Bruce Springsteen to Tell America ‘This Land Was Made for You and Me’? (Updates)

Update III:

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band will give a free get-out-the-vote concert on Tuesday at 2 p.m. at the nTelos Wireless Pavilion in Charlottesville, in the swing state of Virginia.

Read more here.

===

Update II:

Unlike this author, Bill Clinton was born in the U.S.A. and he made that perfectly clear today when he appeared along with legendary Bruce Springsteen at a rally for Obama in Parma, Ohio, today.

Warming-up for Springsteen, Clinton said, “I was born in the U.S.A. and unlike one of the candidates, I keep all my money here,” referring to Springsteen’s famous song and Romney’s foreign bank accounts.

After being introduced by Clinton as “one of the coolest dudes I’ve met,” Springsteen said, “I get to speak after President Clinton. It’s like following Elvis.”

According to The Hill Springsteen then cut into the song “No Surrender” from his 1984 album Born in the U.S.A.

Read more here

==

Update I:

Wanted to update this with a message from Bruce Springsteen posted yesterday and first noted by SteveK.

“Dear Friends:

The election is coming up on all of us and we all have strong feelings about it. I’ve been getting asked a lot about where I stand, so for those who are interested, here goes.

This presidential election is different than the last one because President Obama has a four year record to run on. Last time around, he carried with him a tremendous amount of hope and expectations. Unfortunately, due to the economic chaos the previous administration left him with, and the extraordinary intensity of the opposition, it turned into a really rough ride. But through grit, determination, and focus, the President has been able to do a great many things that many of us deeply support.

Domestically, that record includes working to increase and expand employment for all, protecting our all important social safety net, passing guaranteed health care for most of our citizens, with important new protections for all of the insured, rescuing the auto industry and so many of the American jobs that go with it, protecting and enhancing the rights of women, and bringing us closer to full acceptance of our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters.
In foreign affairs, that record includes following through on the removal of troops from the misguided and deceptive war in Iraq, and vigorously pursuing our real foreign enemies, especially the killing of Osama Bin Laden.

Right now the opposition’s resort to voter suppression in so many states is not receiving as much attention as it deserves. I believe that all of us, of whatever views, should be opposing these anti-voter, anti-citizen efforts.
Right now, for the President to be effective in his next term he needs our increased support and he needs support in the Congress, where some sterling candidates, such as current Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, challenger Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts, and so many others, are fighting to make their constructive voices heard.

Right now, there is an ever increasing division of wealth in this country, with the benefits going more and more to the 1 percent. For me, President Obama is our best choice to begin to reverse this harmful development.
Right now, there is a fight going on to help make this a fairer and more equitable nation. For me, President Obama is our best choice to get us and keep us moving in the right direction.

Right now, we need a President who has a vision that includes all of our citizens, not just some, whether they are our devastated poor, our pressured middle class, and yes, the wealthy too; whether they are male or female, black, white, brown, or yellow, straight or gay, civilian or military.

Right now, there is a choice going on in America, and I’m happy that we live in a country where we all participate in that process. For me, President Obama is our best choice because he has a vision of the United States as a place where we are all in this together. We’re still living through very hard times but justice, equality and real freedom are not always a tide rushing in. They are more often a slow march, inch by inch, day after long day. I believe President Obama feels these days in his bones and has the strength to live them with us and to lead us to a country “…where no one crowds you and no one goes it alone.”

That’s why I plan to be in Ohio and Iowa supporting the re-election of President Obama to lead our country for the next four years.

Bruce Springsteen”

===

Original Post:

This land is your land
This land is my land
From California
To the New York island
From the Redwood Forest
To the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and me

These are some of the lyrics of that hauntingly beautiful Woody Guthrie song often sung by Bruce Springtsteen, “This Land Is Your Land.”

For some reason, every time I listen to the open, inviting, inclusive verses of this truly American song — that ribbon highway, the endless sky, the golden valley, the sparkling sands, her diamond deserts — always ending with “this land was made for you and me,” I get a lump in my throat.

Perhaps it is because I realize that this is the land I chose to be my homeland some 55 years ago when, as a wide-eyed, 17-year old youngster, I immigrated to America, and never looked back.

Perhaps it is because, ever since then, Americans have shown to me by thought, word and deed — by sharing with me the greatness, generosity and opportunity that this country and its people have to offer — the true meaning of the words “this land was made for you and me.”

Perhaps it is because this land has been “for me” and “my country” in every respect of those words — until recently.

Until recently, because that beautiful song also evokes memories of political campaigns, where righteous Republican candidates, Real Americans, standing tall and proud in front of rows of giant American flags have been promising in soaring oratory to “take our country back.”

I am happy to admit that talk of “real Americans” (Republicans) vs. “fake Americans” (Democrats) and of “taking our country back” has been on the decline — perhaps because the likes of Palin, Bachmann, Santorum and others have been out of the limelight.

But not always and not everywhere.

Less than two months ago, at the Republican National Convention, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie proudly and defiantly announced that Republicans “are taking our country back.”

I have asked before, “Take our country back”? From whom? From the nearly 100 million Americans who were born and raised in this country, who love America even more, if that’s possible, than this 72-year-old naturalized geezer?

From those 100 million Americans whose only “disqualifying” flaw might be that they happen to be Democrats?

Does that mean that the United States of America, the great country to where I immigrated — a country I thought had adopted me — really hasn’t been “my country” all or some of those years?

However, since I am not a “true,” natural-born American — although I have served my adopted country in our Armed Forces honorably and “meritoriously” for 20 years — I might not be the right person to speak with authority about this or to feel offended by such jingoism.

Therefore, I will quote not only a real, real American who, a few months ago, addressed the GOP clarion call from a different perspective:

One of the battle cries of the far right is this: ‘We want to take our country back.’ Maybe you dismissed that as meaning, back from the Democrats. But you notice, they do not say, ‘we want to take our government back.’ They say… ‘our country.’

And based on the evidence pouring out of state legislatures, that is what the Republican revolution of 2010 has set out to do — take the country back — back in time. Back to those golden days before civil rights and gender equality. It was so much easier back then, wasn’t it?

This real American is none other than former Governor of Michigan, Jennifer M. Granholm.

For more of her remarks on going back to the “bad old days with our Republican friends,” on rolling back workers’ rights, on rolling back voting access and — for women — on going back to the ” black-and-white, ’50s era mindset” where the “sexual McCarthyites hear the words ‘contraception,’ ‘women’s health’ and ‘Planned Parenthood’ as ‘abortion,” please click here.

Bruce Springsteen will appear alongside Bill Clinton at an Obama campaign rally in Parma, Ohio on Thursday, October 18 and, that same day, at another rally in Ames, Iowa.

Jim Messina, Obama for America’s campaign manager, said in a statement:

Bruce Springsteen’s values echo what the President and Vice President stand for: hard work, fairness, integrity. His appearances will help with our get out the vote effort in these critical swing states and we are thrilled with his ongoing support.

All good and well, as long as Springsteen sings his heart out to convince all Americans that “This land was made for you and me.”

Northfoto / Shutterstock.com“>Photo Bruce Springsteen via shuttertock.com

Author: DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

20 Comments

  1. This land is your land… Bruce Springsteen – 1985

    Just Pass It On…

  2. The one thing that bothers me more about the “we need to take our country back” thing is that for the life of me, I can’t think of a truly simple, effective way to counter it.

    Of course it is a false notion. There is nothing in the Constitution which designates the Republican Party or even conservatism as the official “American” position. Hell, the GOP didn’t even exist back then.

    Yet this very powerful meme – that America is a Special Christian Nation meant to be run by conservatives with only a small, ineffective, feckless liberal opposition at the other end – has gripped about half the country in a way that seems utterly impervious to reason.

    It is so powerful that even veterans, who are usually sacrosanct among the right wingers, are open to not only having their service dismissed out of hand, but publicly denigrated if they dare to express Democratic tendencies. Max Cleland. Tammy Duckworth. John Kerry.

    I have no doubt whatsoever that if you, Dorian, ran for national office, your military record would be dug up, twisted, and quite possibly even used against you.

    How does one combat such thinking, or lack thereof? I wish I knew.

  3. Near as I can tell the phrase is tailored to appeal to the paranoid and ignorant. Some of them get pretty lathered up when they hear it too. Pretty sad all in all.

  4. Mitt Romney threw 47% of Americans under the bus!

    “I don’t live in a country that’s dependent or declining. There is no – give up

    anywhere in America.” -VP Joe Biden

    Hang On Sloopy!

    http://youtu.be/5oPiBSktp6M

    Obama/Biden 2012

  5. Thanks all for your comments.

    @cjjack:

    “How does one combat such thinking, or lack thereof? I wish I knew.”

    You are right, it is a very twisted but powerful idea — no, ideology — but one that we can beat, must beat, this November.

  6. …and, Steve, special thanks for those videos. (I never know when one can post them on media such as this)

  7. Talking about ideology, cjjack, this is an interesting read this morning in that evil NYT that tells us that despite what Mitt Romney says, the lack of health insurance does kill people.

  8. Please consider that the phrase ‘take our country back’ might mean (for some), the need to take back CONTROL of the country from the small group of people (The President and his administration) that are clearly moving many aspects of the country in the wrong direction.

    Some would like to take back the country from those that are responsible for black unemployment increasing to 13.4 percent while the unemployment rate for Black teens stands at a shocking 36.7 percent, and a quarter of Black families are in poverty.

