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:
Weekend Edition
July 29, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Michael Hudson
Obama Said Hillary will Continue His Legacy and Indeed She Will!
Jeffrey St. Clair
She Stoops to Conquer: Notes From the Democratic Convention
Rob Urie
Long Live the Queen of Chaos
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
Evolution of Capitalism, Escalation of Imperialism
Margot Kidder
My Fellow Americans: We Are Fools
Phillip Kim et al.
Open Letter to Bernie Sanders from Former Campaign Staffers
Ralph Nader
Hillary’s Convention Con
Lewis Evans
Executing Children Won’t Save the Tiger or the Rhino
Vijay Prashad
The Iraq War: a Story of Deceit
Chris Odinet
It Wasn’t Just the Baton Rouge Police Who Killed Alton Sterling
Brian Cloughley
Could Trump be Good for Peace?
Patrick Timmons
Racism, Freedom of Expression and the Prohibition of Guns at Universities in Texas
Gary Leupp
The Coming Crisis in U.S.-Turkey Relations
Pepe Escobar
Is War Inevitable in the South China Sea?
Norman Pollack
Clinton Incorruptible: An Ideological Contrivance
Robert Fantina
The Time for Third Parties is Now!
Andre Vltchek
Like Trump, Hitler Also Liked His “Small People”
Serge Halimi
Provoking Russia
David Rovics
The Republicans and Democrats Have Now Switched Places
Andrew Stewart
Countering The Nader Baiter Mythology
Rev. William Alberts
“Law and Order:” Code words for White Lives Matter Most
Ron Jacobs
Something Besides Politics for Summer’s End
David Swanson
It’s Not the Economy, Stupid
Erwan Castel
A Faith that Lifts Barricades: The Ukraine Government Bows and the Ultra-Nationalists are Furious
Steve Horn
Did Industry Ties Lead Democratic Party Platform Committee to Nix Fracking Ban?
Robert Fisk
How to Understand the Beheading of a French Priest
Colin Todhunter
Sugar-Coated Lies: How The Food Lobby Destroys Health In The EU
Franklin Lamb
“Don’t Cry For Us Syria … The Truth is We Shall Never Leave You!”
Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin
The Artistic Representation of War and Peace, Politics and the Global Crisis
Frederick B. Hudson
Well Fed, Bill?
Harvey Wasserman
NY Times Pushes Nukes While Claiming Renewables Fail to Fight Climate Change
Elliot Sperber
Pseudo-Democracy, Reparations, and Actual Democracy
Uri Avnery
The Orange Man: Trump and the Middle East
Marjorie Cohn
The Content of Trump’s Character
Missy Comley Beattie
Pick Your Poison
Kathleen Wallace
Feel the About Turn
Joseph Grosso
Serving The Grid: Urban Planning in New York
John Repp
Real Cooperation with Nations Is the Best Survival Tactic
Binoy Kampmark
The Scourge of Youth Detention: The Northern Territory, Torture, and Australia’s Detention Disease
Kim Nicolini
Rain the Color Blue with a Little Red In It
Cesar Chelala
Gang Violence Rages Across Central America
Tom H. Hastings
Africa/America
Robert Koehler
Slavery, War and Presidential Politics
Charles R. Larson
Review: B. George’s “The Death of Rex Ndongo”
July 28, 2016
Paul Street
Politician Speak at the DNC
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail