That side was made for you and me

Google’s doodle for the Fourth of July worked in the words of the great Woody Guthrie: “This land was made for you and me.”

TBogg ventures over to Michelle Malkin’s corner of the Internet to find that this did not go over well at all with the right wing:

“Google is carrying on it’s tradition of sneering contempt for all things patriotic and American.”

“Nothing like a celebration of a communist on Independence Day.”

“Scumbags from Google celebrate the 4th with a Communist anthem.”

Reading that made me realize that the following video is a horrifying nightmare to those folks. And since folks like that enjoy nothing more than fantasizing that the world is filled with their nightmares, I can give them no greater gift than this wonderful moment in which Pete Seeger, Bruce Springsteen, a choir of young people, Oprah Winfrey, the president elect and a few hundred thousand other Americans from all over the country join together in sneering their contempt for America, cataloguing their hatred for this country, “from California, to the New York island.”



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  • Monala

    I remember reading an article that made the point that many of the U.S.’s most patriotic songs were written by those considered outsiders. There is this one; “God Bless America,” by Irving Berlin, a Jew; and “America the Beautiful,” by Katharine Lee Bates, a lesbian.

  • Monala

    To that list, I’d add, “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” by James Weldon Johnson, an African-American.

  • *lookup*

    As I went walking I saw a sign there 
    And on the sign it said “No Trespassing.” 
    But on the other side it didn’t say nothing, 
    That side was made for you and me.

    *tilts head left*
    *tilts head right*

    Mmm… still dunno.

    In the shadow of the steeple I saw my people, 
    By the relief office I seen my people; 
    As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking 
    Is this land made for you and me?

    Ah. There we go.

  • Monala

    And there’s the pro-abolition song, “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” by Julia Ward Howe.

  • Lori

    I sang along a little. I hope that Malkin and her toadies a little extra twinge of self-inflicted misery. 

    Also this:

  • Mau de Katt


    When I was growing up, in “Small-Town America” I might add, this song was a staple of the Patriotic Americana songs we learned and sang.

  • SisterCoyote

    I am a far-left-wing activist type. I do things like vote liberal and try to explain why socialism isn’t an automatic bad thing and sometimes go to rallies and speeches and write about those.

    I am a patriot. I do all of the above because I love my country, and I believe that we can do better, and I do not think someone celebrating the fourth of July on their ranch with their own fireworks is any more or less American than someone celebrating it in a homeless shelter with donated food, or someone celebrating it with a block party also with a bunch of donated food. I don’t think being straight makes you more American, or being white, or being Christian, or being rich, or living on the coast or living in the south, or voting a green party ticket every single election.

    I am a left wing radical, and I am still a patriot, and so was Woody Guthrie, and so is Bruce Springsteen, and to heck with anyone who tries to say otherwise.

    (The worst part? As soon as I saw that logo this morning, my first thought was “Cue the angry right-wing reaction.”)

  • Jessica_R

    Ah, I have an excuse to post some Aaron Copland. I think it’s perfect and the best of what our rocky, horrible, wonderful, terrible, amazing country can be that a gay, atheist   Jew composed some of the best and most moving Americana music. 

  • mcc

    The version I remember from the boy scouts (back when that was what I was), from the canon that included the Socks Song–

    This land is my land,
    this land ain’t your land,
    I got a shotgun,
    and you don’t got one,
    I’ll blow your head off,
    if you don’t get off,
    This land is made for only me.

  • Rhubarbarian82

     Looking back, that version definitely sounds a lot more red state.

  • reynard61

    “GoogleMichelle Malkin is carrying on it’s tradition of sneering contempt for all things patriotic and American.”


  • friendly reader

     My denomination finally put that in our latest hymnal, and it’s become a staple at MLK Jr. day*. Honestly, it’s so beautiful and singable I wish it would replace our current one.

    Because not only is “The Star Spangled Banner” really hard to sing, it’s basically about how our flag is so awesome that it survived this really big battle. Yeah, yeah, I know, it can be taken metaphorically, but even then it comes to “America can take a lickin’ but keep on ticking.”

    I’d much rather sing “Lift every voice and sing, till earth and heav’n ring,

    ring with the harmonies of liberty” at my baseball games. And we don’t have to include the explicitly religious third verse in my book; I’ll save that for church.

    *His birthday is also listed as a commemorate holiday as a social reformer and martyr. We don’t do saints in the ELCA, but that’s pretty close.

  • tiredofit

    Does Malkin know that the pledge of allegiance was written by a socialist?

  •  Ain’t that the friggin’ truth.

  • This song is such a total earworm for me lol >.< I get it stuck in my head frequently and hum along.  Now if only (like so many things in this country) we actually practiced what we preached.

