Sometimes, to understand the real opinions of real Americans, to gather the pulse of the American populace, one must put one’s ear to the chest of the United States and listen to its heartbeat. And nowhere is this heartbeat heard clearer than in the collective cultural unconsciousness expressed in country music.
To almost every question, country music has an answer, and in listening for the subliminal messages of country music we can be sure to understand the attitudes of the American people. It’s an important exercise for politicians of every stripe who want to adequately represent their constituents.
At the present moment then, we consider the question: how can we fix the federal deficit?
1) Some country artists such as Easton Corbin express a solid state of pessimism about the state of U.S. prosperity.
I could write a thousand letters
Call a hundred times a day
Or try to drown my sorrow at the bar
I could go down to the church
Get on my knees and pray
But it still won’t change the way things really are
Won’t bring you back again
Clearly what Mr. Corbin here expresses is that Western prosperity in general as already gone, and already gone to Asia, and that no amount of cultural reaction and effort can turn the tide of today’s Eastern Dynamism it “won’t bring you back again.” The well known fact is that China owns much of the United State’s trillion dollar debt. No doubt Corbin would approve of abandoning traditional free market thinking and head at American prosperity in general through real world policies a la Clyde Prestowitz and maybe even getting used to the decline of the dollar.
2) Conversely some artists such as Lady Antebellum, in the song “Need You Now” suggest that the U.S. economy should not stray too far from its guiding principles of free markets and social mobility:
It’s a quarter after one
I’m all alone
And I need you now
Said I wouldn’t call
But I’ve lost all control
And I need you now
And I don’t know how I can do without
I just need you now
If these lyrics mean anything, they mean calling on the familiar and trusted methods that have lead to the greatness of the United States and to weather the storm and trust that the manufactured prosperity of other nations through government intervention will not stand the test of time. And this should be pursued even if it hurts in the meantime.
Yes I’d rather hurt than feel nothing at all
It’s a sentiment that those at the right leaning RealClearPolitics.com believe in, suggesting that the debt ceiling will go up and all will go on as usual. We call on our old lovers, as the country song says.
3) Finally, country music seems to veer further from both the pessimism of Corbin and the complacency of Lady Antebellum. Keith Urban, in the song’Til Summer Comes Along, suggests prosperity will return, using the metaphor of a girl who may come back with the seasons.
You had to go, I understand
But you swore that you’d be back again
And so I’m frozen in this town
‘Til summer comes around
In the meantime, hard work, budget cuts, maybe even higher taxes will be necessary to ensure that we are ready to receive our economic lover.
I grease the gears, fix the lights, tighten bolts,
Straighten the tracks
And I count the days til you just might come back
It is such hard work that the U.S. populace in general will need to aspire to if it wishes to maintain its unique place as a world leader in post-modern history.