Monday, March 15, 2010

Beck Bites

“Well, there he goes again.”

Former President Ronald Reagan, the underdog in the election against the incumbent in 1980, Jimmy Carter, uttered that now-famous phrase in response to a comment uttered by his opponent. 

The phrase continues to provide traction, ironically to a man who has refuted Mr. Reagan’s description of Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.” as a “message of hope” in the 1984 elections. Radio potentate Glenn Beck is now on record as stating the Springsteen anthem is anti-American.
Well, there he goes again.

But, you decide for yourself. 
Here are the lyrics of the song penned by Bruce Springsteen:

Born down in a dead man's town
The first kick I took was when I hit the ground
You end up like a dog that's been beat too much
'Til you spend half your life just covering up

Born in the U.S.A.
Born in the U.S.A.
Born in the U.S.A.
Born in the U.S.A.

I got in a little hometown jam
And so they put a rifle in my hands
Sent me off to Vietnam
To go and kill the yellow man


Come back home to the refinery
Hiring man says "Son if it was up to me"
I go down to see the V.A. man
He said "Son don't you understand"


I had a buddy at Khe Sahn
Fighting off the Viet Cong
They're still there, he's all gone
He had a little girl in Saigon
I got a picture of him in her arms

Down in the shadow of the penitentiary
Out by the gas fires of the refinery
I'm ten years down the road
Nowhere to run, ain't got nowhere to go

I'm a long gone Daddy in the U.S.A.
Born in the U.S.A.
I'm a cool rocking Daddy in the U.S.A
Born in the U.S.A.

A question for Mr. Beck, and anyone else still with me this far: Since when is it “un-American” to be critical of how things are? If you’re reading closely the words of the song, they are a description of how life was in America for a young man returning from doing his duty in an un-popular war. 

Another irony is that the same sense of discontent Springsteen captured in “U.S.A." is that which foments the demonstrations of Tea Baggers and free thinkers of today, some of whom ascribe to Beck’s other points of view.

Beck needs to hang on to his day job, and not venture off into the tall weeds of songwriting; the nuances are too subtle for him to fathom.

“Born in the U.S.A.” was written about how life was in those turbulent times.
Doubtless, Springsteen could easily pen another half-dozen stanzas from the fodder in the news this week alone.

If he did so, would that make him any less-patriotic—or just another troubadour singing about the times?

1 comment:

Betsy Thompson said...

An absolutely dismal song that someone (I don't remember who right now) pointed out its hideousness back when it was written. But, of course, people leaning to the left only hear what they want to hear which is the "Born in the U.S.A." portion. Wake up, America!