The Choir as a Governmental Template?
Date: October 12, 2013
(This is an excerpt from a column titled, “If Congress Were a Choir,” by Margaret Evans. Used here with the gracious permission of the author and the Low Country Weekly, Beaufort, South Carolina.)
A choir is not a Democracy. It's not even a Republic. You might call it a dictatorship. But it's a voluntary dictatorship, and it works just fine, because our dictator – er, director – is truly a servant-leader. He's in service to The Music. We are all in service to The Music.
After choir practice the other night, I sat down to watch a little cable news. It was all the same ol' stuff – "stuff" being a euphemism, in case there are children reading – with the government shutdown adding an extra dash of agitating drama. Still in my post-practice state of euphoric tranquility, I started wondering how our country might be served if Congress – and, by extension, American politics – operated a bit more like a choir. A ridiculous analogy, I know. But humor me. Let's have a little fun with this...
At choir practice, we get a great deal accomplished in a very short time. We work hard toward a common goal, we genuinely enjoy each other's company, and we create something beautiful together that we could never have created separately.
Sound familiar, political junkies? I didn't think so . . .
At choir practice, we are not concerned with our individual rights. ("I demand a solo!") We are not concerned with our group rights. ("Power to sopranos!") No one is grasping for the spotlight. ("Hear me, hear me!") In fact, we are typically suppressing ourselves in deference to The Music. Here, we must temper our vocal idiosyncrasies and tamp down our egos. We must listen to ourselves – and each other – intently, for the express purpose of squelching any competitive impulse to out-sing one another. Unless you've been given a solo – which is a privilege, not a right – your voice should never stand out. It's all about the blend.
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