On Character

November 5, 2012

The measure of your character is not what you do when people are looking. It’s what you do when you think no one is looking.

 

 

I’m not deaf to the comments or concern about my endorsing a presidential candidate. I understand the best role I can play may be that of musician. Through music, humanity soars higher than politics and personal problems, and when we’re united in song, we truly experience harmony. When a great song comes along, it gives us a glimpse of world peace thanks to the peace of mind we experience for the duration of the song, album, or concert.

 

Music also invites us to recognize or remember a period of time, commemorating  history, such as our national anthem “The Star-Spangled Banner,”  a poem written in 1814 by the 35-year-old amateur poet, Francis Scott Key, after witnessing the bombardment of Fort McHenry by the British Royal Navy ships in Chesapeake Bay during the Battle of Fort McHenry in the War of 1812. In modern times we can refer to dozens of Bob Dylan songs that sing of social injustices, like Hurricane, the story of Rueben Carter, a boxer who was falsely tried for murder. Or Bob Marley who sang of oppression in Jamaica and Ethiopia and brought liberation and whose songs continue to enrich and inspire lives around the world.

 

If I chose to remain silent about the values I believe are good for my friends and family, such as love made legal for all and the expansion of Pell Grants and student loans, then I wouldn’t be the musician I dreamed I’d be when I was a kid; Musicians like Dylan, or Dave Matthews, Ani Defranco, John Lennon, Rage Against the Machine, or Willie Nelson, who’ve each delivered powerful, forward thinking messages in their actions as well as their music. Rolling Stone, America’s iconic music magazine, has voiced it’s opinion on leadership for decades, and I grew up reading that magazine; inspired.

 

I hope you can see my choice of using my voice for hope as a positive, and not as an annoyance or flaw in my character. Over the past decade my music and actions have brought awareness to many great charities while adding hundreds of thousands of dollars to their missions. I would be greedy to keep my lips sealed during this election when much of the country is being confused by advertisements lying about Obama.

 

I believe in the strong character of Barack Obama and the democratic party, whose aim it is to make the opportunity to live one’s dream fair and equal for all.

 

I am nervous about electing Romney due to all the negative ads, outsourcing, and lying he’s been connected to. If this is him during a campaign, what kind of character will he show in the Presidency?

 

Read on for more stories as to why I’m voting, and thank you for being kind in your own conclusions.

 

For a live discussion, Join me @ 6:30 eastern tonight to talk about the election http://www.Yap.tv/live or http://www.Facebook/yap.tv

 

 

COMMENTS (41)
  • Avatar of tailspin
    tailspin said ...

    Don’t fool yourself. All politicians, even Obama, lie, when it is to their advantage. Don’t ever blindly follow anyone. Remember the words of the great Thomas Jefferson, “Question with boldness…” One you start believing that someone is infallible, then you will soon be disappointed. Just look at the General Patraeus situation. Keep on doing all the good things you do Jason.

  • Avatar of consuelo
    consuelo said ...

    “Our own heart, and not others’ opinions of us, forms our true honor.”–Samuel Taylor Coleridge

  • Avatar of 100000629553430

    I don’t want you to shut up and sing,……yes sing but write and speak , we need to hear you! The venue I met you at ,Jones Beach was under water last week from Hurricane Sandy. We need you to keep talking about global warming, and the human condition and living in the moment and love and hope and light and LOVE! We need artists, poets, somgwriters,and people in your position to inspire us and if you know something …educate us, be our muse so we can be better neighbors, friends, humans. Keep speaking your mind and heart , be true to thine self, be true to us! Send us a kind, inspiring word, we are hurting, a lot of people, including family members have lost everything in this hurricane and we just got zapped with another nor’easter on top of it. There are many lessons to learn from this I am so sure of it! I believe Obama is the right man for the presidency but we need to begin with our own little corners of the earth! We need to begin with our own consciousness and hearts! Let’s do this thing together, no matter what or who tries to break us down, we can use the brokenness to rebuild! Rebuild our hope, our relationships, our health, our earth, our country and on and on with one thing ….I think it’s a four letter word…LOVE!

  • Avatar of kaywynn
    kaywynn said ...

    Bravo Jason! Very well said.

