Originally, this was started on Friday 6.3.11
I wanted to hear some fiddle music, that was all. Not violin. I had been listening to a lot of violin music this week but I wanted to hear something a little grittier or more blue grass like. Since I did not have any of this on a CD in my truck – and I was going to be on the road for another hour to get home – I decided to go against my better judgment and find a country FM station on the radio. Around here this is never hard to do.
I scanned for a station and found something twangy. In the next hour I would hear it all. I would hear about life. I would hear about loss, lies, cheating, winning, losing, aging, staying young, losing youth, drinking, driving, love, lust, sex, memories, sickness, death, birth, lips, eyes, women, men, babies, the boss man, the landlord, hard work, songs about people playing songs, hot nights, passion, prison, luck, pain, suffering……………………. and patriotism.
Patriotism was first. I tuned into the middle of an Aaron Tippin song called “Where the stars and stripes and the eagle fly.” Country is fairly simple and clear, easy to hear and understand. It occurred to me that when this guy sang “Stars and Stripes and the eagle fly” he was actually saying “Schtaars n schtripes… n the eagles flaaaaaaaaahhh.” There is a point in the song where he sings “I pledge allegiance to this flag – And if that bothers you, well that’s too bad.” Well, gosh Aaron… just who in the hell can argue with that?
It got me thinking about a lot of these “Patriotic” tunes that these guys come out with. The country stations play one about every 5 or so according to the hour I listened today. I get the feeling that some of these guys are using patriotism as a way to cash in. You arrange the words just so, pull on a few heart strings, remind us how much blood we paid to get where we are today and then tell us if we don’t agree with your view then we are not as American as you are. You tell us that we need to remember that things in life are not free and don’t come easy. Really. We need you to remind us of this? Like I’m going to forget. You are now more American than those that did not manufacture a song telling us that we need to be as American as you are.
When I was a kid in school, we pledged allegiance every day. I don’t really remember but I think at least up to junior high. We also learned about history, our founding fathers, fighting, battles, wars, dates, historical figures… I was from Illinois so knowing about Lincoln, the Civil War and the Lincoln assassination was pretty standard. We had to take Constitution tests. I think we had to pass one in 8th grade and then another in high school. We were required to take “government” class. I think for most American kids that go to public school, you come out of it with a general idea of some of the things that got us to where we are now. You may not remember all of the dates and names and places – or the time line – but you recall that for some reason, this is important stuff. And, in fact, it is.
Which brings me to another point. It seems to me that there must be some bizzaro world of historical fact out there along with its own thesaurus of patriotic words that can be jumbled in such a way to create not only these “rip your guts out” country songs, but also are used to come up with neato names for goofy political groups. The Tea Party comes to mind. It gets to the point where words like freedom, liberty, patriots, justice, honor, glory and others are diminished due to the word salad thing they become that actually denotes some whacky right of the right group. Then you also wonder how many of these groups are real groups or some fabricated deal from some corporation funding.
You get a “One Nation Bus Tour.” A ONE NATION bus tour that covers only a couple of hundred miles or so in Pennsylvania, New York and Washington D.C. Seems like there was a lot missed on that trip. You get Sarah Palin, in a bus, on the road. When will we ever be done with this woman? How anyone can take her seriously… I just don’t know. Her recent recollection of Paul Revere’s midnight ride was bad enough. Defending herself the next day on Fox, confirming that she was correct and her staff attempting to re-write Wiki-pedia just digs that shit hole even deeper.
I can assume that just like some of these “2nd cousin of a friend who knows someone who lives next door to someone related to a son or daughter of Liberty”* groups, Sarah Palin is an artificial symbol for new hope in America, fueled and funded by private interest groups and witless individuals who have said “fuck it, let her give it a whirl.” The scary part of this is that there may be enough people who feel this way that she may stand a chance. Man… I hope not.
*Completely bogus made up group name.