From the recording The Great Divide (Single)

This song was inspired by my grandparents - a Maine couple who celebrated 70 anniversaries together. It starts off with this old family anecdote:

“Nana was a registered Republican,
Pappy was a Democrat for life…”

There was never a time I didn’t know that about them. And there was never a time that I saw any strife caused by it.

A relationship like that seems almost inconceivable today. That makes me sad. And it makes me worried. It makes me want to find a way to reach out a hand - even when I feel it being slapped away.

A lot of political songs get their energy out of playing Us against Them. FaceBook knows this tactic all too well. And I’m as susceptible as anyone -- I do love a good rabble-rousing folk song. But when I look around today, I don’t think that’s what we need.

I wanted this song to capture the deep concern that so many of us are feeling today, and I wanted to do it without pointing fingers or casting blame. I hope there is healing in it. I know that I feel great healing when I play this song for a room of strangers, afraid that people might close themselves off in anger but finding time and again that they open themselves instead.

I take great pride in the fact that this song has been loved and shared by Democrats and Republicans alike. I hope my grandparents would be proud as well.

Thanks for listening and sharing!



The Great Divide
©2020 Jud Caswell (Alderdown Songs, ASCAP)

Nana was a registered Republican,
Pappy was a Democrat for life.
You never heard a word of anger
pass between that husband and his wife.
People kinda wondered why they bothered
to even take the time to put on coats
go out to the schoolhouse on a tuesday night
to cancel out their votes.
It used to be there was a time we could agree to disagree.
That was before the slide into the great divide

Now every word I hear about my country
feels like gasoline poured on a flame.
Seems like everybody's picking sides
and picking fights and calling names.
Everywhere I look I see the anger,
every conversation fills with trolls,
everybody knows the party lines,
we wave our signs, we play our roles.
But it used to be this land of us and them was made for you and me.
I guess that died in the great divide

Yes, I know, you didn't start this fight,
and I've heard the other side is more to blame,
And I know that there's a wrong and right,
and we can't afford to lose this game.
We're all losing just the same.

‘Cause we get kinda stupid when we're angry -
It's easier to herd a herd that hates.
They play us like a sucker on the line
each time we rise to click the bait.
Oh, but there's a simple hard solution,
older than the oldest grudge you've nursed:
someone's gonna have to lay their sword down,
but someone's gonna have to do it first...
It seems to me we've forgotten who's a friend or enemy,
and you'll recall that a house divided’s surely gonna fall:
fall for spite, and fall for pride, into the great divide.

Nana was a registered Republican,
Pappy was a Democrat for life…