  • Avatar of michelle.darwich

    I am so proud of you for raising your voice and not being afraid of what others might or might not think of you because of what you believe in. It is hard, in your line of business, for people to voice their opinions because they think that those who dont agree with them might not buy their next album or watch their next movie, and that would mean less money in their bank account, but your fans, your real fans, know that you much rather live in a country where equality and freedom come without saying than to float in millions of dollars driving fancy cars and “pimping out with hoes”. I am soooo not cool btw. I not only admire you as a musician but I look up to you as a person. Your music and your actions are so inspiring and I hope to one day live in a world where people spread love, like you do. I know Im not alone when I say that your mission on this earth is to soread love and you have achieved just that. I am proud to be your fan and yoday, I am proud to be an American not by birth, but most certainly by choice. Forward indees!!

  • Avatar of shorekimmy
    shorekimmy said ...

    I wish I had read this sooner to make the chat, but I couldn’t be happier about the presidential results. Bummed about prop 37, happy about prop 35. There is an honesty to this post that I appreciate Jason and I hope others can feel it too. As far as the political pairing with music, the world has come a long way. The British oppression of the Irish comes to mind.

    The harp was utilized by Irish and Scottish poets and bards, who were seen as potential rabble rousers and rebels by the English colonial powers. Thus Queen Elizabeth I of England outlawed harps, fearing that the music of the harpers would help ferment revolution against the British crown. She infamously bid Lord Barrymore to “hang the harpers wherever found and destroy their instruments.” Despite this act of genocide and cultural repression, the harp persisted as an instrument of the Irish and Scots.

    So please don’t hold back, go on, grow and be the rabble rouser we know and love.

  • Avatar of costellocrew5
    costellocrew5 said ...

    You are authentic, you are humble, you are respectful and I applaud you for putting yourself out there. Thank you! Forward – bound! It is a good day! xo

  • Avatar of normason
    normason said ...

    I understand President Obama’s hesitation during the debates and when he comments on difficult issues. He is a thinker. He considers all possibilities. He chooses his words carefully. He feels the burden of the office he holds.

    I personally do not understand why anyone would want the burden of four more years, but President Obama is not now nor has he ever been alone. He has the support of his staff, his family, and the majority of our United States. And he has, as he recognized in his speech, the grace of God.

    The majority of the American people have chosen the best candidate for the job of President of the United States. Twice. We did not allow the hatemongers to influence our opinion. We put aside our personal disappointments to see the greater good in re-electing President Obama. I’m proud of US.

    May God be with you and your family, Mr. President.

  • Avatar of bethann0330
    bethann0330 said ...

    Oh yes we did again! Congratulations to President Obama, and the shout out to climate change and marriage equality tonight was stellar!

    CO Amendment 64, yeah!

  • Avatar of EvaHassine
    EvaHassine said ...

    Thank You so much american people!! I love you soo much and thank you for voting .. what a happy day !!!!!

    So now I send out all power and uncondicional expanding love to this strong man who has the right heart and the willing mind to change what has to be changed!!!

    91% germans wanted the reelection of Obama. We love you and we love him! Thank you for keeping us all on this boat!

    Have a great party, celebrating with you, love Eva

  • Avatar of consuelo
    consuelo said ...

    Whenever I see your smiling face, I have to smile myself

  • Avatar of rmcarver26
    rmcarver26 said ...

    NdI am so ashamed to live in Georgia right now. I understand your concern on expressing your political beliefs! I found out early on that my views were frowned upon in this big red state. But, despite the efforts of my co workers to be swayed and even the obvious disappointment from my own father……OBAMA/BIDEN 2012 BABY! I at least have the support of my brother, mother and sister, whom despite what Mr Romney might say, work our asses off, get no assistance from the government and do not consider ourselves victims of anything other than being surrounded by people that are so full of greed they would vote a known liar in to office even though his own state won’t elect! At least I have my favorite musician on my side! I look forward to Jingle Jam with you next month! I do hope you sing “Unfold” this time! I nearly cried when you didn’t sing it in August!

  • Avatar of ama83
    ama83 said ...

    I commend you for voicing your point of view and openly supporting your beliefs. It shows you are not just a music making machine but a also a socially responsible (and concerned) human being. Listening to a different point of view may lead people to think of things in ways they didn’t think about them before. It may open their eyes or it may not, but it is good to take the chances. It is good that someone is able to do it and reach so many people. You are voicing the opinion of a lot of people who wish could be heard by many. If people see your political views as a flaw in your character, they probably have not hear you speak about other things.
    Keep it up Mraz.
    much love!

  • Avatar of Guest
    Guest said ...

    I’m totally with you! Thanks for leaving such a positive comment.

  • Avatar of Guest
    Guest said ...

    Jason,
    I don’t agree with absolutely everything you believe politically (I’m a bit more conservative), but I still LOVE your music. It’s great that you are saying what you believe in such a positive way! Keep singing Mr A-Z, I adore you. :D

  • Avatar of kalixxooxx
    kalixxooxx said ...

    I was present during the Biden rally in Lakewood, OH. The audience at that rally contained a very large number of attendees who were not even old enough to vote. Its likely to assume that they were just there to see you, but its also likely to assume that they learned something that day. I think that your backing a Presidential campaign is a positive influence because not only are you backing a good leader, but you are backing your own values. You encourage and support important issues that effect us all. I’d much rather my daughter look up to you than some of the other celebrities these days. Opening the eyes of others to issues that are real and letting others know that their opinion matters and that their vote counts does not seem like something you should be ashamed of. There are so many directions one can take in the lime light and I’m glad that you’ve chosen this path. Even though you are a celebrity, you are still a human being and a citizen of the United States. You have the right to speak out for what you believe in. You have the right to be yourself :) Keep doing what you’re doing Jason, we love you <3

  • I voted and am moving FORWARD…loved the web chat last night. Very intelligent men speaking on very important issues.

  • Avatar of bsherman
    bsherman said ...

    As one of those who criticized you for supporting one political party over another, I thank you for taking the time to respond. In the end, your political endorsement is much less relevant to me than the fact that you actually take action about issues you think are important. You are not just preaching from a comfy celebrity chair, you are leading by example. And your incredible talent and commitment to music does give millions of people the chance to experience that transcendent feeling of universal harmony and unity. Above all, you deserve credit for simply being a courageous human being, brave enough to share your head and heart, always with a core of compassion, regardless of what people think. Thanks again, and hope the upcoming holidays find you healthy and happy. Peace and love.

  • Avatar of GloriousMe
    GloriousMe said ...

    Word of advice from someone who’s campaigned door to door for the past ten years. If your goal is to bring undecideds or people from the other aisle to your way of thinking, always, always be as conciliatory as you can about the opposition. Calling the other side’s candidate a lier makes you sound emotional and less credible. You have to use specifics and void name calling at all costs. In fact, we’re taught to use to oppositions name as rarely as possible when talking with people. Rave about the virtues of your own candidate. You want to convince people to see things your way not offer them a good fight. That’s just my experience talking. Take it for what it’s worth.

    BTW: I voted today!

  • Avatar of lovePEAR
    lovePEAR said ...

    Freedom Forever Formidable Furry Flowers , we are all united to move Forward ! Sending waves of Love and Light towards Team Obama <3 Standing right there with you :) Everything will be fine <3

  • Avatar of jeoh
    jeoh said ...

    Being a european (Swedish living in Germany) and not being able to influence anything in the US I am grateful for people like you, who stand up for what you believe and I so hope that your influence has the result all of the rest of the world hopes for! Go vote people! And think! And feel!

  • Avatar of gamachan
    gamachan said ...

    So,what are you doing now?..

    Spero che vinca Obama invece di Romney. Lo odio!

  • Avatar of bethann0330
    bethann0330 said ...

    I love your love songs, but I love your songs that are making a statement even more.

    Keep on doing what you are doing, as I put you right up there with Dylan, Marley, etc. I was just saying the other day that you are like a young Dylan.

    Peace,
    Beth Ann

    “Expand your circle of compassion and the love will come back to you a thousand times.” -Matt Bear, http://www.nonviolenceunited.org

  • Avatar of paulywood
    paulywood said ...

    This might not go over well with the typical Mraz fan but I am a registered republican however I don’t always vote that way. My conservatism comes mostly from my fiscal views while my social views vary from topic to topic.

    The reason I say this is to show that, no matter what you’re political affiliation, music can bring people together. I respect Mr. Mraz for voicing his opinions and being proud of them. While I don’t agree with all of them, I’m so grateful that we are all allowed to have our own beliefs. I know that everything I vote for will most likely not win but if the majority of the country thinks differently from me then so be it…who says everything I think is right?! I’ve been wrong all the time!!!

    Thank you for using your right to voice your opinion Jason. You’re the man! I enjoy your music regardless of if we agree on politics or not because in the end we can all agree on love.
    and fyi, I voted YES on prop 37 :)

  • Avatar of vrspacheco
    vrspacheco said ...

    The posts above mine pretty much sum up what I wanted to say. I loved you as an artist when I just used to listen to your songs, and I love you as a person even more for sharing your concerns, speak up and take a stand for what you believe. I really admire that. Keep it up!

