Have you heard about the political leader who is being attacked by protesters and the media and had to take drastic action to bring the country together in the spirit of brotherhood and sisterhood? I’m not talking about Donald Trump.
I’m talking about Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro, who began hosting a radio program that plays salsa music in order to cheer up the impoverished masses, not to mention jailed activists and hungry people who have to wait in line for food or rummage through the garbage because of rising prices and shortages.
He even dances with his wife on TV to inspire his citizens. This is truly a progressive socialist initiative in the tradition of his predecessor, the legendary Hugo Chavez, who is venerated by deep-thinking celebrities like Sean Penn and Madonna.
Maduro created “Salsa Hour” to boost his flagging image with Venezuela’s 30 million people, who love salsa but love to eat more. The president hopes the show will encourage people to adopt the philosophy of “Don’t worry, be happy” and abandon a campaign to remove him from office.
The former bus driver and union leader, who once played in a rock ‘n’ roll band, told his audience, “This is a program full of energy and joy. I would do it every day … to sing about our lives, anxieties, pains and dreams.” There’s a lot we Americans can learn from this guy, including suave steps and dance moves that will get us on Dancing With the Stars.
Maduro, you see, is on the cutting edge of social change. A recent ground-breaking study concluded that upbeat music makes people want to work together, and there’s nothing that Venezuela — not to mention America, the United Nations, the Middle East and New York City — needs more than citizens who are willing to roll up their sleeves for the greater good like higher taxes for the working man and growth opportunities for one-percenters.
Kevin Kniffin of Cornell University, author of the study published in the Journal of Organizational Behavior, told Reuters, “Interestingly, we find that people’s moods get lifted by happy music, but we also find a statistically independent effect for happy music in relation to cooperation. Given that having a good rhythm is a feature of happy music … people are motivated to cooperate when happy music is being played because of the rhythm’s tendency to get people into sync with each other.”
Politics divides, happy music unites. What a revolutionary concept! Participants in the study were put in two groups. One heard upbeat songs like Yellow Submarine by the Beatles and the theme from the TV sitcom Happy Days, while the other listened to heavy metal songs, including Smokahontas by Attack Attack! (I’ve never heard Smokahontas, and I don’t ever want to hear Smokahontas, and I can assure you I get unhappy just thinking about it.) The researchers concluded that happy music motivates people to work together, which is a goal championed by Karl Marx, Chairman Mao and Nancy Pelosi.
The good news for America is that President-in-waiting Trump has experience as an entertainer. You’re probably familiar with his reality show, The Apprentice. After stopping Carrier from moving jobs to Mexico, he’s going from “You’re fired!”to “You’re hired!”
He’s also reportedly considering a program like Maduro’s, along the lines of “America’s Got a Talented President.” He’ll invite world leaders as guests, including that zesty show-stopper Angela Merkel and Bad Vlad Putin, and closer to home, Wild Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, strumming on the old banjo.
There’s so much anger in America that we need music to cure our national angst, although I doubt it will cure the healthcare crisis, the Social Security crisis, the energy crisis, the budget crisis, the immigration crisis, and the 20 or so other crises the President-elect promises to solve.
Nevertheless, we have to try. As an emergency measure, Mr. Trump should issue an executive order, with the approval of the New York Times, that requires every elevator, lavatory, cubicle, legislature, office building, shopping mall, hospital, factory, school and newsroom to continuously broadcast Yellow Submarine.
I can feel the good vibrations already. Democrats will hug Republicans, Republicans will hug Bernie Sanders, tree huggers will hug even more trees, Planned Parenthood will hug the NRA, flag burners will hug the American flag, and celebrities will hug themselves. Hugging will become a national pastime more popular than taking selfies!
All together now, “We all live in a yellow submarine, a yellow submarine, a yellow submarine — and it’s sinking!!!”
Contact Joe Pisani at [email protected]