FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

This Land

by MISSY COMLEY BEATTIE

When I was a kid, I loved singing those patriotic songs in music class. One, in particular, gave me goose bumps. These Irving Berlin lyrics, with their dramatic arrangement of notes, made me dizzy with pride:

God bless America, Land that I love.
Stand beside her and guide her
through the night with the light from above.
From the mountains to the prairies to the oceans white with foam
God bless America, my home sweet home.

Ignorance was not only blissful, it was pervasive–in our textbooks and curriculum. History books told happily ever after tales of generosity, goodness, and Manifest Destiny. Our country spread idealism, freedom, and democracy to territories and countries grateful to be recipients of such magnanimity. After all, these places were populated by people incapable of self-government.

We had missions to accomplish, a desire to expand, and there were lands to occupy. Needs had to be met. But it was symbiotic. We required resources; they required leadership and our example of civilized behavior. The political power we attained couldn’t have been a motive; it was simply collateral advantage. Of course.

In high school, my son was required to read the true saga of this country, Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States. This was in New York City, though. I doubt Zinn’s book is the standard social studies text throughout our country. I wonder if students who’re taught, today, the saccharin-coated stories I learned are blissfully ignorant–like the females recently polled who said they’d much rather be America’s Next Top Model than winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.

For all our young who are painfully aware of this country’s obscene acts of aggression, imperialism, support for Zionism, and allegiance to
mega-corporations, I despair. And, now, they probably do, too. For they were misled by candidate Barack Obama who made promises to transform the United States of America. Instead, President Obama is embracing the same exploitive foreign policy of his predecessors, and he answers to Wall Street, not to us.

Obama is sinking his presidency and, along with it, the hope of a new generation of voters–all those galvanized by and desperate for a message of change.

It is a tragic truth that if Obama really had been a candidate who as president would deliver change, the party’s nomination wouldn’t have been his.

I wish I could sing patriotic songs with the childlike pride I once felt. I wish I had reason to. This would require a populist movement, organized and huge, to restore faith in government leadership that has for years failed to represent the people.

And, so, I think of another song, one by Woody Guthrie. Let’s dust it off and remember that only we can bring about change–the kind that doesn’t occur in the voting booth. March. Make noise. And demands. Sing loudly and in solidarity, because:

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.

Missy Beattie lives in New York City. She’s written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. An outspoken critic of the Bush Administration and the war in Iraq, she’s a member of Gold Star Families for Peace. She completed a novel last year, but since the death of her nephew, Marine Lance Cpl. Chase J. Comley, in Iraq on August 6,’05, she has been writing political articles. She can be reached at: Missybeat@aol.com

 

 

Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail: missybeat@gmail.com

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
December 03, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Dave Lindorff
Is Trump’s Idea To Fix the ‘Rigged System’ by Appointing Crooks Who’ve Played It?
Weekend Edition
December 02, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: The CIA’s Plots to Kill Castro
Paul Street
The Iron Heel at Home: Force Matters
Pam Martens - Russ Martens
Timberg’s Tale: Washington Post Reporter Spreads Blacklist of Independent Journalist Sites
Andrew Levine
Must We Now Rethink the Hillary Question? Absolutely, Not
Joshua Frank
CounterPunch as Russian Propagandists: the Washington Post’s Shallow Smear
David Rosen
The Return of HUAC?
Rob Urie
Race and Class in Trump’s America
Patrick Cockburn
Why Everything You’ve Read About Syria and Iraq Could be Wrong
Caroline Hurley
Anatomy of a Nationalist
Ayesha Khan
A Muslim Woman’s Reflections on Trump’s Misogyny
Michael Hudson – Steve Keen
Rebel Economists on the Historical Path to a Global Recovery
Russell Mokhiber
Sanders Single Payer and Death by Democrat
Roger Harris
The Triumph of Trump and the Specter of Fascism
Steve Horn
Donald Trump’s Swamp: Meet Ten Potential Energy and Climate Cabinet Picks and the Pickers
Louis Proyect
Deepening Contradictions: Identity Politics and Steelworkers
Ralph Nader
Trump and His Betraying Makeover
Stephen Kimber
The Media’s Abysmal Coverage of Castro’s Death
Dan Bacher
WSPA: The West’s Most Powerful Corporate Lobbying Group
Nile Bowie
Will Trump backpedal on the Trans-Pacific Partnership?
Ron Ridenour
Fidel’s Death Brings Forth Great and Sad Memories
Missy Comley Beattie
By Invitation Only
Fred Gardner
Sword of Damocles: Pot Partisans Fear Trump’s DOJ
Renee Parsons
Obama and Propornot
Dean Baker
Cash and Carrier: Trump and Pence Put on a Show
Jack Rasmus
Taming Trump: From Faux Left to Faux Right Populism
Ron Jacobs
Selling Racism—A Lesson From Pretoria
Julian Vigo
The Hijos of Buenos Aires:  When Identity is Political
Matthew Vernon Whalan
Obama’s Legacy
Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano
By Way of Prologue: On How We Arrived at the Watchtower and What We Saw from There
Aidan O'Brien
Fidel and Spain: A Tale of Right and Wrong
Carol Dansereau
Stop Groveling! How to Thwart Trump and Save the World
Kim Nicolini
Moonlight, The Movie
Evan Jones
Behind GE’s Takeover of Alstom Energy
James A Haught
White Evangelicals are Fading, Powerful, Baffling
Barbara Moroncini
Protests and Their Others
Christopher Brauchli
Parallel Lives: Trump and Temer
Joseph Natoli
The Winds at Their Backs
Cesar Chelala
Poverty is Not Only an Ignored Word
David Swanson
75 Years of Pearl Harbor Lies
Alex Jensen
The Great Deceleration
Nyla Ali Khan
When Faith is the Legacy of One’s Upbringing
Gilbert Mercier
Trump Win: Paradigm Shift or Status Quo?
Stephen Martin
From ‘Too Big to Fail’ to ‘Too Big to Lie’: the End Game of Corporatist Globalization.
Charles R. Larson
Review: Emma Jane Kirby’s “The Optician of Lampedusa”
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail