Tim McGraw has some harsh words for divisive political rhetoric, and he looks forward to U.S. citizens finding civility once again, despite political differences.

"I want what's best for our country. I want what's best for the majority of people in our country," the singer says during a TIME Person of the Week podcast interview.

"I think that everybody deserves the right to live their life in the best way that they possibly can and to soar in the best way," McGraw adds. "I think that we certainly need to get back to some civility, on both sides."

McGraw is a self-described "history nerd" — so much so that in 2019, he teamed up with Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Jon Meacham to write a book called Songs of America: Patriotism, Protest and the Music That Made a Nation. The book examines a series of popular songs as a lens into the cultural moment that created them.

Together with Tyler Hubbard, he also performed on a television special celebrating President Joe Biden's inauguration in January 2021. McGraw played that show just days after the Jan. 6 attack, in which Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol building to protest the election results. Five people died during or directly following the event, and the following July, the U.S. Department of Justice's website estimated the monetary damages at around $2.7 million.

"[January 6] was one of the saddest days in our country's history, I believe. It was tough to watch," McGraw notes. "And I couldn't believe that it had actually happened. And hopefully it will never happen again."

In his TIME interview, McGraw opens up about his own political leanings as a moderate Democrat who supports common-sense gun laws and the right to have an abortion. But he also thinks finding common ground is important, and increasingly difficult, for both sides.

He points out that he's addressed the need for unity in his music, with songs like "Humble and Kind."

"I think the 24 hour news cycle has the most to do with [Americans feelings disconnected and divided.] And we're always on these devices all the time, and hearing stuff that's not necessarily true, or hearing stuff that's just sort of this small segment, instead of hearing what the majority of people really think and feel," McGraw reflects.

"And I think for the most part, if we can get back to just realizing that we're more alike than we are different ..." he adds. "And I always try to just let my music speak to that."

11 Country Stars Who Don't Write Their Own Songs + 1 You'll Be Shocked to Learn Does

If you think a country singer needs to write their own songs to be a legitimate artist, take this short quiz:

Which of the following five hitmakers is also an established songwriter: Luke Bryan, Reba McEntire, Randy Travis, Blake Shelton, Alan Jackson?

Just two of those names make this list of 11 country stars who don't write their own songs, and one you'll be surprised to learn does. It's a list that includes four Country Music Hall of Fame inductees and at least two others sure to get in soon. The takeaway is that great singers are great storytellers, especially when they're telling someone else's story.

Gallery Credit: Billy Dukes

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