I’m not what you’d call a fan of Country Music. Most of it seems just about as appealing to me as Rap Music, which has hardly any appeal at all. I will acknowledge that there are a few songs in both genres that have wide appeal for good reasons. If I’m in the right mood, I might even catch myself singing the country classic made popular by Jim Reeves, “Put your sweet lips a little closer to the phone…” from the song, “He’ll have to go.” But that’s just about as far as Country Music appreciation goes for me.

Other country songs that have become wildly popular in their times, like “Kansas City Star,” “England Swings,” and other stilted, strain-to-rhyme tunes by Roger Miller are to my mind like encountering more than one hair in an egg salad sandwich. Thoroughly off-putting.

I can accept that Patsy Cline had a great voice and she crooned some great tunes too. Who could resist any connection with her as she sings the plaintive lyrics of “Crazy?” But there are just so many less-than-mediocre Country Music singers, singing abysmal lyrics that I’m afraid I just don’t give most of them a fair chance. Okay. My loss. I’ll live with it.

There was once a popular tune on the radio by a Canadian singer, Murray McLauchlin, called “The Farmer’s Song.” In that song, he aptly pointed out in his lyrics, “There’s no farmer songs on that car radio. Just cowboys, truck drivers and pain…” I can’t say that the claim is 100% accurate, but it does feel that way at times. One set of Country Music lyrics that is quite painful in many ways is the one that states categorically, “I’ve got tears in my ears, from lyin’ on back, crying my heart out over you.” No doubt, it is a common human condition at some point in most of our lives, but I must confess that the first time I heard the lyric, my pain came from being doubled over with laughter at the crude simplicity of the expression, even while knowing that that is exactly what often happens to truly heartbroken people. Again, my loss.

That’s what people often do when they don’t fully understand something. They laugh at it. They dismiss it. How many times have you laughed at, or even felt insulted by, the seeming effrontery of what you saw as a crude abstract painting? The most common summation being a comment akin to, “My five year-old could do that!” Well, some people don’t get Country Music and some people don’t get abstract art.

So it is with many things related to human expression. I have my favourite authors. They probably won’t match your favourite authors. I have memories of movies that I think are cinematic masterpieces. Other people come home from movies saying that sequels were “better than” the originals. I say no matter how many Rocky movies or Alien movies were ever made there was only one great one – the first one. Tastes differ. It’s no big deal. I’m glad there are Country Music fans out there. I’m glad that there are people who enjoy some kinds of entertainment that leave me shaking my head, trying to fathom why anyone would swallow that pap. Let’s be different from each other and learn to love the richness that differences create! As David Bowie sang in one of his songs during his militantly gay stage of life, “What are we coming to? No room for me, no fun for you…”

Let’s be different from each other. Let’s learn to love those differences even though we might not understand them. Let’s be a magnificent, artistic tapestry, full of colour and variety but let’s be tightly woven, hanging together, mutually supportive in matters that count!

The upcoming U.S. election is a matter that counts! Trump’s heart may be in the right place, but his entire career has been built on salesmanship, i.e., telling people what they want to hear even though it is a big, fat lie! And in true child-like fashion he is adept at name-calling and turning things around by accusing his opponents of all the things he, himself, is guilty of. It is a deflection technique that simply won’t work if one cares to examine the facts. Trump’s lies are so numerous and so well documented, they could be cited in tiny printed snippets to create a wallpaper pattern!

At the very least, ask yourself why Russia has provided cyber-snoop information about the Democrats to Trump. Then ask yourself the logical follow-ups to that question. “Why doesn’t Russia want Hillary to be elected?” And, “Should I vote the way Russia wants me to vote?”

Get it right, America! Don’t fall for the tired ploy of mindlessly repeating the groundless, generalized accusations directed at his opponent. If you want to remain strong, if you want to remain great, learn to appreciate or even enjoy differences and keep your nation together in a single, strong, richly diverse weave. The whole world is watching!

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