The Corner

re: ‘Lee Greenwood’s horrid anthem’

What’s wrong with this?

 

If tomorrow all the things were gone I’d worked for all my life,

And I had to start again with just my children and my wife.

I’d thank my lucky stars to be living here today,

‘Cause the flag still stands for freedom and they can’t take that away.

And I’m proud to be an American where as least I know I’m free.

And I won’t forget the men who died, who gave that right to me.

And I’d gladly stand up next to you and defend her still today.

‘Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land God bless the U.S.A.

From the lakes of Minnesota, to the hills of Tennessee,

across the plains of Texas, from sea to shining sea,

From Detroit down to Houston and New York to LA,

Well, there’s pride in every American heart,

and it’s time to stand and say:

I’m proud to be an American where at least I know I’m free.

And I won’t forget the men who died, who gave that right to me.

And I’d gladly stand up next to you and defend her still today.

‘Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land God bless the U.S.A

Nothing. That’s what. Rock on at military tributes, Fourth of July celebrations, and Hannity Freedom Concerts, Lee Greenwood!  

UPDATE: From a reader; this is constructive criticism: 

“God Bless the USA” is perhaps overly sentimental, but I can live with that. What has always bothered me about that song is the line “I won’t forget the men who died, who gave that right to me.” Although I am eternally grateful to the men and women who have given their lives and continue to put their lives on the line to defend our freedoms, they did not give me one single right. Jefferson got it right: we are endowed BY OUR CREATOR with certain unalienable rights. Those who serve valiantly do help preserve our freedoms but let us never forget the actual source of those rights.

And here’s more: 

Sorry, Kathryn, but there’s something very, very wrong with that song!  In the first line of the chorus (“And I’m proud to be an American where at least I know I’m free”), the subordinating conjunction “where” refers to “an American”—which is not a place.  That’s just terrible writing (and sloppy thinking), like saying “I hate living in Boston, who are all snobs.”  (And it’s not like that particular phrasing is necessary for the melody – “I’m proud to be an American, ‘cuz at least…” or even “I’m proud to live in America, where at least…” would work fine!)

I’m pretty sure the real reason conservatives have lost recent elections is that the grammar gods hate us for singing that stupid song.

And one more: 

Ms. Lopez, I was an active duty Air Force officer when that song came out, and it was played at about every event I attended at one base for several years.  I never had much of a problem with the words, but a couple of things always bugged me about it.

First, it was in a particularly sappy Nashville style which is pretty hard to listen to. 

Second, it struck me at the time as sort of a paean to false patriotism.  I had been in college (Syracuse AFROTC) when the hostages were grabbed in Tehran, and I remember the students at Syracuse talking about how they wanted to go over and kick butt.   Then a couple of months  month there was talk about reinstituting the draft, and lots of the same people changed their tune.  I guess that song  always made me think of those people – false patriots.  Big talk.

I realize the second point unfairly conflates two different things, but that song still always makes me grit my teeth.

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