Royal Oak Tribune

A moment of harmony between opposing camps

- By Gina Joseph gjoseph@medianewsg­roup.com @ginaljosep­h on Twitter

It was short and sweet. But for one brief and unexpected moment in Warren during yesterday’s election there was harmony among Republican­s and Democrats, and melody too, according to a report by the Associated Press that has captured the hearts of people everywhere.

“We sang ‘ My Country, ‘ Tis of Thee,’ and ‘God Bless America,’” said Matthew Woods, the 59-yearold musician from Upland, California who joined a group of Trump supporters attending a polling station in Warren, dressed as a Revolution­ary War soldier.

When tensions flared and the Trump supporters and backers of Joe Biden started shouting at each other through bullhorns the soldier became the peacemaker.

Drawing on his passion for music and America, Woods encouraged the group to sing songs about the heartland.

“It was very patriotic and really something that we support,” said Warren Police Commission­er William Dwyer, referring to Woods’ efforts to keep the peace. “I would like to see more of that kind of showing for the country by citizens.”

At first it was only Woods and his group of 20 singing.

Biden’s supporters refused to join in.

Instead they sang, “Kumbaya.”

That’s when Woods walked over and stood

beside the group of 30, prompting a show of respect for his kind gesture and perhaps the historical significan­ce of the songs.

Soon after the opposing side, holding signs for their candidates joined in the sing-a-long and even posed for photos afterwards, according to Woods.

“We shook hands, hugged each other and apologized for saying bad words to one another,” Woods said. “‘Let’s forget about politics.

Let’s hug each other and be friends.’”

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson tweeted details of the exchange, calling it a “hopeful story for today.”

“What began as a tense exchange in Macomb County involving supporters of both presidenti­al candidates shouting at each other through bullhorns took an unexpected turn as Trump & Biden supporters together began singing ‘ God Bless America’ as a united group,” she tweeted.

Dwyer said Warren police were prepared to do whatever was necessary to keep the peace and allow the democratic process to move forward. “We had officers at the polls, both plain clothes and uniform officers to monitor the problems but there wasn’t any.”

Thanks to one musician’s reminder of the music that was written to encourage peace in the nation.

 ?? DAVID GOLDMAN — THE ASSOCIATED PRESS ?? Trump supporter and musician Matthew Woods, dressed as a Continenta­l Army soldier, leading a Trump Train Rally on Election Day in Warren.
DAVID GOLDMAN — THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Trump supporter and musician Matthew Woods, dressed as a Continenta­l Army soldier, leading a Trump Train Rally on Election Day in Warren.

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