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Mochatern Monday 02.15.16 : A little about Tracy Chapman

Happy Mochatern Monday! I hope everyone is staying warm, considering it seems to keep snowing regardless of what the groundhog had to say.

My inspiration for the post this week comes from my old friend Tracy Chapman. I became infatuated with Tracy Chapman’s music in high school, back when listening to “different” types of music really gave you a competitive edge. Somewhere along the line of my flings with The Rolling Stones, Nirvana, Springsteen, and other people who didn’t quite fit, I found my days filled by the voices of Tom Petty, Elvis Costello, and, of course, Tracy Chapman. For anyone who isn’t familiar, Tracy Chapman is an American singer-songwriter, widely popular in the 80s and early 90s. Her music is quite culturally and socially driven, and often either questions or draws eyes to certain corruptions in our heavily socio-economic dependent world.

There is a certain one of her songs that came to mind as I was beginning to question the amount of need there is in the world. I’ve written before about the concept of a comfortable American mindset, and how, for me at least, it is hard sometimes to break out of one’s own personal reality, and become privy to the reality of the world. I often assume that everything globally, nationally, locally is going fine, because nothing is negatively affecting me directly. It is in these moments where I become rather selfish and passive, and proceed in living without reaching very far outside of my own realm. My bed is made, my homework is done, I’ve been to the grocery store. All is right with the world.

It is when I attempt to break out of my realm of unconscious selfishness and passivity, that I am able to see need, and to then question why there is in fact need still left in our world. When you have entered this state, you have entered the mindset of a Tracy Chapman song.

The song I was referring to earlier is called “Why,” and what it essentially does is what its title tells you- it asks the question, why? The first couple lines of the song ask very rhetorical questions, “Why do the babies starve, when there’s enough food to feed the world? Why when there’s so many of us, are there people still alone?” If you listen to the song enough times to go beyond its extremely catchy beat, you will find that at the beginning you keep repeating “yeah.” Yeah, why is that the case? Why do certain terrible things keep happening when we seem to have the resources that could be used to stop them? Yeah.

I used to listen to “Why” when I was a little bit angry, or disheartened. It is the perfect song to coincide with that woe-is-me, woe-is-the-world mood to which we sometimes fall victim. However, a few weeks ago, I realized the song wasn’t so much one to listen to and stew, but that, rather, it could be used as a call for action. When we start to question things, we start to find answers. More specifically, when we start to ask why, we begin to know how.

So, let’s take Mocha Club for example. Why are the people of Africa malnourished? Why are the people of Africa not getting a proper education? Why is there not better medical care available in Africa? Because, they do not have the resources needed to provide for these needs. How can we provide these needs? Who can help us?

When we answer the why questions that stem from the hurt and the corruption in the world, we are able to find answers that have the potential to be solutions for those problems. If we do not ask, then we will never know, and we will never have the opportunity to incite change.

The chorus of “Why” goes as follows:

But somebody’s going to have to answer

The time is coming soon

When the blind remove their blinders

And the speechless speak the truth.

Let’s remove our blinders, and begin to answer the why questions around us. I think we will be shocked and delighted by the positive change available for us to create.

See you next Monday!



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