A song that’s been played over speakers at hundreds of campaign rallies, vibrated in the space between drinks at everyone’s favorite bar and set millions of heads nodding from radio stations coast to coast — a piece of music that is literally stitched into the fabric of American blue-collar culture, Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA” — is, according to right-wing pundit Glenn Beck, “anti-American” and “propaganda” that people must “wake up” from.
If you’re unfamiliar, need a refresher or simply like good music, give it a listen:
The lyrics are available here.
“Born down in a dead man’s town,” the Fox News personality said during his Thursday radio broadcast, quoting Springsteen’s lyrics. “The first kick I took was when I hit the ground. You end up like a dog that’s been beat too much. ‘Til you spend half your life just covering up.
“Born, in the USA.”
Beck continued like that, dryly reading Springsteen’s words, almost as if he were imitating William Shatner.
“Born in the USA” is, of course, about a working class guy with a factory job who ends up in Vietnam, to “kill the yellow man.” One of his friends dies in the war, leaving behind a baby in Saigon. When he comes home he works hard for 10 years in the “shadow of the penitentiary,” but still has “nowhere to run.”
“I’m a cool rocking daddy in the USA,” Springsteen wails. “Born in the USA.”
Naturally, no summary could equate the emotion this tale conveys. It is the quintessential American script, an experience millions of poor and working-class people can relate to.
“That’s what it’s all about,” Beck said. “That’s what America’s all about, according to Springsteen. … It’s time for us to wake, wake up, out of our, um, dreamstate. Wake up out of the propaganda. The, you know, this is the thing that, people who come from the Soviet-bloc or Cuba, they’re all saying, ‘How do you guys not hear this? How do you not see this?’ Well, that’s ’cause we don’t ever expect it.”
The likely reason Beck is attacking someone far more talented than himself is because Springsteen has endorsed a number of Democrats, including President Obama. Springsteen even put on a show at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. He did the same for Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) near the end of the 2004 presidential campaign.