Monday, May 26, 2003

At least I'm Not A Terrorist

I hate the song "God Bless the USA" (Proud to be an American). I hated it 20 years ago, and I hate it today. Since the media is dictating our need to have a resurgence of patriotism, the song is getting played over and over and over again, and I cringe every time. All because of two words.

The main chorus begins "I'm proud to be an American, where at least I know I'm free." For starters, I'm not even sure that makes any grammatical sense. To be proper, it should read "I'm proud to live in America, where at least I know I'm free." Whatever. But the big problem I have is with the words "at least".

"At least" is a phrase you use as a concession that everything else sucks. For example, your car was stolen, your house burned down and you were fired, but AT LEAST you have your health. Who cares? Your pathetic little existence is ruined.

In the context of the song, by saying "at least" there is an implication that there is a whole bunch of really horrible stuff about being an American. Whether or not that's true, patriotic songs are supposed to celebrate the positive. What this song is saying is "we have high murder rates and moral decay and smog and congestion and homelessness and corrupt politicians, but at least I know I'm free to enjoy all of it".

I see people singing along to this song at memorials with tears welling up in their eyes and I think to myself "Don't you people understand what this song means?! It's actually ANTI-American! Are you all mad?!"

Maybe I really do walk alone to my own drummer. But AT LEAST my drummer knows what song to play.

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