Can Music Bridge The National Divide
If you are someone who is familiar with the mainstream music industry and politics in general, it is safe to assume that you are familiar with Taylor Swift’s recent song “You Need to Clam Down”, while Swift has always been quiet about her political stance, this song is one of the defining moments in her career, and it talks about her support for Equality Act.
However, this is not the first time an artist has stood up for something political. Artists such as Beyonce and Bruce Springsteen have time and again, supported the left wing, whereas artists like John Rich and Kid Rockhave shown support for the right wing. This kind of gives a gist that in the political environment that is volatile such as ours, pretty much everything we do is, in the way or another, under political light, and the concept of unified America is a thing of dreams.
However, this does not mean that we should overlook the power of music and how it can bridge the national divides of America. If you take a look back 150 years from today, you will find America going through a National Peace Jubilee, an event which served the purpose of doing exactly what musicians are trying to do today. However, the purpose was on a much larger scale as it was the Civil War. Although there was a limited success involved in the process, it did signify one fact; that music, in some capacity, can be used to bridge the divides that often tear this nation apart.
The purpose of the festival was to help people go through the healing process to get rid of the wounds that the Civil War had left on the nation. The belief here was simple, yet powerful; healing a nation through amazing musical performances could actually work. Gilmore talked about how there is not a single gesture of gratitude that will be enough to honor how the national peace was restored at last.
TheJubilee, or the concert as many would say comprised of a structure that was custom built, this structure could hold 50,000 people, spanning across 4 acres of land. Back in the day, it was the largest building in Boston and it was known as the Coliseum, and it was located on what we know today as Copley Square. The place was designed to house an orchestra comprised of 1,000 players, and a choir consisting of 10,000. These people were brought in from a staggering 103 choral societies predominantly from the Northeast. 150 years ago, this event happened to be the greatest musical event that was known.
The musical talent was not just from America, but from around the world, including Ole Bull, who was one of the best Norwegian violinists. The second day was even bigger because, during that day, the president at that time Ulysses S. Grant appeared as a special visit, and he was welcomed in a full military style.
Needless to say, whatever happened that day showed one thing; that music, something so different from politics itself, became a force with political nature. Today, it speaks in the same volume. When we look at artists like Taylor Swift now siding with a political cause and helping the candidates, as well, we realize that perhaps music could serve as the instrument that can help bridge the nation’s divide. We can also conclude from this situation that this is not just limited to America, but it actually can be applied to the entire world.