If you think the news can get a bit angry in the UK, you should watch a bit of American telly.
Out here everything is quite partisan, and there aren’t many signs it’s going to calm down any time soon.
I watched the video for Preach by soul star John Legend last week before we had a chat and it struck me as quite a powerful piece of work.
John is a soul star with more awards than he knows what to do with.
When he says something, people listen – and I was fascinated to hear his take on American politics, which he deals with on Preach.
It deals with weighty topics like school shootings, immigrant children being separated from their parents at the US border and political activism.
“The song is called Preach and I was inspired to write it last year responding to the young people we saw in the March For Our Lives, the kids at Parkland,” he told me. “It’s become too regular out here, these mass shootings.
“We’ve seen these scenes play out week after week, there’s something major happening in this country. It used to be shocking, but now it’s not even shocking.
“We go through the same ritual — a politician says, ‘my thoughts and prayers are with the families’.
“This song says we don’t need thoughts and prayers anymore, we need action.
“We looked at officer-involved shootings and families being separated on the border as part of the nightmare in the news at the moment. One inclination is to turn off your phone, or talk about it and not doing anything.
“But what we’re saying is you’ve got to do more than just talk about it.”
If it sounds like John is quite downbeat about the way things are going, it’s not really the case.
“It’s an odd time, there are lot of concerns but a part of me is optimistic,” he added.
“You look at the data and the world is more peaceful than it’s ever been. We’ve been through world wars where tens of millions of people have died.
“None of that is happening right now, so that’s a good thing.
“A lot of diseases have been eradicated. Poverty is down, literacy rates are up. Indicators of societal health are better.
“Part of me thinks we should be optimistic.
“Organisations putting in the effort to make the world better have paid off. So we shouldn’t be pessimistic.”
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