  • LMM22

    Listening to the music accompanying the fireworks last night, I started getting irritated about just how much of it was right-wing stuff that is seen as non-political. (“I’m Proud to be an American”? Hell, could we get rid of *any* sort of military PR songs? (*))

    I was trying to think of stuff they should have been playing. This was definitely one of them.(*) One of the problems with the right-wing reconceptualization of the US is that the only way to be patriotic is to join the military. Which is — in and of itself — about the least patriotic thing I have ever heard of.

  • Tonio

    In principle, patriotic songs should avoid sectarian references such as “God.” Sectarian because only some US citizens believe in a single deity.  In practice, those two songs aren’t trying to flog a particular religions belief, so it’s not the same thing as blurring the distinction between Christianity and patriotism. (I can’t say the same for the church sign I saw the other day: “When America blesses God, God blesses America.”)

    Despite the abolitionist origins of “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” and the majestic nature of the language, the it still sounds more like “Battle Hymn of Armageddon.” Like something the Tribulation Force might sing in jubilation as they’re watching the nonbelievers get their just desserts.

  • Chunky Style

    I half believe that Pete Seeger is the physical embodiment of some of our most admirable principles and potentials.  Of course, he’d deny it.

  • Tonio

     I’ve noticed that too, and country music is among the worst offenders but not the only one. The same mentality behind Haggard’s “Fightin’ Side of Me,” which peddles a fire-hazard-scale straw man about that era’s culture war.

  • scifantasy

    I don’t think anybody would deny that Woody’s music, “This Land” in particular, had some pretty pointed social commentary. (Well, OK, maybe some people would. I wouldn’t.) Folk music picked up on the Wobblies’ traditions more than a little.

    But I don’t think that patriotism and social commentary are divorced from each other. In fact, I think that admitting a country’s flaws is more patriotic than denying them. Denying those flaws, insisting that the country is perfect (as opposed to a more benign “it’s my country, even if I disagree with it”), is a path toward nationalism and jingoism.

  • friendly reader

    Actually, I remember hating this song when I first had to sing it in school. We only sang the first verse, of course, and I had just come back from a long family trip to the Badlands. My reaction as a budding leftist (aged 7) was “This land wasn’t made for you and me, it was made for the Native Americans and we totally stole it from them!”

    It wasn’t until much later that I learned the real message of the song, and it started to grow on me.

  • PurpleAardvaark

    I remember that concert at the Lincoln Memorial and the hope that filled me when Pete and Bruce and everyone sang that song.  And at the same time, the Malkins of the right were actively planning ways to kill that hope, to walk backwards and destroy more than 70 years of good things. Damn their hides!

  • That was among the more beautiful things I’ve listened to.

    Whoops! Didn’t mean to have this as a reply. My bad!

  • Lori


    One of the problems with the right-wing reconceptualization of the US is
    that the only way to be patriotic is to join the military. 

    Not really. The Right wing reconceptualization of the US is that the only way to patriotic is to be a Republican. They like to manipulate the image of military service as the only true form of patriotism, but A) their leadership is no more likely to have served or to have a family member serving than the leadership on the Right and B) Liberals who serve still aren’t considered patriotic, no matter how distinguished their service record.

  • thatotherjean

    Everything SisterCoyote said.  I am a bleeding-heart liberal;  I am a patriot despite what the far right (is there any other kind these days?) thinks;  I think Pete Seeger is a national treasure; and that just about made me cry.

  • Certainly. Just not sure I agree with all the commentary.

  • aunursa

    TBogg ventures over to Michelle Malkin’s corner of the Internet to find that this did not go over well at all with the right wing

    Michelle Malkin owns the site  The site’s staff has merely copied some Twitter comments about the Google doodle.  Malkin typically posts her own opinions on her primary site,, and there is no indication there of her position (if she has one) on this.

  • Monala

     Fair point.

  • The_L1985

    Ugh. I remember singing that song at school. Thanks for bringing back those memories.

  • dxmachina

    That was a very good day, wasn’t it?

  • John
  • Monala

    We could do like South Africa, which combined the old Afrikaaner national anthem, the African National Congress’ anthem, and some Xhosa and Zulu hymns to create the incredibly beautiful “Nkosi sikelel’ iAfrika.”

  • Monala
  • everstar

    I ended up reading G. K. Chesterton’s “Defence of Patriotism” yesterday.  It’s amusing to me how much of what he’s saying about early twentieth-century Britain seems relevant to early twenty-first century America.

    On all sides we hear to-day of the love of our country, and yet anyone who has literally such a love must be bewildered at the talk, like a man hearing all men say that the moon shines by day and the sun by night. The conviction must come to him at last that these men do not realize what the word ‘love’ means, that they mean by the love of country, not what a mystic might mean by the love of God, but something of what a child might mean by the love of jam. …’My country, right or wrong,’ is a thing that no patriot would think of saying except in a desperate case. It is like saying, ‘My mother, drunk or sober.’ No doubt if a decent man’s mother took to drink he would share her troubles to the last; but to talk as if he would be in a state of gay indifference as to whether his mother took to drink or not is certainly not the language of men who know the great mystery.

