear will sway the voter to see there point of view. So much in both campaigns was made about immigration and foreign workers. This is a far too simplified view. Immigrants can bring immense advantages and often are not immigrants just to take from the country that they have emigrated to. I should know this as I am also an immigrant, expat, whatever you want to call me.

Where is the positivity? I remember campaigns where hope and promise of new beginnings was at the forefront of campaigning, not instilling fear into the nation so that votes are cast on irrational emotions and not on the facts or reasonable assumptions.

It might seem like a crazy comparison but I think the negativity of political campaigning is directly proportional to the demise of popular chart music in the Western world. No really, hear me out!

In the 80s and 90s we had hope that our politicians would deliver a better future and they urged us to vote on the basis of hope for the future and not fear of what might happen if we voted for the other guy. The chart music in the 90s also instilled us with hope. It told us, young girls, that there is a young man out there who will tell you he loves you and want to be with you forever and ever (in fact, sometimes forever wasn’t enough). You didn’t need to settle for second best; you would find someone who loves you and deserves you.

These days pop music is about twerking and bae riding in your pimped up car. There is no lyrical indication of the complex emotions that come with relationships, love and heartbreak.

Ok so maybe this is just a coincidence. But I think that it is definitely worth making a social experiment, or even a commitment, to bring back the sentiments and depth (a relative term!) of music from yesteryear  to see if my theory has any legs at all. If it doesn’t improve the vibes of electioneering, then at least we will have better music than we have today.

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