Neil Young to Donald Trump: This note is NOT for you!
From Mother Jones by David Corn:
When Donald Trump strode on to the stage at Trump Tower on Tuesday to announce that he would enter the Republican race for president, a rock and roll anthem blared: Neil Young’s "Rockin’ in the Free World." It was an odd choice, given that the 1989 song seemed to slam a Republican administration for not giving a damn about the poor. And Young has taken exception to Trump's appropriation of his tune. A statement issued to Mother Jones for Young by his longtime manager Elliot Roberts suggests Young was not pleased by Trump's use of the song:Not since Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA" has a song been so misunderstood and misappropriated. Not that Neil wouldn't appreciate the irony.
"Donald Trump was not authorized to use "Rockin' In The Free World" in his presidential candidacy announcement. Neil Young, a Canadian citizen, is a supporter of Bernie Sanders for President of the United States of America."
From Neil Young Lyrics Analysis | "Rockin' In The Free World":
The newspaper USA Today has called the song:
- "a savage attack on the policies of Ronald Reagan and the first President Bush ... (and) anything but a celebration of democracy."
On the contrary, a strong case can be made that the song is NOT "anything but a celebration of democracy." In fact, an argument can be made that the song is very pro-democracy and is a protest song that has advanced the argument about inequities in society. The song is clearly the work of someone who could be called a courageous patriot.
The song's lyrics contain the lines:
- We got a thousand points of light For the homeless man We got a kinder, gentler, Machine gun hand
The lyrics are a direct reference to President George Bush's (#41) campaign pledge to create a compassionate citizenry volunteering to help cope with society's ills. The "thousand points of light" symbolize the American citizen's spirit and a shining example of giving selflessly to care for one another's neighbor and brother. Along with "a kinder, gentler hand", Bush believed that each American could contribute to helping make the United States -- and the world -- a better place to live and work.
The song is strongly democratic and with pro-American ideals in that it is a condemnation of the supply-side/trickle down politics of President Ronald Reagan. "Reaganomics" involved massive tax cuts in the wealthiest brackets which supporters claimed would trickle down to lower brackets. In fact, the policies led to huge federal deficits and exploding unemployment and social decay, particularly in large urban American cities.
The economic realities of the 1980's with increasing social problems -- such as homelessness and drug abuse -- made Young mock the campaign promises of President Bush as hollow rhetoric. The drug problems ("she's gonna take a hit") refer to the crack epidemic which swept large American cities during the 1980's.
The lyrics of "Rockin' In The Free World" also refer to the rampant consumerism of American culture and the rise of the disposable society based on waste and pollution.
- We got department stores and toilet paper Got styrofoam boxes for the ozone layer Got a man of the people, says keep hope alive Got fuel to burn, got roads to drive.
The lyrics "Got a man of the people, says keep hope alive" refer to the Reverend Jesse Jackson's signature phrase to "Keep hope alive." Young contrasts President Bush's rhetoric and Rev. Jackson's religion as solutions to society's ills, when in actuality, they are nothing more than "feel good" slogans with little results to show.
More at Neil Young Lyrics Analysis | "Rockin' In The Free World".
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