Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Our Country

I heard John Mellencamp's "Our Country" in the background of a Chevy commercial during the World Series. I'm a Mellencamp fan, and I like what he's done with his sound, especially with this song.

So I wanted to go out and find the lyrics and see what he's talking about. Most of them are generic enough, but there are a few subtle digs (room enough in here for science to live and room enough in here for religion to forgive) which I assume are aimed at religious opponents of embryonic stem-cell research (now called "stomatic" stem-cell research... sounds so much more sterile ... but I digress.)

In the song, he calls for a utopia everyone can get behind. Bigotry is seen as obscene by all, everyone thinks poverty is ugly, and everybody understands everybody. Niiice. Birds, butterflies, flowers, green grass.... ahhhhhhh.

"And the ones that run this land help the poor and common man." This reveals a crack in my appreciation for the song. This argues that it is the government's responsibility to take care of the poor, and hints at a world view that the common man needs help. Really not part of my world view, nor do I believe it was a part of our Founding Fathers' world view.

Anyway -- by and large, I don't have too much problem with the song outside of that line because he kept the rest of it civil enough, and I commend him on it.

However, in looking for the lyrics, I also ran across an open letter to America he and his wife wrote back in late October, 2003.

Great, I thought. This'll give us some insight into what's on the blue collar, rural America rock hero's mind. I was a little leery, but... knowledge is important.

He starts out by complaining that those who are against the war have been labeled as "unpatriotic". I can understand where he's coming from -- one should not be labeled unpatriotic simply based on whether or not he opposes fighting a particular war... particularly if he can make a well-reasoned argument explaining his position. And there are such people and such arguments. I think they're wrong, but I don't think it means they're unpatriotic. And I'll grant that there are some who would label them so on the basis of their anti-war position. They'd be wrong, too. But that's not where the bulk of anti-war people stop.

He goes on talking about all the things that nobody likes about any war. All the deaths. The cost. The number of bombs. And from there he decends into a screed of leftist talking points.

  • War is to benefit corporations
  • Loss of respect in the world (especially with the U.N.)
  • need for public health care program
  • government "provides" jobs
  • failing economy
  • there are poor people (and it's all the rich people's fault-implied)

After that, he's worked up a full head of steam and hits the moonbat pitch

  • Bush lied
  • failed to secure our borders
  • Bush lied (2)
  • Thousands died
  • Bush stole the election
  • Bush should be impeached
  • Blood for oil
  • corporate greed
  • Bush lied (3)
  • "terrorized" by our own government
  • "no dangerous dictators captured"

Ok, so this was written in Oct, 2003 -- two months before Saddam Hussein was captured and 6 months after his government was toppled and went into hiding. And no matter how many times they say it, the facts are behind Bush -- he did not lie. Contrary to the blood-for-oil mantra, no oil fields were captured. Indeed, this out of Iraqi President Talibani (to the French) just today:

"Your oil companies can come to Iraq ... Americans didn't interfere (in our oil)
and don't have any right to interfere."

Show me a law-abiding U.S. citizen who was "terrorized" by our government. Recount after recount showed that Bush won the 2000 election. The economy is definitely not failing by any standard economic measure. And I wonder if he'd care to name a few of the "thousands" of troops coming home to cut benefits, health problems ignored, jobs gone, and families living in poverty? Who? Let's go check out their real stories.

Then John asks, "Who is to say what is or isn't 'Patriotic'?"

I'm gonna take a wild stab and say "John Mellencamp", for he then proceeds to tell us what isn't patriotic.

"Do the flags that wave from every minivan really offer any support?"

YES THEY DO! Ask a soldier. I'm a step-father to one who went there and thankfully came back. He can probably hook you up with tons of soldiers who would say most definitely, 'yes'.

And check this one out:

"... some still resist the open mindedness that is the very foundation of this country."

I wonder how many documents from the founding fathers you'd have to scour to find the phrase "open mindedness"? Fairness, yes. Liberty, yes. Open mindedness?????

You know, freedom of speech does not mean freedom from criticism. It just means you can't be thrown in jail for speaking your mind. If you're going to screech "first amendment" remember that street runs both directions. You call me a Nazi by calling Bush Hitler, I can call you unpatriotic for coming up with the anti-american angle on every little thing America does, anywhere, anytime. And neither one of us gets thrown in jail.

When you say this is "Our Country" and we need to "take it back", who do you mean by "Our", and from whom do ... er .... "they" need to take it back? Any way you slice it, half of us voted for Bush whether you believe he should have won or not. When you call him Hitler, you call us Nazis. Plain and simple. When you find ways to blame America for Islamists planting bombs to kill civillians... when you blame America for Islamists flying airplanes into our buildings, when you equate our POW camp at Guantanamo to a Gulag by distorting facts, setting insanely low standards for what defines "torture" or mistreatment, and you give more weight to what the enemy says than you do to what we say is going on -- yeah, you're unpatriotic in my book.

Maybe John hasn't said these things himself, but when someone repeats practically line-by-line the talking points of those who have said these things -- it is rational to assume that he believes them himself, and would agree if those "diverse1" opinions were recited in his presence.

Anyway, I still like the song. I still like his music. I hope he comes around. But this is "Our Country", too.

1Note that "diverse" means you disagree with a conservative point of view. Conservative points of view are not a part of "diverse". They can be dismissed out of hand simply for being "conservative". To the Left, "diverse" means "agreeing with us."

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