Mudcat Café message #3214181 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #31521   Message #3214181
Posted By: Stringsinger
28-Aug-11 - 06:14 PM
Thread Name: American National Anthem
Subject: RE: American National Anthem
Joe, good for you! I am a pacifist and democratic socialist too and I feel as American as any other in this country. I second your emotion.

Our tradition of folk music grew up in the time of Popular Front in the U.S., folklorists,
musicians, getting interested in "people's"music, songs of the working-class, labor movement, agrarian music from Appalachia, African-America, pockets of ethnic communities from other countries and it all came of interest because of the Left wing, who endorsed it, nurtured it and gave it credence so that it could finally become used by institutions such as Mudcat.

The academics in music departments began to see its value as a result. The historians, anthropologists, ethnomusicologists and folklorists were made aware of the value of this expression of music principally because it was nurtured by the Left.

Alan Lomax, Pete Seeger, Ken Goldstein, Archie Green, Woody Guthrie, Bess Lomax Hawes, Josh White, Burl Ives, Leadbelly, Florence Reese, Hazel Dickens, and others regardless of how they ended up politically, they all got their start in the Left Wing Movement's embrace of American folk music.

And they weren't all Marxists or Communists, either.

Today, much of the Left has been co-opted by a gauzy "liberalism" and the songs that have content have been forsaken for a safe singer/songwriter genre, in mho. The "protest singer" has become corporatized, commercialized and trivialized.

A national anthem should be powerful enough to bring tears to the eyes when being sung as it is in other countries that have had to overcome oppression and dictatorship.
I think America the Beautiful, the other verses that are not generally sung, come close. It's significant that every school child all over the world pretty much knows
"This Land is Your Land".

Woody wrote "This Land" in reaction to Irving Berlin's "God Bless America". Berlin called his song at the time of its creation, a peace song. I don't think Berlin would have liked how it's being used today by these pseudo-patriotic political hacks.

A national anthem should show the struggle of America to achieve democracy through Civil Rights, Labor Unions, Women's Rights, Child labor rights, Free speech, Anti-war demonstrations and not a paean to military violence, munitions, and big monied corporate interests.

We don't need a contrived pop song such as "I'm proud to be an American" by Lee Greenwood. When I hear that song, I feel violated as an American.

Without bombs bursting in air which will keep the US from becoming the land of the free and the home of the brave, I hope that a national anthem will some day emerge and be sung by Americans as an authentic anthemic expression of true American values mentioned above.

There are a lot of songwriters out there today to make it happen.