This land was made…

I’ve always thought that Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land” would make a much better national anthem than the overtly militaristic “Star-Spangled Banner”. Besides the fact that it’s notoriously difficult to sing, the song is dreadfully dull and – as stated – war-centric.

“This Land Is Your Land” is way better on all counts.  It’s a peaceful song, declaring the greatness of the land we call home.  It’s a truly democratic song; anyone can sing it.  Now that’s American.  And it’s downright bouncy.  Do you want an anthem you can march to or one that you can dance to?

Can you imagine singing it before a baseball game?  Instead of the applause beginning several measures before the end of the song, done so mainly to encourage the song to end sooner, rhythmic clapping would begin a few measures into the song out of sheer exuberance.  The game could be delayed as the clapping and singing continue.

It’s a song that sticks in your head.  No one has the SSB tune running through his head.  As Albert Brooks opined many years ago, “Nobody sings it on the way to work anymore.”

One last thought: For the conservatives who bemoan the supposed liberal nature of the song – I’m not sure about that, although its author certainly would fit the description – keep in mind that the lyric says “This land was made for you and me.”  (Italics mine.  Is that necessary?  Does anyone really think Mr. Guthrie put italics in his song?)  Yes, the land, if you choose to think as I do, was ordained by God to be a refuge for those that Emma Lazarus dubbed the “huddled masses yearning to breath free”.

America is the home of a nation of people who allow and (usually) even encourage freedom of religion, press, thought, speech, and a whole bunch of other good things.  Let’s celebrate that the way it should be celebrated, with a song of humble joy and gratitude, not one of bombs and self-congratulations.

Thus, you have my vote to change the national anthem to this:

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.

As I went walking that ribbon of highway
I saw above me that endless skyway
I saw below me that golden valley
This land was made for you and me.

I roamed and I rambled and I followed my footsteps
To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts
While all around me a voice was sounding
This land was made for you and me.

When the sun came shining, and I was strolling
And the wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling
A voice was chanting, As the fog was lifting,
This land was made for you and me.

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.

Happy 4th of July, Woody, Arlo, and everyone else!

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About rickconti

It's not about me, remember?
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