    I am not American, but the result after tomorrow will affect relations with Canada, where I live, Brazil, my home country, and many other countries around the world. So yes, I am concerned. And I am glad to know that there are people like you, who can put some food for thought out there.

    Thank you!

  • Avatar of Kristi
    Kristi said ...

    Consider the responsibility you are taking on by voicing your opinion in the manner that you choose. There are many ignorant fans of yours out there that will vote the way you do because of who you are to them. This may be late but you should encourage those to be educated on the platforms of both candidates and what they stand for. We live in the greatest country and are able to make our own choices and should not be influenced by those they may idolize. I am a big fan and think you are adorable, kind, extremely intelligent and obviously well read. Use your gifts to encourage people to one voice on their own.

  • Avatar of Kristi
    Kristi said ...

    We live in a great country of free speech! I think you are a very talented, intelligent artist. I do have a problem with trying to influence those who may not understand politics the way you do. You are taking on a huge responsibility. Your fans may vote for someone that may go
    against their beliefs, but will vote the way you do because of who you are to them. Something to think about …

  • Avatar of Rbela
    Rbela said ...

    Please don’t listen to all of the negative people. I think it’s great that you stand up for what you believe in, and if you have the opportunity to try and make a difference, then why shouldn’t you take it? It really bothers me when people say that famous people/celebrities shouldn’t voice their opinions and beliefs publicly. We are all people, famous or not. Saying something like that is like saying that their friends, neighbors, and even themselves shouldn’t speak up when they really believe in something. It’s thinking like that that prevents things from getting done.

    I am so glad you talked about Prop 37. It is something I am very passionate about. Most of my family shares the same political views, except for one sister. She and my sister-in-law are so against Prop 37, it’s crazy. I can’t deny her the right to that opinion, but I wish I could at least discuss it with them. Sadly, I cannot. Actually I can’t discuss any politics with her. If I dared to voice my disagreement with her, it would cause problems. This is coming from my family! However, I am not going to stop sharing information and change what I believe in just because someone else might get upset.

    I am glad that you don’t do things just to please other people.

  • Avatar of pammy1329
    pammy1329 said ...

    this post is inspired. I am glad you spoke out about speaking out. You encourage me to be bolder in my beliefs and let people know where I stand on the issues that matter to me. I usually shy away from confrontation and avoid topics such as equal rights, religion, politics, etc. but why not let those around me know where I stand. Not to preach but only to inform and educate. Thank you thank you thank you for being the kind of person [not just a musician] that you are.

  • Avatar of jeffynus
    jeffynus said ...

    Please never stop speaking your mind! I was reading through the comments on your Instagram posts yesterday and was amazed by the ignorance and arrogance displayed by some people on there. Everyone is certainly entitled to their own opinions and views, however some of them were nothing short of disrespectful. One of the things that amazed me the most were the people who claimed that your support of President Obama made them lose all of the respect they had for you. Obviously, they never took the time to learn anything about you besides the fact that you have a wonderful voice (which you do! however there is much more there than that!). Anyone that has taken the least bit of interest in the causes that you support and what you stand for could tell where you stand politically…it’s not a shock! Keep doin’ what you’re doin’.
    “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”~ Dr. Seuss

  • Avatar of Rose
    Rose said ...

    I think it takes a lot of courage to stand up for what you believe and put forth such a big effort by spreading the word and traveling…and being peaceful and positive.
    In Washington we have Ref 74…Equal Marriage rights for everyone. I am so hopeful for my friends to be able to marry whomever they choose. I am so hopeful for Obama. I am proof that he is making changes…yes slow but they are happening. We tried to sell our home 3 years ago and failed…On Friday we put it back on the Market and in 2 days got a full price offer! That tells me that change is already happening! My husband is a builder and 3 years ago we were very worried about how we were going to make it…This year is his most successful year he has had in 10 years of owning his business…Change IS HAPPENING!!!!!!!! If anyone is on the fence…give him another 4 years…he is making progress…We are getting better!

    Rose

  • Avatar of angelsulli
    angelsulli said ...

    I think it is great that you are willing to stand by the values and ideas your have. I also think that it is so great that you are encouraging people to get out and vote!

    “When a great song comes along, it gives us a glimpse of world peace thanks to the peace of mind we experience for the duration of the song, album, or concert.”
    Yes yes yes! I agree with you completely! When I went to your concert here in vancouver I was indeed in a complete peace of mind. You music is food for my soul and your lyrics speak to me and gives me hope for a better world, and I know that starts by how I view it and experience it.

    Thanks for the gift of your music. I feel very blessed to have them.

    Namaste!

