Monday, May 31, 2010

While I've got your ear:

I love America. I do. The good, the bad, and the ridiculous. Hot dogs, apple pie, baseball, Paris Hilton, free speech, all of it. I'm a geek for Gettysburg. I get choked up watching President Bartlet speak because it makes me imagine the America that we could be. I was so excited to vote my first time--and still I take that responsibility very seriously. I can't imagine living anywhere else. I'm so thankful for all the freedoms we have. I'm so grateful to all of the men and women who serve our country because they feel the call of something greater than themselves.

But there's one thing I'd like to talk to you about:

America, we need a new song.

Remember the three or so days just after September 11, when we all gathered around our televisions in shock and collective uncertainty? Remember that patriotic feeling we felt as we knew the world was different, and we were joined together in something unexplainable?

Remember that GOD AWFUL SONG they kept playing?

And I'm proud to be an American,
where at least I know I'm free.
And I wont forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.
And I gladly stand up,
next to you and defend her still today.
‘Cause there ain't no doubt I love this land,
God bless the USA.

Sure, those lyrics are great. But go ahead and lock that on repeat on your iPod for a few decades and tell me how much you like it then. That's what it seems like--the media is so stuck on this song.

Lee Greenwood? This is OUR GUY, America? This is the best we could do?

The thing is I don't even mind country music. Some of the best songs about being patriotic and appreciative have come from that camp. But I just can't take this song anymore, America. I can't do it. The saccharine whine of Greenwood's voice is enough to make me want to run around my house screaming and doing the crazy laugh. I can picture him grasping the air in front of himself and closing his eyes in feigned emotion because he's so overcome as he sings those words. It seems to undermine the very thing it strives to celebrate by virtue of being so ridiculous, and so (as my students would say) "played out". So let's get some of the bright new minds in country music on it. Or anyone, really. I'm just ready to break up with Lee Greenwood, America. He's like Heidi's shorts. His time has passed. Not only does he look like Rex's (of Rex Kwan Do) long lost cousin, his song is just not that good. Be honest, America. You don't like it either. You were just waiting for me to say it first.

I just hate that anytime something happens to us or we join together to celebrate the things about our nation that are great--like the people who gave their lives in service to this country--that we don't have more to offer than this little ditty. I feel like we need to celebrate our vets and our national pride something a little more sincere and stirring--something a little less, um, 1984. We could go classic. We've got marches. We've got beating drums and trumpets... trumpeting? John Phillips Sousa did okay. So did Francis Scott Key when he penned his little gem. We've got hymns and anthems galore--let's balance that by stepping it up a bit in the modern patriotic music category, mmm?

My vote is for something at the midpoint between America, F*ck Yeah and the theme song from The West Wing. But maybe that's why they don't put me in charge of such decisions.

Happy Memorial Day.


  1. I like that song...but I don't have it on my IPOD and I think the last time I heard it was the last couple of weeks of 2001.

  2. Well, now that awful song is stuck in my head. That blog post was just mean. Thanks a lot, slim.

  3. I absolutely hate that song too, but no one would ever accuse me of being that patriotic, so I always figured it was, well, a lack of excessive pride in being American. Good to know that someone else agrees that it's just not a good song, period.

  4. I disagree ... I love the song! I remember liking it - and our family liking it - even as a kid. I even heard it on the way home today, and had to turn it up. Maybe it's because I was in, and I'd proudly (or gladly) stand up and do it again.

    Perhaps it is time for something new, but I'll always feel good when I hear this one.