Friends in low places

Just before all the partisan bickering over the third stimulus package to help remedy the effects of COVID-19, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle were singing in harmony.

In early March, legendary country music artist Garth Brooks was presented with the 2020 Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. The concert will air on PBS stations March 29. 

At DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C., Brooks performed a concert and accepted his award alongside Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, along with other lawmakers.

Country music artists in the audience included wife Trisha Yearwood, Keith Urban, Ricky Skaggs, Chris Stapleton, and Lee Brice. 

Brooks said to the crowd, “I hope this doesn’t offend you, but boy, I never thought I’d see unity like this in this crowd!”

That bipartisan spirit didn’t take long to rub off amongst lawmakers. 

Once COVID-19 took hold of the country, lawmakers have locked horns over the stimulus packages. 

Hopefully by the time you’re reading this, the issues have been resolved, and the rippling effects of this virus have calmed.

Right now, we need more people like Garth Brooks—folks who unify, not divide.

“Garth Brooks has proven that he’s a person who’s a unifier,” Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden said, “and he uses music to bring people together.”

The Gershwin Prize is the Library of Congress’ highest honor and “recognizes a living musical artist’s lifetime achievement in promoting the genre of song as a vehicle of entertainment, information, inspiration and cultural understanding,” according to the Library of Congress.

“Garth Brooks’ appeal as a performer, songwriter and humanitarian has brought many new fans into the world of country music,” said Hayden. “During his career, Brooks has set countless records, earned numerous awards and elevated country music into a national anthem of the American people.” 

Despite his best efforts to always stay above the political fray, he accidentally got into hot water recently when fans mistakenly assumed he endorsed U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders for president.

After a concert in Detroit, Brooks donned a football jersey with ‘SANDERS’ and the number 20 embroidered on the back. Fans lost their minds on social media, outraged that Brooks would support Bernie Sanders.

Now, any true Garth Brooks fan knows that he got his start in Stillwater, Oklahoma, which is also where Oklahoma State University running back Barry Sanders got his start. Both were college athletes in the 1980s.

At the Detroit concert Brooks said of former #20 Detroit Lions running back, "I was lucky enough to be an athlete and to wear the same uniform as this guy wore in college. I was lucky to go to school with him. You guys got the greatest player in NFL history in my opinion in this jersey. I love this man.”

But those on social media missed it and jumped to conclusions. Let’s not be quick to assume and judge others, especially right now. We’re all doing the best we can. 

Editor’s note: Seymour Klierly writes Washington Whispers for the Journal from inside the Beltway.

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