Patriotic

I hope that everyone had a great holiday yesterday for Independence Day. It was so nice to have some time together as a family (the three of us actually got a lot of time together over the weekend and it was lovely!) As always it was fun to walk to downtown Homewood and watch the fireworks. There were some snafus with the fireworks, but I still loved them.

The thing that hit me this morning is something I have seen over and over lately and it really puzzles me. In this strange political climate where nothing really makes much sense to me, this is probably the most puzzling thing of all. And that is saying a lot!

I don’t understand how some people think the way they do, but I understand we are each different. I am trying to keep an eye on important issues, while still trying to respect everyone’s right to their own opinion.

This morning I woke up to twitter post after twitter post about how unfair it was to our president that the Declaration of Independence was put out on social media yesterday.

I think back to the super bowl and how I heard rumblings about Lady Gaga being unpatriotic and harsh on the president because she sang “God Bless America” and “This Land is our Land” at the beginning of her halftime show.

“This Land is our Land” was written by Woody Guthrie in 1940 and recorded in 1944, it is hard to claim he was protesting someone who was not even born yet. Making a statement? Yes, he probably was doing that, but not about our current administration.

I think that if you believe Guthrie was dogging a man that didn’t exist yet, or you find fault with that song, you have to think about your motives, your sensitivity and your paranoia.

And today people are upset that the Declaration of Independence is there for all to see? That is unpatriotic somehow?

It has always been there to see. You just had to look. It is the document our country was founded on. They are the words we supposedly live by. Making them more easily available is not unpatriotic in any way I can see. To quote, share, and study the constitution and the declaration should be the most patriotic thing we can do.

If our president doesn’t want to read it, then we have a problem.

If we want to continue to live in a free land, then we have to be willing to actually read the Declaration, study the laws, listen to what is happening and take part in our government. Being on the sidelines, sticking our head in the sand (which ostriches don’t even really do!) and pretending we will be fine, merely because we are the “blessed” USA, is a recipe for disaster.

Think news is fake? Then do some of your own research and figure out the truth. Think politicians are all crooks? Become one and stay honest. Don’t like what you are seeing? Speak up and then vote.

And if you think that pointing out how our country was founded, where our strengths lie, how our freedoms are all that we have and what we must protect, is somehow unpatriotic, then I think you have a lot of studying to do.

There were a couple of verses written for this song that were not published or recorded. Although Guthrie was an activist, he also was a folk singer. He changed the title and the lyrics several times before it was recorded and then later published. ¬†Even though the rejected verses mention a wall and homelessness, again, they were not published and are almost never sung and were meant to comment on 1940’s America, not today. Guthrie died in 1967.

It is alarming to me though, how those same issues come up over and over again throughout history and we don’t seem to be able to solve them. We don’t even seem to remember that they have haunted us before. And therein lies a great reason to study history, do your research and try to be more aware of what is happening around you.

If you find the words to our Declaration of Independence or the folk song below offensive, or an affront to our country or government, then I think you have a lot of soul searching to do. And our government certainly needs the reminder.

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
And I went walking that ribbon of highway
And saw above me that endless skyway
I saw below me the golden valley
This land was made for you and me
I roamed and rambled and followed my footsteps
To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts
And all around me, a voice was sounding
This land was made for you and me
When the sun come shining, then I was strolling
In wheat fields waving and dust clouds rolling
The 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
Songwriter: Woody Guthrie

 

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Marietta is a graduate of the University of Montevallo with a BFA in musical theater. She has been performing for over 50 years on the stage and continues to perform, direct and teach. Marietta is married to Tim, has a son named Jon, and a cat named Penny.