    Some would like to take back the country from those that are responsible for standing in the way of the Keystone pipeline and domestic energy production, but at the same time spending billions of taxpayer dollars subsidizing Solyndra and on clean energy stimulus projects, some of which sent jobs overseas.

    Some would like to take back the country from those that are responsible for planning to cut $716 billion from Medicare

    Some would like to take back the country from those that are responsible for raising our taxes 21 times. In a second term, this small group will raise taxes by another $2 trillion.

    Some would like to take back the country from those that are responsible for the number of food-stamp recipients jumping 46 percent

    Some would like to take back the country from those that are responsible for promising unemployment would be 6 percent by now.

    Some would like to take back the country from those that are responsible for an overall poverty rate climbing 14.3 percent to 46.2 million people.

    Having heard Bruce sing ‘This Land’ in person in 1985, I truly believe, if the current administration was responsible for the list of items above (and Republican), he would want to take the country back too.

  9. Some would like to take back the country from those that are responsible for standing in the way of the Keystone pipeline and domestic energy production, but at the same time spending billions of taxpayer dollars subsidizing Solyndra and on clean energy stimulus projects, some of which sent jobs overseas.

    Bruce is a hardcore Democrat, don’t think he has one once of Teabagger in him. Mittens has Kid rock and Nuggent(crazy).

    Energy production is up under Obamama, even with the Kenyan’s socialist ways.
    http://www.fool.com/investing/.....nergy.aspx

  10. foneguy2 says: Some would like to take back the country from those that are responsible for black unemployment increasing to 13.4 percent while the unemployment rate for Black teens stands at a shocking 36.7 percent, and a quarter of Black families are in poverty.
    .
    [...]

    I hear you foneguy2 and I hope you’ll join me in encouraging everyone you know to vote out the do-nothing Republican Congress.

    It’s the Republicans in congress, not the President, that are holding OUR country back.

    Unemployment / Jobs – The Republican majority in Congress has refused to allow the Presidents Jobs Bill to be brought to the floor for a vote and they have not brought a reasonable one of their own in it’s place.

    Keystone pipeline and domestic energy production – Again it’s Congress, not the President, that passes laws and bills… Yet another disproved talking point.

    cut $716 billion from Medicare – This is a proven lie but Republican talking points rarely let that stand in the way… If memory serves P. Ryan is actually proposing cutting $716 billion from Medicare so hopefully he will be voted out of the Lower House and sent packing.

    The rest of foneguy2 ‘examples’ are nothing but boilerplate GOP talking points.

    Having heard Bruce sing ‘This Land’ in person in 1985, I truly believe, if the current administration was responsible for the list of items above (and Republican), he would want to take the country back too.

    Well, since Bruce Springsteen is out stumping for President Obama and working on getting out the vote the current administration must NOT “be responsible for the list of items above…”

  11. Hi foneguy,

    First, thanks for your comments and welcome to TMV.

    You are right, one interpretation that has been given by some to the ‘take our country back’ cry is that it might mean, as you say, to take back control from the present administration.

    But, many others agree with, for example, what the former Governor of Michigan, Jennifer M. Granholm, says.

    First, she says,

    “‘We want to take our country back.’ Maybe you dismissed that as meaning, back from the Democrats. But you notice, they do not say, ‘we want to take our government back.’ They say… ‘our country.’”

    And she continues, “… that is what the Republican revolution of 2010 has set out to do — take the country back — back in time. Back to those golden days before civil rights and gender equality,” of rolling back voting access and — for women — ongoing back to the” black-and-white, ’50s era mindset” where the “sexual McCarthyites hear the words ‘contraception,’ ‘women’s health’ and ‘Planned Parenthood’ as ‘abortion,’ etc.

    But setting that aside, you provide a litany of alleged wrongdoings by Democrats without offering a scintilla of proof and you totally ignore the big pile of economic crap this administration was left with by the previous one, including the astronomical costs of two wars “put on a credit card.”

    Most of the allegations you offer have already been disputed and dismissed ad nauseam by writers and commenters at this site. SteveK just did so very well in a comment above mine. I would recommend that you peruse through these pages and familiarize yourself with such.

    Anyway, thanks again and come back often.

  12. Thanks for the response Dorian.

    I use an RSS reader for news like many and as a Springsteen fan, I have ‘Springsteen’ as a search word in my reader and that’s how I stumbled on your blog/article. I also read The Daily Beast occasionally and the August Newsweek article ‘Obama’s Gotta Go’ also shows up – so that’s where most if not all of the info I posted came from.

    I just don’t agree that the (private sector) economy is ‘just fine’ and do think that the president (any president) should be accountable for at least some of the country’s ‘health’ – especially 3.5 years in to the term.

    It is the President’s job to work with Congress (and Congress with the President) and figure out a way to get things done – not just complain you’re being blocked by congress.

