Abuse of Leftist songs by US Rightist politicians


This music video is of Woody Guthrie, This land is your land.

By Nicole Colson in the USA:

Sing a song of hypocrisy

March 28, 2008

DO THE political candidates pick the songs that fit them? …

Some are, of course, very fine songs in their own right. But you have to wonder if the candidates have ever bothered to actually listen to them. Whose “country,” for example, does John McCain think famously left-leaning rocker John Mellencamp is referring to in “Our Country”?

“That poverty could be just another ugly thing/And bigotry would be seen only as obscene/And the ones that run this land help the poor and common man/This is our country” run the lyrics–hardly in step with the campaign of a man who, in the course of recent months, has backed George W. Bush’s veto of a bill outlawing torture of detainees and said that the U.S. might stay in Iraq for the next “100 or 1,000 or 10,000 years.”

To his credit, Mellencamp pulled the plug on McCain‘s use of his music in February. As Mellencamp’s spokesperson, Bob Merlis, commented to the Associated Press, “You know, here’s a guy running around saying, ‘I’m a true conservative.’ Well, if you’re such a true conservative, why are you playing songs that have a very populist pro-labor message written by a guy who would find no argument if you characterized him as left of center?”

In a similar incident, guitarist Tom Scholz of the band Boston told Mike Huckabee to cease and desist using “More Than a Feeling.” Scholz wrote that “Boston has never endorsed a political candidate, and with all due respect, would not start by endorsing a candidate who is the polar opposite of most everything Boston stands for…I think I’ve been ripped off, dude!”

McCain is hardly the first Republican to appropriate the work of left-wing musicians in an attempt to add luster to his campaign. George Bush Sr., for example, was somehow able to get away with using “This Land Is Your Land“–a searing indictment of inequality in America penned by socialist Woody Guthrie–as his campaign song in 1988.

It’s a good bet that Bush left out the verse that goes: “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?”

5 thoughts on “Abuse of Leftist songs by US Rightist politicians

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