As I write this (Friday evening in Wisconsin), polls have been closed for a few hours in the Republic of Ireland, where citizens voted on a proposal that would amend the country’s constitution and allow its parliament (the Oireachtas) to relax the country’s strict laws against abortion. Today’s vote comes three years after voters approved an amendment to permit marriage between two people “without distinction as to their sex”; it was also that same year that legislation passed allowing transgender citizens in Ireland to freely request a change in legal gender identification on government documents.
If early exit polls are any indication, today’s proposal will be approved by a sizeable margin of voters, just as the marriage equality amendment passed by a wide margin in 2015. For a country where religiously conservative viewpoints have long held influence on society and laws, it’s sure seems that progressive attitudes are starting to take root in Ireland in the past 20 years or so. But don’t think that Ireland had been a country where everyone had to strictly follow the edicts the Roman Catholic Church would pass down every Sunday regarding, say, what people should think, who people could love, or how people could express themselves. On the contrary, for the Irish are a pretty progressive lot; it’s just that the laws of Ireland have taken some time to catch up to that fact.
The latest addition to “Allison’s Jukebox,” and especially its accompanying video, is a great reminder of the need to live as the person you know you are in Wisconsin or Ireland or anywhere else in this world, Catholicism be dammed. At the end of 2017, the Irish band U2 released their most recent album, Songs of Experience. A single release from that album came out a month ago, a song called “Love Is Bigger Than Anything In Its Way.” A long title, for sure, but it’s perfect for a song whose lyrics communicate the importance of forging your own path, being the person you know you are, creating a better world where everyone is accepted and respected, and to make sure that new world never goes asunder.
The message of “Love Is Bigger” is perfectly displayed in the song’s accompanying video, directed by photographer and filmmaker David Mushegain. There’s no sight of Bono and the boys in the 4-minute clip, not even a musical instrument. There are, however, images of several youth and young adults from the area in and around Ireland’s capital and largest city, Dublin. In the video, Mushegain captures the unique creative expression of these young people; he long sought to create a video that captured that aesthetic, but as he says in this article, he wasn’t sure what kind of project until he first listened to “Love Is Bigger.” He was struck by the song’s “positive spirit” of overcoming any obstacle, and thought it would blend beautifully with the free-spirited attitudes of the Dublin youth culture he had long been enamored by.
And as you can definitely tell by the video, there is quite a bit of LGBT representation, including a few people who dare to bend genders. The people Mushegain encountered in Dublin included “people who are free to be who they want to be, to act how they want to act and dress how they want to dress.” Initially, the people in “Love is Bigger” were to have been exclusively LGBT, he admits, but he would open it up to include friends and family. Whatever their identification, they perfectly represent the importance of expressing yourselves, however you identify. They also capture an air of independence; as one of the people says right at the beginning of the video, it doesn’t matter how others may pigeonhole you, but what does is what how you feel about yourself and what you can bring to the world.
Please enjoy this video for “Love Is Bigger Than Anything In Its Way,” and applaud the young Dubliners you see for their daring to show their true spirit to the world. Theirs is a uniqueness that is needed now more than ever.