After breaking up with Paul Simon, Art Garfunkel sang a beautiful song written by Jimmy Webb, who wrote several of Glen Campbell’s hits (“Galveston,” “Wichita Lineman,” “By the Time I Get to Phoenix”), The 5th Dimension’s “Beautiful Balloon,” and “MacArthur Park,” which was a huge hit in the 1970s as sung by the actor Richard Harris.
The song is called “All I Know.” The first stanza is as follows:
I love you and that is all I know
This song is intended as a love song between two people who often fight and have hurt feelings as a result. But, I would like to use this stanza as a metaphor for relationships between all of us in civil society that have gone awry.
We are too easily bruising each others’ feelings. We are also taking offense too easily, when we should not or should listen to hear rather listen to react. I was highly disappointed with the tenor of the most recently concluded political convention, when hateful remarks were the norm and not the exception. I am hoping that the one next week will be the antithesis.
As an independent voter, I don’t care if someone is conservative on a viewpoint or liberal. What I found is many people have a mixture of opinions. To this point, Ivanka Trump told the GOP audience she is an independent voter. And, she like me joins many unaffiliated Americans.
Yet, what I do not like is the lack of civil discourse and use of information which is not steeped in facts. The latter is a key reason I religiously check the two fact checking organizations summaries. But, let me set that aside for now and get back to the civil discourse.
I do not agree with everything the politicians or parties support. My disagreement may be material or it may be in emphasis. For example, the President has done a commendable job, but I am disappointed that he did not move forward on the Simpson-Bowles Deficit Reduction Committee’s report, he tends to like the use of drones where we need more governance, while he has moved the ball forward on climate change he is too fond of fracking, and he did not collaborate more with a highly uncollaborative and obstinate Congress, e.g.
What I can tell you is neither party has all of the solutions and sometimes are not asking the right questions. Neither party should be smug that their way is the only way or even the right way, especially with funding that fuels their opinions. Again, I don’t mind a conservative or liberal view, but let’s work off the right data and do so civilly, respecting each other’s opinions. And, let’s work with real solutions and not what easily fits on a bumper sticker. Bumper stickers are not policy, they are advertisements.
The debt is a huge problem. Climate change is a huge problem. Water resources are a huge problem. Poor gun governance is a huge problem. Poverty is a huge problem as is the declining middle class. Civil rights for all citizens, especially those most disenfranchised, are lacking in too many places. Infrastructure needs are paramount and fixing them will create jobs. Terrorism is important, but combatting it must be holistic and involve all of us.
Building actual and proverbial walls are not the answers. We must reach out to each other and solve these problems as the diverse Americans we are. No American is more American than the next. And, no less, either. So, let’s civilly discuss the issues.
I agree with most of your points Keith. I was very disturbed not only by the Trump rhetoric but the general overtones. The shouting pushing , threatening demeanor if his followers so obviously angry and caught up in the hateful revenge seeking lemmings
I certainly had to look. Back at the rabid followers of dictators from the past. I love the songs of the very prolific Jimmy Webb. Such s gifted artist. Enjoyed your text Keith. Holly.
Many thanks. My wife and I got to see Jimmy Webb in a small venue. He was doing a tribute to Glen Campbell along with his other songs.
By the way, when Jimmy Webb performed he shared that after “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” and “Galveston,” Campbell asked him to write another one of those geography songs. So, he came up with “Wichita Lineman.” He also wrote “Beautiful Balloon” as he had a crush on Marilyn McCoo, one of the five singers and the lead voice on “Will you Marry me Bill?”
I fear that collaboration and compromise could be a thing of the past in politics. If we get a democratic president and at least one of the other bodies of government , I wonder if the plan will be to give back what they got (obstruction). We’ll see…
Janis, what is interesting is Clinton is talking collaboration and Kaine has an excellent reputation for such. This should be a huge selling point. Let’s hope they can carry it home. Keith
Very well said. I especially liked this line: [we] should listen to hear rather listen to react. That’s beautifully put.
Thanks Hugh. Too many of us like to hear ourselves talk. I think all of us are guilty of it, but we must guard against it.
Yes, but the “rush to judgment” is becoming commonplace. We need to listen, read, and think about what we read and hear. Civil discourse, as we have both said many times, is becoming a thing of the past.
Hugh, you are right about the “rush to judgment.” Some of that is related to the news, who want resolution to a problem soon and are impatient. Complex problems and holistic solutions are not tidy enough for them. Blame must be assessed and the problem dealth with. Great comment. Keith
You nailed it down again, Keith! There are so many real problems to take care of instead of only collecting votes! Just listening to the song. So beautiful!
Thanks Erika. Garfunkel’s voice offers an amazing tribute to this song.
Totally! He is like a conducting medium to lead the message deeper.
Spoken like a true singer!
Haha… thank you! 😊
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Thanks Erika. You are most kind, and Kind. I don’t do awards, but greatly appreciate the thumbs up. Your reading, commenting and sharing are the greatest award. Keith
Keith – Really nice points. After reading a couple fact-check sites (full disclosure: I did not watch any part of the convention) I find it alarming that so much mis-information can be presented as factual. Let’s hope the next convention will do better. Susan
Agreed. They need to do double checking on every fact and statement.
I came looking to see what you had to say about the convention that just ended. I am appalled at the negative, hate-filled everything during last week’s convention. I had to stop watching, it was …..how do I describe that feeling? well, appalled is the word I started with. Disgusted is another that comes to mind. This is the best the other major party can do?? Wherefore art those Eisenhower Republicans?? or ANY Republicans that can propose reasonable, thought-out ideas? When was the last time that happened anyway? I’ve been a democrat my entire life and yes, they are not perfect either nor do I agree with everything they propose. But they are the more intelligent party at this point and, really my entire life(first vote was for the losing Jimmy Carter in 1980). I can only hope that enough people come out to vote to keep the country going on its positive course. Thanks once again for a well though-out post. I can’t wait until the election is finally over!! gonna be a long three plus months…..
Our children are watching and they have to be carefully taught to be bigots. They learned a lot last week from Cleveland.
Great post, Keith … gave me pause to think … do I listen to hear, or to react? I think sometimes one, sometimes the other. I need to work on that. And worse … sometimes I think I don’t listen at all.
Thanks Jill. We all do it. Sometimes, I recognize I am about to react, then challenge myself to stay quiet and listen more.