Gotta have my tunes. It’s how I get through the day. I listen to what fits my mood and never just listen to music passively. I’m a big soundtrack kind of person. Thematic if you will. If I’m not in the mood for Yo-Yo Ma, then I turn him off. If I’m in the mood for the Pixies, then I crank it up. It’s just how I roll.

Given that, I credit Green Day’s 2004 album, “American Idiot”, and a great deal of Nina Simone protest songs of the 60’s with helping me get through this last four years of the Bush Administration. I look at my stats on iTunes and they are easily the records most often played.

But now that a new administration is officially installed, I noticed I have been skipping over most of the Green Day songs on my iPod this past week. Tolerance, cooperation, and diplomacy seem to be the order of the day for the first time in a long time, so a record that rages against such things no longer appeals to me. The music of “American Idiot” did its job and now I am ready to move on.

I’m cautiously optimistic but since everything still feels like its in a handbasket on its way to someplace incredibly warm, I’ve been struggling to find some music to give voice to my current world view. So much so that I’ve turned off the radio and my iPod because nothing matches my mood towards the current state of the nation.

I was driving home from school today and after a week of radio silence, I decided to give the radio a whirl. Neil Young, in all his brutal honesty and majestic glory, came blaring into car with “Rockin’ In the Free World”.

And this my friends is my new national anthem.

After 20 years since this song was recorded, Young still raises a valid point: how is it that we seek to solve the world’s problems when we can barely solve the most basic ones on our doorstep? What does a “thousand points of light” do to get a homeless man some shelter?

Now granted these issues don’t exist in a vacuum. You have to address both separately and equally. For example: I recognize the necessity to further science and as such, I support NASA’s endeavors. However, when you look at the budget for NASA (which is 17.6 billion by the way) and what a mess this world is, do we really need to be exporting our nonsense into outer space? Couldn’t –shouldn’t– we be using that money elsewhere? Honestly, I don’t know. But recognizing the complexity of what lies ahead is generally problematic enough, forget about actually answering the question.

Another example: Family planning subsidies were stripped from the latest economic stimulus packaged under the premise that such subsidies are not an actual economic “stimulant”. I find this belief interesting because I know I would love the spend the $1000 I fork out yearly for family planning elsewhere. Not to mention, in tough economic times, assisting women in not having children they can not afford is really in the best interest of society as a whole. But how do you balance two opposing interests?

I don’t expect President Obama to solve all the world’s problems, but I do expect decisions to be thought through. Am I upset over the family planning subsidies? Yes. But I feel this new administration will do good things for women’s health in the coming four years. They are already well on their way simply by eliminating the global gag rule. I can be upset by this issue or choose to recognize that this new administration is trying to remember that they are not only governing Democrats but Republicans and Independents as well. Something we haven’t see in this country for 8 years.

So I go back to my Neil Young and I listen to what is essentially a very depressing song, but hey, it’s got a rockin’ beat, it gets my head bangin’, and it lights a fire, and really, sometimes, that’s all I need.

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