     

  • Avatar of Jdarby21
    Jdarby21 said ...

    You are not alone, soonerj! And I just hope that, regardless of who we are voting for, we can strive to show each other love and kindness.

  • Avatar of soonerj
    soonerj said ...

    I hope I’m not the only conservative Mraz fan. :) Whether or not my views coincide with what seems like the majority of Mraz fans, I’m voting my conscience and I hope that everyone else does the same. :)

  • Avatar of Peaceout
    Peaceout said ...

    I really, really respect that you continue to speak your voice in spite of all the backlash. That shows a lot of courage and a lot of character.

    I have my own personal opinions about our education and wanting to bring down the cost period and especially not allow private student loans to our youth. I am learning the hard way about having had to rely on those and not getting the support I needed to deal with them when I couldn’t find work. (Not that my story is special or different than many others out there.)

    Regardless, I just have to say THANK YOU for speaking your mind. This will go a long way in this world.

    PS. Have you (or any of you reading this) seen the movie Ghandi? Brilliant and inspiring. It takes character and compassion to stand up for the people. In Buddhism, the backlash is an indicator that you are on the right track and doing the right thing. Hence, part of the reason why I think Obama is getting so much sh*t, because he is doing way more than we could ever imagine. That’s why we need to keep going Forward… in my opinion.

    Enough of my opinions.

    Peace Out and looking forward to a celebration-

  • Avatar of Telluselle
    Telluselle said ...

    But that’s the thing. If you want to raise your voice for a cause or promote values, then do it all out. A good way to check one’s statements, regardless of who or whichnorganization is saying what, is to put in the word “not”. Example: “I want world peace.” Great, sing it out loud. But are you making a unique and strong statement? No, because there is no person saying against you: “I do not want world peace”. Thereby the statement looses its power. It would much more strong and powerful to say: “I want the US to stop invading other countries”. Can you imagine the debate? Then something would happen because you would touch a nerve. Hence I feel your commitment to politics become thin, a little superficial in its expression; ie politically correct but not political.
    Aloha,
    /Alexandra

  • Avatar of kaunkst7
    kaunkst7 said ...

    When I got a notification saying there was a new blog post and its title is “On Character” – I have to admit, I was nervous. I came right over to your journal to see what was up!
    I don’t think anyone is deaf to all of the comments being made about your political endorsements. Some things I’ve personally read have just left me shaking my head and thinking, ‘there’s so much hate flying around…’ But anyway, I have to confess – I’ve been a little annoyed about all of the political hype coming from you. And I’m not here to make any nasty remarks or anything, or make an excuse for anyone. You’re expressing your voice, your right…just like everyone else.
    On the other side (Sorry, I’m a Pisces – I see good things from all angles! ;-) ) I thoroughly enjoyed reading this journal entry. I feel bad that it almost seems like you’ve posted it to explain yourself….and if you’re feeling the need to explain yourself or defend your words/actions then…that sucks!!! You shouldn’t have to do that but I’m sure you have your own, good reasons for doing so.
    I have political views just like everyone – I just don’t express them as openly as most. But I also don’t knock anyone for theirs. It’s such an idividual, personal choice. I have no right to make a choice for anyone (Well, except when it comes to telling my kids to eat their veggies or else! haha).

    This blog post reminded me that while, yes, I’ve been annoyed with the election endorsing – it quickly brought me right back to what is so awesome about you…YOUR CHARACTER! Let people say what they will, you Jason Mraz, are a class act!!! <3

    BTW – coming to your show in Dec. at MSG! Can't wait!!!!! Wanna talk politics then? ;-) I'd love to get into that head of yours and find out why you're as passionate as you are about these things!

    Take care!

  • Avatar of laura1215
    laura1215 said ...

    I’m glad you wrote this. I just had this discussion with someone the other day who was complaining that Matt Damon “called her” – which, no, love, he didn’t- to campaign for Elizabeth Warren in Massachuetts. She was saying that she was tired of Hollywood thinking that their opinions matter more than ‘the rest of ours.” I truly do not think that is the case. I think if you have an opinion- voice it. If you have a platform- use it. If you don’t, then go BUILD one, and *then* use it. You don’t forego your right to speak your mind just because more people are listening.

  • Avatar of gmhefner
    gmhefner said ...

    jason, Thank You for always putting yourself out there. :)

  • I think it’s your right as a citizen to speak out. Don’t ever second guess yourself about your beliefs because what you believe in makes you the man you are. Those of us who also believe in equal rights for all citizens are with you. and the message says, keep calm and carry on!

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