The Brother Brothers on Finding a Middle in the Great Divide
A few months ago we met a concert promoter in Prosser, Washington. He’s a small-town minister for a church in the eastern part of the state, and an all-around great guy. After the show we sat around his house drinking some of the finest whiskey we’ve had and choosing sides from his vast and amazing record collection.
As conversation often leads to politics and the national zeitgeist, we very soon found ourselves located right in the middle of it. Two young liberal artist types discussing the complexity of the nation with a small-town, conservative-leaning minister in one of the reddest districts in Washington. You might imagine it was a heated conversation, but that couldn’t be farther from the reality. It’s so seldom that two Jews living in New York are in a relaxed conversation with a man with a good heart full of an invisible white privilege and a deep love for what he knows: his family, his friends, his church, and his music. So that night we set out to solve nothing but, to quote Brent Cobb, “the problems of the world.”
Our favorite takeaway from the night was on the subject of religious application to the political landscape. We learned from him that Christians (obviously not all, but this man and his kind in particular) believe in the inevitable sinfulness of humanity. Since humans are sinful, so therefore are the institutions that are run by them, as well as those that receive help and aid from them. The conversation ranged far and wide with a lot of “what about this” and “how could it be then,” but at every turn we fell short in one area: Do you have faith that in the end humanity will do the right thing?
I can’t say we often subject ourselves to deeply religious conversations, but we had found ourselves smack dab in the middle of one of the most deeply spiritual debates we’ve ever had. And in the end that was where we had to respectfully leave things. His faith instructed him to defend ideals that supported faith and values of the church while ours came from a place of “all men are created equal.”
This is where we found ourselves deadlocked, and this is where the conversation turns every winding road without the radio on. How are we similar, and how do we meet in the middle?
We had spoken of a bell curve. In school many subjects were graded on such a graph. The students with the highest scores could only get so far removed from those with the lowest and all the majority in the middle were the foundation of where the grades were cast. This was such a pivotal moment in our conversation then and following. We all are humans living together in a giant bell curve. Some rich, some poor, some healthy, and some less fortunate than others. But we are all here together and sometimes we lose sight of where our soul as a nation lies. It lies in togetherness. It lies in the hearts of neighbors and friends. It lies at the glimmering top of that bell-shaped mountain.
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EDITOR’S NOTE: The Brother Brothers are No Depression’s Spotlight artist for October. For more on this emerging band, check out our feature story by Jim Shahen, as well as a video of David and Adam Moss performing “Red and Gold” from their new album, Some People I Know.