Saturday, July 21, 2007

America the Thoughtless

As I wrote previously, we went to Reno last month as part of our family's tour of west to see rodeo there.

As part of its opening ceremony, they made a dedication to the US service men and women in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere around the globe.

Regardless of my political conviction, it touched me deeply. This was the community whose members are making real sacrifices for what they believed to be the righteous cause.

Then they rounded the whole ceremony off with the flypast of chopper and... Bruce Springsteen's "Born In The U.S.A." blaring out at max from speakers.

Then and there, I just wanted to shout it out.


"Born In The USA" is a protest song. Haven't they paid attention to the lyrics?

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
Till you spend half your life just covering up, now
Born in the U.S.A.
I was Born in the U.S.A.
I was Born in the U.S.A.
Born in the U.S.A. now
Got in a little hometown jam
So they put a riffle in my hands
Sent me off to a foreign land,
to go and kill the yellow man
Born in the U.S.A.
I was Born in the U.S.A.
I was Born in the U.S.A.
I was Born in the U.S.A.
Come back home to the refinery
Hiring man said "Son if it was up to me"
Went down to see my V.A. man,
He said "Son don't you understand now"
I had a brother at Khe Sahn, fighting off the Viet cong
They're still there, he's all gone
He had a woman who lived in Saigon,
I got a picture of him in her arms, uhh
Down in the shadow of the peni-tentiary
Out by the - gas fires of the - refinery
I'm - ten years burning - down the road
Nowhere to run ain't got nowhere to go
Born in the U.S.A.
I was Born in the U.S.A. now
Born in the U.S.A.
I'm a long gone daddy in the U.S.A. now
Born in the U.S.A.
Born in the U.S.A.
Born in the U.S.A.
I'm a cool rockin' daddy, I'm a U.S.A., now

... isn't it clear enough? Playing this song in praise of men and women in uniform is like playing "We Shall Overcome" at KKK jamboree.

I suppose the world is ultimately trusting of the Americans. After all it is a democratic society built on the basis of freedom and justice. At least, that is their aspiration and, as a result, we are more comfortable with their hegemony than, say, that of some autocratic one-party dictatorship of certain superpower-in-waiting.

Still, their blatant thoughtlessness and ignorance displayed that night really made me feel scared and worried.

After all, someone may think that I am the yellow man in the song.

And some of them, I am sure, keep rifles at home.

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