All is Fair in you & war

I started writing “All is Fair in You & War” during the height of the Charlottesville protests last year. I didn’t know what else to do. Once again, sides were taken. Blood was shed. Lives were lost. Enough was enough, and I felt like I had to do something. 

It didn’t take long before I found myself sitting in front of the muted television with CNN footage on a perpetual, mechanical loop — tears in my eyes and guitar in hand. I was numb, but my fingers just started dancing across the strings, and before I knew it, a melody appeared. The melody itself wasn’t dark and despairing. Instead, it was lighthearted and almost hopeful. I surprised myself. This buoyant, optimistic tune wasn’t what I was expecting, and yet it felt so right. 

Still numb, the lyrics for what would ultimately become the chorus emerged: There’s been a lot of he said, she said / lines drawn, brothers dead / All is fair in you and war, I guess / But how’d it come to this? / If you, love, aren’t the answer, what is?

That was that. I put the guitar away and nestled the lyrics in the back of an old journal for safe keeping, not sure if I’d ever come back to them later on. 

But in October, the Route 91 Harvest music festival shooting happened. 58 people were killed and hundreds injured, making it the deadliest mass shooting committed by an individual in the United States. I was numb. I felt like I had to do something, and I pulled the lyrics back out. With fresh tears in my eyes, the verses spilled out onto the page. And in a matter of minutes, I knew the song was complete.

Despite the horror and the helplessness, I continue to cling to the message of leading with love. I truly do believe that love is the answer to all things (especially in trying times). I wanted the song to feel like I was having a difficult (but necessary) conversation with Love: I’m not asking you to move a mountain. I’m not asking you to be patient or kind. I’m not asking you to keep the world spinning. I’m not asking for a lot. But if you [love] aren’t the very thing to pull us out of all of these tragedies, then what is? 

I started the song during the Charlottesville protests and finished the song the day after the Route 91 Harvest music festival shooting. Recently, I played it during a show on the same day that Christine Blasey Ford testified against Kavanaugh. One might look at these events as embodying three entirely different issues, but in my mind, they all point to the same divisiveness and turmoil running rampant in our country today. We’ve made such a damn mess. I am an optimist - have and always will be - but even I succumb to a sense of hopelessness every time I turn on the morning news and hear of another hate crime, another sexual assault, or another school shooting. 

THIS IS 2018. THIS IS AMERICA. AND THIS IS NOT OKAY.

Since I finished writing the song last October, dozens upon dozens of mass shootings have continued to occur in the United States: Stoneman Douglas High School, Sutherland Springs First Baptist Church, Waffle House, Santa Fe High School, and the Tree of Life Synagogue. Before those, it was Umpqua Community College, Emanual African Methodist Episcopal Church, Virginia Tech, Pulse Nightclub, and Sandy Hook. I don’t even have to elaborate on any of these places — the tragic events they’ve been touched by are defined by just a few words. A church. A restaurant. A school. And these are just a handful of the hundreds of mass shootings that have plagued our country. 

THIS IS 2018. THIS IS AMERICA. AND THIS IS NOT OKAY.

I want to stress that I am not trying to prevent people from owning guns. I am passionate about gun control, but I am also aware that this is a divisive subject. I support the Second Amendment, and while I never plan on owning a gun myself, I have no problem with others who do — so long as they are obtained legally, handled safely, and do not find themselves with the wrong individuals. And assault rifles belong on the battlefield — not in a movie theater, or a synagogue, or at a country music concert. 

I’ve said enough (too much, probably). But I’m sure we can all agree on one thing: Love truly is the answer. Love yourself. Love your family and friends. Love your neighbors. Love those strangers you pass on the street (you don’t know what they’re going through). Love, even when you don’t want to. Especially when you don’t want to. Leading with love is, without a doubt, the most impactful, long-lasting way to heal the battered soul of our country. The dead can’t fight, but those of us living can and will make this world a better place. And I am grateful to have a voice to speak up for those who no longer can. It could be me. It could be you.

I will continue to move forward with patience, understanding, and as much love as I can muster every single day. I’m still going to fight for my own beliefs, but I will do so with love. I hope you join me. 

THIS IS 2018. THIS IS AMERICA. ENOUGH IS FINALLY ENOUGH.

 

All bandcamp proceeds from “All is Fair in You & War” downloads will be donated to Everytown for Gun Safety, an organization that works to end gun violence and build safer communities.

 
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CREDITS

Engineered & mixed by Bobby Chase 
Mastered by Joe Causey at Voyager Mastering 
Art by Bobby Herb 

Bobby Chase: Violin, Viola
Melodie Chase: Cello