Editor’s note: Colt Ford penned the following essay to accompany the CMT world premiere of his latest video for “We the People.” Ford’s We the People Tour continues through Sept. 27. For his complete 2019 tour schedule, visit Ford’s website.
We the People: Thoughts About Finding Common Ground
By: Colt Ford
In today’s world, it’s amazing the opportunities most of us who live in a free country have. I think we can all agree that freedom is a great thing. It’s easy to take for granted what you have when you’ve never had it taken away from you.
We spend way too much time trying to point out what is wrong with others or being angry at others for disagreeing with our ideas or thoughts. We should be thankful we get to express them instead of working so hard to dislike someone because of what they think or where they’re from or what color their skin is or what their religion or sexual orientation is. Why don’t we seek out the good? Why don’t we try and find common ground with our fellow men and women? Is that really so hard? It’s not if we want to find the good; it’s available, but you have to want to find it. You can also find the bad in any situation if you choose to. Let’s choose the good.
We have so many things we can agree on, like how cancer sucks. We want clean air and water for the entire world. I promise that people from every background, upbringing, race and religion all want good things for our kids and for our families.
Most people are good; they want to do good, like helping others. As humans, we must find compassion for others and have love for one another. We’ve got to instill these values in our kids; it’s imperative for our future generations. Most people don’t want to be homeless. I often hear people say, ’Oh, he could do better if he wanted.’ Could he, could she? Maybe, but maybe not. Smiling at someone and saying something kind to them doesn’t take much to do; it can make a big difference. I’ve found in my almost 50 years that I have to work harder to be ugly.
How did we get to a point where it’s OK to treat people like we’re doing today? We have our leaders on both sides encouraging others to hate, to name call, to segregate, and even incite violence. When did this become OK? As an entertainer, I have a platform that I can choose to use in many ways. Why would I not want to use it for good by building people up and fixing the broken, lending a hand to your neighbor? I personally have fallen short, and I’m sure I will again, but I’m admitting that as we all can be better. Take some time to talk to people that you don’t know from different places–but most of all, listen to them. My father has told me my whole life we were given two ears and one mouth so we can listen twice as much as we talk. I know I’ve never done this as well as I should. But I’m trying to do better; we can all do better.
We have one life; this is not a dress rehearsal, this is it. We’ve got to make the most of it. We’ve got to work together. We can never survive happy and healthy if we don’t work together.
No child should be without clothes or food in this country. Kids deserve to be kids, to feel safe, to play and be happy. There’s so much bullying that goes on, and as adults, we can put a stop to it. Don’t be the parent who says, “not my kid” because it could be your kid. I have great kids, but I know they have bullied others; I’m sorry to anyone that might have been affected. I also know they’ve been bullied, and no parent wants that. We’ve got to teach them to be tolerant of others no matter where they’re from, what kind of clothes they wear, where they live, who they date–another boy, another girl, it does not matter. Our future depends on it.
I’m as guilty as anyone about being on my stupid phone all the time. We’ve got to learn to be present with who we are with; I’ve got to do better at that. Maybe you don’t like this person, but maybe you don’t know this person. Maybe you don’t know what they’re going through or dealing with. If we can just communicate and search for common ground, things can change. No matter who your God is or what your truth is or where your journey is going, you will encounter many people who might not understand or agree with that–but beautiful humans, it’s OK. You can still be kind to them and they to you. One random act of kindness can make a difference no matter how small or how big.
Don’t hate someone because they’re successful; let it inspire you. Remember that being jealous is weak; don’t be weak. We all have things we are good at, some more than others, and that’s OK; again, let it inspire you to be the best you that you can be. Remember to tell the people you love that you love them. Tell them today, tell them every day because we’re not promised tomorrow. I know many folks might read this and laugh and make fun, and that’s OK because part of me being better is not being afraid to say it. Can you make the person you see in the mirror better? I know I can. I’ve been guilty of saying ugly things, of hurting people’s feelings, of doing things I know in my heart aren’t right. I’m human as we all are, and we are all flawed–and my beautiful humans, it’s OK. Just think how many times we’re given daily to do the right thing, to say a kind word, to open a door for someone, to say please, or thank you. What if we just did better just half the time? Wow, what a difference that would make.
I’m challenging you all to do this: to talk to each other, to listen to others, let them listen to you. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, don’t be too prideful to let someone help you. I see all kinds of challenges on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram — let’s make this a challenge: Be a Better Human. I want to talk to all of you, I want to hear what you think, how something makes you feel, and I want you to hear me too. I don’t care if you’re black, white, brown, whatever; I don’t care what religion you are; I don’t care if you’re from Iraq or North Korea, from Canada or America; if you’re a good person, I want to meet you, I want to know something about you, I want to find something good in you, and I want to show you something good in me.
I know I’m a dreamer—I’ve always been one, and I’ll always be one–but I believe in my heart and soul that we as humans can fix this. We can right wrongs, we can help heal one another. I’m challenging you all to be better humans and to find common ground. When you see me falling short, remind me, and I will you. Let’s all be accountable.
I love this world, and I want to leave it better than I found it. We can all do this, but we have to be truthful and honest; we have to love-teach-help our fellow humans. I know in my heart that I wish y’ all happiness and healthiness and want you to know you’re special in some way and that you know the feeling of true love.