There are times that I wonder if what I do as a professional musician makes a difference. I know that the art that I help to create does make a difference in a larger, 30,000 feet sort of way. Society is better for having artists, musicians, writers. Then I heard this song on Friday night, driving back from an OSO concert in Salem. I sat in my driveway waiting for it to end, as it moved me greatly. I rarely get political – if you hold this against me, so be it – but I believe in what this song expresses, and how it is expressed.
Written by Sara Bareilles, and performed by Leslie Odom, Jr. (of Hamilton fame), this song was commissioned by This American Life to imagine what President Obama’s inner monologue might be in response to the hate and vitriol spewed in this election season. What resulted is a powerful response to the groundswell of white nationalism that has been fanned by the candidacy of Donald J. Trump. Music can make a difference.