Sing Out!


We Americans love our freedoms, and we’ve thrived for four centuries singing our own original make-no-excuses, know-no-limits song. From east coast colonies to westward expansion…liberating Europe to landing on the moon…we’ve sung with the pride of taking center stage. And in the process, we’ve developed our own theme, our own style, our own voice. It has served us well. But the world has changed…so quickly we may not yet appreciate how much. And as world leaders, we can’t simply sing our own song anymore. The entire world is connected and creating an entirely new kind of music. Everything people, companies and nations do contributes to the score. We have a responsibility to contribute to humankind…to what is in the best interests of people everywhere…a soaring score that celebrates not just U.S.-centricity, but us-centricity…all of us on this earth.

A good example of why we need this shift is the recent controversy over an American-made farce in which two bungling characters are asked by the American government to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. With tensions escalating over the impending opening of the film in theaters, Sony chose not to release it…but the tensions continue. Yes Americans are free to make and view whatever films they wish. Yes, it is illegal to hack into a network and then steal and publicize the information accessed. But these facts miss the true origin of the problem: making a film, no matter how tongue-in-cheek, that targets a real head of state for murder is a provocative act in a world where actions, reactions and ramifications occur in real time. We need to acknowledge the difference between a film built around fictitious characters and a film targeting the intended demise of a named world leader. Today, citizens of the earth all share one stage and we must sing a new song…a song that resonates with hearts and voices worldwide.


A characteristically American refrain might be, “We’re a free and open society, and we won’t be pushed around,” decrying the acts of cyber-terrorism…demanding that the criminals be held accountable. This is an authentically American response to adversity. But making claims that “North Korea now runs Sony” or “Now countries all over the world are going to dictate what Americans say and do” are disingenuous and self-serving coming from members of the very industry that created this crisis in the first place. Clueless arrogance creates aural dissonance; where is the harmony?

Recognizing the world has changed and that we all need to get along together, show each other respect, and help each other contribute to an emerging global society, we need to be more mindful and responsible in singing our song. It’s not reasonable or acceptable to make a film about assassinating a current leader of any nation. It incites anger and retaliation, regardless of that leader’s standing on the world stage. And refusing to accept our responsibility for this in the name of free speech and free enterprise rings hollow. We can help set the tone and tempo for an anthem welcoming in a new global age, but we need to be willing to change our tune, to do so.


Remaining true to our own American song is to turn a deaf ear to the rest of the world. We need to recognize and respond to new music we hear in the air, and make it part of who we are…not just as U.S. citizens, but as citizens of the world. We’re actually well-positioned to do this. China, India and Brazil are all singing and seeking their parts. So is Russia, though it too struggles to hear beyond its own musical tradition. Leading from strength, thinking and acting more globally and inclusively, Americans can help compose a new theme of a caring, connected, collaborative global society…and in doing so, create a place for our children, their voices resonating with the voices of children all over the world.

No one can make us change our world view. We need to choose to no longer be exclusively U.S.-centric, but us-centric…because “us” is no longer three-million people inhabiting the United States, but seven-billion people inhabiting the entire planet…we are all in this together. And in choosing a more global view, we can’t rely on media, political and business interests to call the tune. We have witnessed first-hand the mess that can create. No, the only way we’re going to build a caring, collaborative global society is through education…teachers, students and families working together…our voices heard above all the of the bygone ballads and competing interests…belting out a new song loud and strong…together, all over our world.

Sing Out!
by David Downes and Brendan Graham

Sing a new song to the world
Let your voice be heard
Go and bring the word
This whole world was meant to be
For you as well as me
For humanity

We all travel the same road
Carry the same load
Reap what we have sowed
You are hoping just like me
To live with dignity
Hoping to be free

Sing out, sing out, sing to the world
Sing out, you will be heard
Sing the message and the word
Sing a new song to the world
Sing out, sing to the world

If your God’s the same as mine
Has been for all time
Why are we so blind?
What we’re doing in his name
Well, its a crying shame
We all cry the same

Sing out, sing out, sing to the world
Sing out, you will be heard
Sing the message and the word
Sing a new song to the world
Sing out, sing to the world


2 thoughts on “Sing Out!

Share your thinking!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s