Jewish World Review August 13, 2004 / 26 Menachem-Av, 5764
The Boss and the gang are singing the wrong tunes.
Bruce Springstein, Pearl Jam, the Dixie Chicks and others are on a mission to kick President Bush out of the White House. They're touring through swing states to spread their anti-Bush message.
I wondered if other musicians might be praising Bush and conservative ideas. That's how I stumbled across a terrific speech by Bruce Bartlett, senior fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis. Bartlett points out that many of the most popular songs of all time are conservative.
George Harrison of the Beatles may be remembered as a gentle soul, but I think he was a Republican, too. He penned "Taxman," the greatest anti-tax song of all time:
"If you drive a car, I'll tax the street…If you try to sit, I'll tax your seat… If you get too cold, I'll tax the heat… If you take a walk, I'll tax your feet… Cause I'm the taxman, yeah I'm the taxman."
Heavy metal band Metallica must be Republican, too. Their song "Don't Tread on Me" sums up the war on terror fairly well:
"Liberty or death, what we so proudly hail… Once you provoke her, rattling of her tail… Never begins it, never, but once engaged… Never surrenders, showing the fangs of rage… Don't tread on me…"
John Lennon preached peace throughout his life, but in "Revolution," a song he co-wrote with Paul McCartney, he has a few words for anti-war protesters who kick in windows and shut down our cities:
"We all want to change the world… But when you talk about destruction…Don't you know you can count me out…"
That brings us to Linda Ronstadt. In 1978, she joined with Chuck Berry to record "Back in the U.S.A." Berry wrote the patriotic song to celebrate his return to America after an overseas trip.
"Well, I'm so glad I'm livin' in the U.S.A… Yes, I'm so glad I'm livin' in the U.S.A… Anything you want, we got right here in the U.S.A."
That's right. We are free to be dumb enough to believe that Michael Moore has his "facts" right.
One thing that really surprised me is the number of popular songs that praised G-d. The Doobie Brothers hit "Jesus Is Just Alright" still plays on the radio. In 1970, George Harrison's "My Sweet Lord" was number 1 on the charts for four weeks. And check out the "religious right" lyrics to "Put Your Hand in the Hand," performed by the group Ocean in 1972.
"Put your hand in the hand of the Man who stilled the water… Put your hand in the hand of the Man who calmed the sea… Take a look at yourself and you can look at others differently… By putting your hand in the hand of the Man from Galilee…"
But of all the hit songs that validate common-sense conservative thinking, "Turn! Turn! Turn!" takes the cake. Written by Pete Seeger and performed by the Byrds, the song is based on the Bible:
"To everything - turn, turn, turn… There is a season - turn, turn, turn… And a time for every purpose under heaven… A time to be born, a time to die… A time to plant, a time to reap… A time to kill, a time to heal… a time to laugh, a time to weep…"
Kill? That's an awfully harsh word. But the song also says there is a time of war and a time of peace, a time of love and a time of hate. I guess Pete Seeger, well known for his liberal beliefs, must have been a right wing nut job in his youth.
In any event, while the Boss and other musicians are attacking the president for cutting taxes, his devout faith and for aggressively waging a war on terror, it's worth noting that some of our most popular songs support him.
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© 2004 Tom Purcell