What America Can Be

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

During the Great Depression, Woody Guthrie traveled across America and saw the injustice, poverty, and despair of a nation suffering the consequences of Republican misrule.  In the city square, in the shadow of the steeple, by the relief office he saw his people.  They were hungry, out of work, out of hope.  But he never stopped hoping that someday, for their sake, for the sake of their children and grandchildren, America would become a land of economic and social justice.

As he was walking that ribbon of highway,

He saw what America was, but he also saw what America can be.

He saw above him that endless skyway,

He saw below him, that golden valley,

He never lost his faith that this land was made for you and me,

and wrote an anthem that still touches the heart of every American who hears it . . .

 

Woody Guthrie roamed and rambled, and followed his footsteps,

To the sparkling sands of America’s diamond deserts.

He saw suffering, but he also saw that a brighter future was possible.

He wasn’t alone, he was never alone, the voice in his heart spoke to him,

the voices of our Founding Fathers reminded him that this land was made

for us, for you and me, for We the People . . .

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Woody Guthrie was bound for glory.

His story is our story.  His anthem is our anthem.

His land is our land.  His cause is our cause.

He told the truth because someone had to.

He told it as the sun was shining, as he was strolling,

Through the wheat fields waving, and the dust clouds rolling,

As the fog was lifting, his voice was singing

This land was made for you and me.  

Woody Guthrie Pictures, Images and Photos

He was a vagabond, a pilgrim, a singer of songs and a speaker of truth.  He believed in what America can be, he never stopped believing in what America can be.  He knew the wealthy and the powerful always try to silence the voices of the poor and the powerless, they’ve always tried to silence any voice that dares demand economic and social justice.  But they didn’t silence Woody Guthrie, they still haven’t silenced him.  His anthem was heard by 500,000 people on the National Mall, and by millions more on national television, Pete Seeger and Bruce Springsteen sang it, they sang every word of it, and I hope the head of every wingnut from Idaho to Alabama exploded when they heard this part . . .    

There was a great high wall there, that tried to stop me

And a great big sign that said “Private Property”

On the other side, it didn’t say nothing

That side was made for you and me

Damn right it was.  

On the eve of another Republican inflicted Great Depression, what do we see?  We see the same things Woody Guthrie saw, we see those great high walls.  Walls of greed, walls of deceit, walls of propaganda and war profiteering and corporate crime.  We see great big signs proclaiming the power of greed.  Exxon/Mobil.  Citigroup.  Goldman Sachs.  Bank of America.  Halliburton.  The corporate masters of America have the same agenda they had in Woody’s day, the same reckless greed.  The consequences of their crimes are the same, the consequences of their crimes are always the same . . .  

In the city square, in the shadow of the steeple

By the relief office, I saw my people . . .  

As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking

Is this land made for you and me?

Is it, President Obama?  

You’ve talked the talk.  It’s time for you to walk the walk.  

It’s time for all of us to walk the walk. Beginning today, we have a chance to change America, to be the change this country needs.  

It won’t be easy.  We know there are great high walls standing between us and the brighter future we seek.  Those walls have always been there.  They were there in Woody Guthrie’s day and they’re still there.

It’s time to turn those walls of greed and injustice into rubble.  It’s long past time.

Because this land is your land, this land is my land,

from California, to the New York islands,

From the redwood forests, to the Gulf Stream waters

This land was made for you and me.

The voices of progressives must be heard now more than ever before, because too many people still live in the shadow of the steeple, in the shadow of the mosque, in the shadow of the synagogue.  Too many innocents have died because too many lunatics keep using religion as a weapon, keep using patriotism as an excuse for conquest, keep believing that war will bring peace.

It doesn’t bring peace.  

It never has.  

It’s time for us to walk that ribbon of highway towards peace and justice. We know what America is, but we also know what America can be, what it should be, what it was always meant to be.  If we never lose our faith in ourselves, if we keep believing a brighter future is possible, together we can write a progressive anthem that will touch the heart of every American who hears it, and the only Republicans anyone will ever have to look at again will be stuffed ones in the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.

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5 comments

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    • Edger on January 20, 2009 at 5:59 pm

    he’s trying to walk the walk… 🙂

    Good to see you here, Rusty!

  1. But today, hopes are high for progress.  I hope that the new Administration makes much progress toward peace and reconciliation at home and abroad; toward accountability, responsibility, justice; toward health care access, toward equality, and toward prosperity for all people in this nation.  

    That’s a pretty tough agenda, considering that the McConnells, Boehners, etc are still determined to put up roadblocks every step of the way.  

    At this point, I’ll hope for small steps forward–after having seen 8 years of giant leaps backward–but at the same time, I’ll work for giant leaps forward.

    It’s very good to see you here today Rusty.

  2. for the day! Thanks, good to hear you here. Quite an eloquent writ. The fact that Woody’s national anthem was sung intact with the so called subversive verses is a good omen. This is one walk I know we can all do. The spirit called humanism that has been so long maligned is going to flourish and yes we can do this! As Obama said the documents of our forbarers will carry us forward and we really can do it! It is up to us! Yell Louder!          

  3. Of course when you try to walk with the whole world on your shoulders, it’s not a very funky walk, is it?

    Good to see you, man.

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