    The VP approved the 2 large credit card charges but you would never hear the line ‘I should have never voted to pay for those wars on a credit card’ coming from VP JB.

    I guess I should have added one more: “Some would like to take back the country from those that never taking responsibility for anything.’

    Dorian – I did ‘peruse’ the pages, looking for ‘centrists, independents and moderates’ but unfortunately the feel throughout (including SteveK’s response above) is: ‘If the other side would get out of the way so we can implement our policies unchecked, we could fix everything they screwed up’ – This is the same feel a very right-wing sight has too and in neither case is ‘centrist’.

    SteveK – my point was – Bruce is a democrat and is supporting The President first and foremost because he is a democrat. He always has and always will support the democratic candidate – you might even say Bruce has ‘blind faith’ in his democratic leader(s).

  13. foneguy,

    Thanks for your follow-up.

    I still disagree with your opinions, but I respect them, and I’ll leave it at that.

    As to this site, I do believe that you’ll find “centrists, independents and moderates” and Conservatives, especially among the commenters.

  14. Thanks again. Agree to disagree :)

    Sorry for messing up that link to the story in my last post. If I could edit/fix it, I would.

  15. foneguys the word you put in big caps–”CONTROL” is most interesting.

    ” Please consider that the phrase ‘take our country back’ might mean (for some), the need to take back CONTROL of the country from the small group of people (The President and his administration) that are clearly moving many aspects of the country in the wrong direction. ”

    Now would you consider there might be a greater need to take back “CONTROL” from the likes of Norquist and Koch Brothers that require a pledge before campaign funds are given? ….and also part of the contact of exchange is the politicians will not negotiate or compromise the will of these men…these men turn politicians into sock monkeys…

  16. This is from the home page of http://brucespringsteen.net/, The Official Bruce Springsteen Website.
    October 17, 2012
    A message from Bruce

    Dear Friends:

    The election is coming up on all of us and we all have strong feelings about it. I’ve been getting asked a lot about where I stand, so for those who are interested, here goes.

    This presidential election is different than the last one because President Obama has a four year record to run on. Last time around, he carried with him a tremendous amount of hope and expectations. Unfortunately, due to the economic chaos the previous administration left him with, and the extraordinary intensity of the opposition, it turned into a really rough ride. But through grit, determination, and focus, the President has been able to do a great many things that many of us deeply support.

    Domestically, that record includes working to increase and expand employment for all, protecting our all important social safety net, passing guaranteed health care for most of our citizens, with important new protections for all of the insured, rescuing the auto industry and so many of the American jobs that go with it, protecting and enhancing the rights of women, and bringing us closer to full acceptance of our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters.

    In foreign affairs, that record includes following through on the removal of troops from the misguided and deceptive war in Iraq, and vigorously pursuing our real foreign enemies, especially the killing of Osama Bin Laden.

    Right now the opposition’s resort to voter suppression in so many states is not receiving as much attention as it deserves. I believe that all of us, of whatever views, should be opposing these anti-voter, anti-citizen efforts.

    Right now, for the President to be effective in his next term he needs our increased support and he needs support in the Congress, where some sterling candidates, such as current Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, challenger Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts, and so many others, are fighting to make their constructive voices heard.

    Right now, there is an ever increasing division of wealth in this country, with the benefits going more and more to the 1 percent. For me, President Obama is our best choice to begin to reverse this harmful development.

    Right now, there is a fight going on to help make this a fairer and more equitable nation. For me, President Obama is our best choice to get us and keep us moving in the right direction.

    Right now, we need a President who has a vision that includes all of our citizens, not just some, whether they are our devastated poor, our pressured middle class, and yes, the wealthy too; whether they are male or female, black, white, brown, or yellow, straight or gay, civilian or military.

    Right now, there is a choice going on in America, and I’m happy that we live in a country where we all participate in that process. For me, President Obama is our best choice because he has a vision of the United States as a place where we are all in this together. We’re still living through very hard times but justice, equality and real freedom are not always a tide rushing in. They are more often a slow march, inch by inch, day after long day. I believe President Obama feels these days in his bones and has the strength to live them with us and to lead us to a country “…where no one crowds you and no one goes it alone.”

    That’s why I plan to be in Ohio and Iowa supporting the re-election of President Obama to lead our country for the next four years.

    Bruce Springsteen

  17. I know I’m way late to this thread, Dorian, but you may want to Google & read Woody’s original lyrics to “This Land is Your Land.” The full song, since editted down for grade school indoctrination exercises, is not as utopian as we, today, believe.

    Tom Morello has an awesome version that includes the blemishes.

  18. Thanks, Barky. Nice to see you comment.

    I like both “versions.” Of course Guthrie’s is a little more “to the point” and to the period.

    Also watched/listened to Morello’s Occupy Wall Street version.

    By the way, you have a great site.

    Take care

  19. Good to know, and thank you. :-)

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