    As GNeil and PTerry said, he’s a man who knew what was going on.

  • Albanaeon

     Yep.  When an officer can send a joke about Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama being grasshopper enablers (for the old ant and grasshopper story) gets forwarded throughout the squadron and my story which had no mention of even political parties but had a bunch of cockroaches peddling various acronyms on CRAP gets me called into the office for potentially damaging the potential chain of command, there’s definitely a problem.  I’ll admit my email was partisan in many ways, but giving that the command was deliberately attack on an entire political party that was probably going to win, I am pretty sure they were far in the wrong about it.  And they knew it as everything was dropped when I mentioned the JAG…

    Still, from my experience there’s was a pretty big divide in the military.  A lot of the brass are hyper-Republicans coming from good, military families, and a lot of the enlisted aren’t as they are coming from (increasingly) poorer and/or minority backgrounds and don’t have good experiences with Repubs.  Still as the officers have the power and view of the public more often, they pretty successfully project that the military is some bastion of Republicans.*   And that there’s a fair amount of pressure for it to be is one of the things I really hated about the military while I was in it.

  • Maria

     Definitely. Look at the way Tea Party favorite Joe Walsh of Illinois repeatedly mocks and denigrates his opponent’s military service — an opponent who is, by the way, an Iraq war veteran who lost both of her legs in a skirmish with insurgents. (Walsh, on the hand, is contemptible even by politician standards).

  • (“I’m Proud to be an American”? Hell, could we get rid of *any* sort of military PR songs? (*))

    And/or all songs that have been used in pickup truck commercials. I’m convinced there’s a subset of country musicians who write songs hoping they’ll be truck ads – licensing fees apparently being a more reliable income than residuals.

  • Tonio

     I love the irony of the better-known Joe Walsh, the one from the Eagles and the James Gang, campaigning for the other Walsh’s opponent.

    The reason that such politicians appear pro-military is that they worship strength and authority. They idolize service members who seem to typify cowboy swagger. But as Susan Faludi noted in “The Terror Dream,” they quickly turn on their idols at any sign of weakness. In their eyes Duckworth broke the bargain by urging better care for veterans as well as overall health care reform. They don’t want a real veteran who has seen the horrors of war and understands the need to protect the vulnerable, they want an action hero.

  • Nequam

    “Fortunate Son” is a pretty interesting song if you don’t selectively quote it like the truck ads did.

  • Tonio

    “Born in the USA” is my all-time favorite (?) example of jingoists grossly misinterpreting a song for their own agendas, in this case Ronald Reagan and George Will.

  • Ouch! That said I’ve also heard urban legends got strewn throughout the military about the OMG DISRESPECT BY BILL CLINTON about every damn thing including whether or not he saluted at someone.

  • I’m a DJ at a community radio station and often play a set of “Fortunate Son”, “Eve of Destruction”, “Lucky Man”, and “Ohio” and ask listeners to tell me what they have in common. Not many get the connection.

  • Paradox244

    Thank you for that Fred.  I’m not ashamed to admit that I teared up a bit watching that.

  • My experience from having worked alongside a fair number of people in the military or from military backgrounds is that they tend to reflect roughly the same distribution of views on most issues as the general public, but even the left-leaning ones are on average more sympathetic to authoritarian trends than non-military lefties.

  • Tricksterson

    Yup, one of th songs we learned in St. Louis Elementary.

  • Tricksterson

    But, but don’t you understand?  First you get people singing songs like that and bfore you know it we’ll have government documents begining “We the People”.  Communism I say!

  • Porlockjr

     I didn’t grow up in small-town America, and went to a lefty college, beginning just as the Sixties did. And when I first was exposed to the singing of that song, not knowing where it came from, my cynical young soul wasn’t at all sure it wasn’t a bit too treacly a piece of patriotic stuff. (Hadn’t heard the later verses, of course.)

    Which is to say, Damn straight, it’s truly patriotic stuff. But the last verses are a bit dangerous, you know.

  • Porlockjr

     Thanks SO much for posting this. Amazing.

  • I remember the first time I heard of the dispute between Springsteen and Reagan. Until then I had always thought that Springsteen was a more-or-less mainstream conservative music idol because of the vague association I had of the title “Born in the USA” being akin to the excessive flag-waving in WWF.

    Anyway long story short, an inspection of the lyrics reveals otherwise.

    Also, MAD magazine did a funny-ass parody called “Porn in the USA”.

  • friendly reader

    If we’re going to discuss how criticism of a country can still be patriotism…America is a piece of trash.