Of course conservative media outlets like Faux News and The Weekly (No) Standard would slam Bruce Springsteen, Dave Grohl and Zac Brown for singing CCR’s Fortunate Son at a Veterans Day celebration on the National Mall.
“Tone deaf,” TWS said. “Taking shots at the red, white and blue,” said one of Fox’s blondes — couldn’t say which, they’re interchangeable.
They all agreed that the song, written by Army vet and CCR front man John Fogerty, is “anti-war,” “anti-draft,” “anti-military.”
Except it’s not. What it is is anti-elitism, anti-I’m-a-bigshot-so-my-kids-don’t-have-to-go-to-war-but-you’re-nobody-so-you’re-kids-do.
It’s true that Fogerty opposed the Vietnam war, it’s true he opposed the draft, and it’s also true that he was drafted. But what he opposed even more was the blatant inequality about who was sent to war and who got a deferment.
It’s not the first time, though, that conservatives have been unable to comprehend song lyrics. Ronald Reagan, among others, used Springsteen’s Born in the USA as a campaign song (until Bruce told him to stop). Born in the USA, a song about just how bad the United States treats its veterans once the shooting stops. If it stops. Talk about tone deaf.
But then, this is kinda par for the proverbial course, wherein the course is headlines, soundbites and song titles and par is the conservatives’ seeming inability to see anything that is not either/or, or, in this case, red, white and blue.
Nuance is not for the patriotic at heart.
Much was made about nuance in 2004 when GW Bush used the word against John Kerry. Many of my colleagues in the “mainstream media,” never ones to miss jumping on a meme bandstand, beat it to death, treating it as if being able to see more than the flip sides of an issue was a bad thing. It’s not.
In fact, we’d live in a much better world if we stopped with the I’m-right-so-you’re-wrong bullshit. And don’t take my word for it. Just think about it. Let it roll around in an open space in your mind for a little bit. See what happens.
What would happen, do ya think, if we just listened a little more? And, by listen, I mean actually hear the words being spoken and what they mean rather than snatching a word or two out of what we think we hear and formulating our brilliant takedown while the other person is talking.
It may just be too much hard work for some of us. I can’t guarantee the Faux heads will ever be capable of it. When one of their number actually explained what Fortunate Son was all about, another said he just wasn’t sure. Maybe if Bruce and company had explained it before they sang it.
As if. As if listening to the song itself is so fucking hard he needs someone to explain it to him before he hears it.
It’s so easy to talk without knowing what we’re talking about. Some of us have made whole careers out of it, because a lot of us like nothing better than to have someone else condense this complex world into the lowest common denominator so we don’t have to wade through nuance ourselves.
And just look where that’s gotten us:
It always had to get worse before it gets any better. I know that, have known that. It’s just that it isn’t necessary, and I kept hoping we’d realize it and stop this ever-accelerating drive to idiocracy.
But I knew. The question now, I suppose, is just how much dumber can we go before enough of us wake up and put on the brakes? Will it take President Rand Paul? Or Ted Cruz?
Yesterday, we re-elected crooks and buffoons all across the land. We replaced people on the borderline of sane policy with complete lunatics.
Here’s how it happened: Those of us who could have made a difference bought the bullshit line that there’s no difference between Democrats and Republicans. It’s the same disease that gave us eight years of George W. Bush. Lesson, not learned.
Look, I get it. Our two-party system really does suck. And Barack Obama really is what once upon a time was called a moderate Republican. But get this, and fully understand it: There is no such thing as a moderate Republican, and there hasn’t been for quite some time.
We have two major parties. One is in full-on, backed-into-a-corner mode and sees scorched earth as the only way out. The other thinks that scooting closer to the corner will encourage those backed into it to come out of the dark. See the problem here?
The steady march of evolution, even of a society, goes forward, and this backwards, fearful segment of it will soon give way to a segment that is not yet so entrenched in its views of itself that it can’t tolerate even the thought someone might see things differently.
As for the right, well, it’s doomed, at least this version of it. They know it, and that’s why the heels are dug in so deep they’re melting into the planet’s core.
Yes, my friends, our real problem isn’t the lunatic right. It’s the lunatic left. Both are stuck in a delusional world of their own making, but the lunatic right is on its way out. The lunatic left, a product of the idealistic vision that is the basis of progress, will determine how low we’ll go before that happens.
Here’s the thing. We’re not going to get a socialist state here, ever. We’re not going to get a multi-party system here, ever. If I’m to be perfectly honest, there’s not a single governing system in place on the planet that I’d endorse. None of them will ever give us the kind of peace we want. None of them.
So stop. Just stop. Stop holding out for perfection and deal with what we have. Stop being so damn petulant and whining because Obama is too conservative for you. Are you happy now that Tea Party Thom Tillis is in the Senate and the guy who announced — on the day of Obama’s first inauguration — that his goal was to scuttle the presidency will soon be senate majority leader?
Barack Obama wasn’t my choice for president. Neither was Bill Clinton. Are we better off that we had eight years of Clinton than eight years of George H.W. Bush and who knows what else? Hell yeah. What if we’d had eight years of Al Gore instead of GW Bush? I wish. Would John McCain or Mitt Romney have been more to my liking than Obama? Er, no.
Maybe we will need a Ted Cruz-Joni Ernst administration before the pendulum can begin its slow swing back to sanity. It’s just not necessary, and I, for one, am not too sure we’d survive it.