In a perfect embodiment of the vapidity of Glenn Beck’s tea party movement that is infesting the National Mall today, we see in this morning’s Washington Post that Bruce Springsteen’s iconic war protest song "Born in the USA" is once again being misused and abused. The sentiments embodied in Springsteen’s song are directly in opposition to everything Beck and his movement represent.
Here is the Post, in its story about Beck’s rally:
Garlikov was among a rapidly growing crowd of activists milling on the Mall, from the foot of the Washington Monument to the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, as dusk approached Friday. Bruce Springsteen’s "Born in the U.S.A." blasted from an enormous sound system across the reflecting pool. Vendors sold rally-themed T-shirts and buttons.
Note again that Beck is claiming that his rally is to "restore honor" to America and that "proceeds" of the rally will go to his Special Operations Warrior Foundation. It would appear that one object of the rally for Beck is to glorify war and to praise the Special Operations forces who have been at the heart of the most outrageous actions by our troops that are fueling anti-American sentiment around the world. (For background on the horrible record of Special Operations forces, read Jeremy Scahill or Google my name along with "Stanley McChrystal").
So, the mental giants that make up Beck’s movement think that in Springsteen’s song they have found the ultimate mericun anthem. They feel it both glorifies war and it proclaims the superiority of being born in the USA. Take a minute to read the lyrics on their own, and then listen to Springsteen while watching the lyrics scroll past:
Clearly, Springsteen is not glorifying war. He is pointing out the horrible intersection of war waged by the ruling political class with the lives of the individuals who have rifles thrust into their hands with instructions to go kill the "other". The "other" today is brown, rather than yellow, but beyond that little has changed since Vietnam. Furthermore, Springsteen is pointing out the horrible fate of those soldiers who are "lucky" enough to return home from these wars. There are no economic opportunities for them, and Springsteen captures that desperation perfectly.
Today’s news has a tragic reminder of how that hopelessness plays out.
Beck’s rally today will glorify killing brown people while claiming to raise money for the education of the children of soldiers killed in action. But, the Washington Post points out an important point:
A footnote on the rally’s Web page explains that donations will go first toward the cost of the event.
One wonders just how much money Beck himself and headliner Sarah Palin will be paid from these "proceeds" before the scholarships are funded. Somehow, I suspect that very little money will be left over after "expenses".