Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Mixtape to D.C. - A Congressional Compromise Playlist

Sometimes you cannot express in simple words the way you feel about a person. In this case, it is the five hundred thirty five members of congress who need to get their heads out of their special-interest groups. When words are not enough, a mixtape is the way to go.

You Can't Always Get What you Want - The Rolling Stones

Let's start our mixtape with a statement that every mother has told every tantrum-throwing child in every grocery since the beginning of time. The majority of people learn early in life what The Rolling Stones have reiterated since 1969, but our elected officials cannot quite see the world outside of their absolute-partisan reality. If they could, our leaders might understand that no one lives in a political bubble and everyone compromises in order to achieve progress in life.

Congress cannot seem to realize that they cannot always get what they want. If they tried sometimes, they just might find that they would get what America needs.

You May Be Right - Billy Joel

When the same old approach to a problem does not fix things, we have to face the facts and look for new options. Sometimes it's the unconventional, zany solutions that work better. With congress, it might just be a lunatic we are looking for. It is obvious that the status quo is not making things happen.

Why is it that people are so averse to new schools of thought? Our leaders cling to out-of-context soundbites of economists and misconceptions of founding fathers without fully understanding the theories behind the words they spout. A radical perspective may be our only hope.

A Thousand Men - Joe Pug

Every good idea kills at least a thousand men. While our fearless leaders sit on their laurels, a thousand men and women continue to have their houses foreclosed on, their jobs cut, and their lives turned upside down.

Pug speaks to the imperfection of ideas with honest resonance in this caustic song. An idea make look great on paper, but once implemented, we see the casualties of great thinkers and lofty dreamers. Congress is infamous for their "great ideas" on how to save the economy, American jobs, and the country's standing as a world superpower.

How many citizens will be trampled underfoot in order to implement the next Congressional "great idea"?

This song is not available on YouTube. You can listen to it by going to and downloading his EP "In the Meantime" for free. It's worth the effort

 Meet in the Middle - Diamond Rio

Ever since this song came over the airwaves of Southeast Iowa in 1991, I've loved this song for its simple truth.

"We gain a lot of ground, 'cause we both give a little. There ain't no road too long, if we meet in the middle."

I doubt this country act was referring to politics when they belted this jukebox favorite out over twenty years ago, but the words fit perfectly with our current stalemate on Capitol Hill.

The Great Compromise - John Prine

This song is a different look at compromise. In this tune John Prine tells the tale of what can happen when you bend over backwards for a person, expecting them to adore you for your submissive acts of puppy-love.

I can't help but draw a correlation between the emotional beating that Prine gets from his opportunistic girlfriend and the abuse that America takes from our politicians. We elect them on empty promises of progress and equitable representation. Upon taking up the post as conduit of their representative, most Congressmen dive straight into the pockets of special interests and lobbyists. The group with the most cash and the loudest whine wins out over the needs and concerns of the common citizen every time.

The everyday man is left holding the popcorn, while Congress zooms off in some lobbyists sports car.

Come Together - The Beatles

Much like the drivel that I hear on C-SPAN, I don't really understand what most of these lyrics mean. But unlike the rhetoric of Congress, I actually enjoy listening to this song.

Sometimes it seems that our elected representatives say things that sound good in their heads, but they forget to filter them through the screen of sanity that the majority of us use everyday to refrain from sounding like jackasses. the result is not flattering.

Perhaps this song is actually talking about our politicians. "Holy Rollers", "Jokers", and "Spinal Crackers" may be references to the unreal characters of the U.S. government. I still don't know who the "Walrus Gumboot" might be. But if they could take The Beatles' psychedelic advice and come together, it'd be much appreciated.

Friends in Low Places - Garth Brooks

We've created an elitist divide in our society, and our politicians play like they are the Aristocrats, somehow divinely tapped to bear the cross of leading this country. All the while, they are receiving financial and residual benefits that are accessible to very few hard working Americans. If debt reform is needed, lets include Executive and Legislative salaries in the trim (some Senators bring in as much as $200k from their Congressional salary).

Hey reps, remember the little guys who voted for you? Why not climb down from your ivory tower and share the wealth. The median household income in the United States is only $50k, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Maybe we trim that paycheck back down to reality, especially since Congress' recent work has not been anywhere near acceptable. If the American people, as the employers of our statesmen, were to have a job performance review of our elected employees, they'd all be fired for ineptitude.

Instead, we are the friends in low places that get swept under the rug until a "Joe the Plumber" type is needed to prove a point or offer up a soundbite for a campaign ad.

Although this song may be the most popular country tune of the last fifty years, the Garth Brooks version is not available on YouTube. Rather than make you experience the Nickleback cover of this classic, I've opted to leave you to your imagination. If you haven't heard this one, go out and buy it on iTunes for a dollar. It's worth it.

We're Not Gonna Take it - Twisted Sister

This pentultimate selection is courtesy of the Occupy movements taking place across the nation. Some people in our nation are realizing that our elected officials answer to their constituents, and that failure to do so could cost them their careers. Citizens of Wisconsin are even calling for recall elections on their representatives. The collective apathy of our population is beginning to dissipate, and the results may be tar and feathers.

There is nothing like the discontent of early eighties hair metal to offer a wake up call to our leaders. Suit up the spandex, tease the hair, and write your representative.

Why Can't We be Friends - WAR

It doesn't get any plainer than this 1975 chart topper from WAR. Why can't we be friends? Why can't we at least be cordial? Why can't we look past platforms and empty platitudes and rebuild our country?

WAR wants to know. I want to know. America wants to know. In the end, all of our elected officials should want the same thing - the best interests of America. But when each politician has a different idea of what is best for the country, all progress goes out the window.

So where does that leave us?

Congress, pop this cassette into the tape deck of your '74 Buick and take it around the block. On behalf of America, I give this mixtape with love and deep concern. Take it to heart, and get us back on track.



  1. This is totally brilliant, Chris! My favorite blog post yet!

  2. Proposition Fuck You - Methods of Mayhem.

  3. Kyle, I can always count on you to represent the parts of musical society where I am lacking. I just YouTubed this song. Thank you for the edification.