This Land is Your Land

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Man, I love that iconic photo of Guthrie. The original lyrics to This Land is Your Land were written by Woody Guthrie on February 23rd, 1940.  It’s hard to believe now, but when I was in grade school, we used to sing this song most mornings, after saying The Pledge of Allegiance.  This was in public school in Rochester, NY between 1971 and 1976.  Of course, we didn’t sing all of the lyrics, just the famous ones.

This land is your land, this land is my land
From the California to the New York Island
From the Redwood Forest, to the Gulf stream waters
This land was made for you and me

As I went walking that ribbon of highway
I saw above me that endless skyway
Saw below me the golden valley
This land was made for you and me

I roamed and rambled and followed my footsteps
To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts
All around me a voice was sounding
This land was made for you and me

When the sun come shining, then I was strolling
In wheat fields waving and dust clouds rolling
The voice was chanting as the fog was lifting
This land was made for you and me

This land is your land, this land is my land
From the California to the New York Island
From the Redwood Forest, to the Gulf stream waters
This land was made for you and me

When the sun come shining, then I was strolling
In wheat fields waving and dust clouds rolling
The voice was chanting as the fog was lifting
This land was made for you and me

There are other lines that Guthrie wrote but were not recorded in the famous, first recording of the song by The Weavers.  According the Wikipedia page, here are the lesser known lyrics, which we definitely did not sing in grade school.

There was a big high wall there that tried to stop me;
Sign was painted, it said private property;
But on the back side it didn’t say nothing;
This land was made for you and me.[7]

Woodyguthrie.org has a variant:[8]

As I went walking I saw a sign there
And on the sign it said “No Trespassing.”
But on the other side it didn’t say nothing,
That side was made for you and me.

It also has a verse:[8]

Nobody living can ever stop me,
As I go walking that freedom highway;
Nobody living can ever make me turn back
This land was made for you and me.
In the squares of the city, In the shadow of a steeple;
By the relief office, I’d seen my people.
As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking,
Is this land made for you and me?

On the 77th anniversary of this iconic American song, I look at that great photo of Guthrie and I wonder if that machine still has the power to kill fascists?  I’m not talking about literal killing, just to make it perfectly clear to any “original intent” type people who may be reading.  As a quick aside, is there anything stupider than taking words written hundreds of years ago(Constitution) or thousands of years ago(bible) literally, word for word. and trying to apply them all these years later to modern life?  That is definitely not what I call free thinking.

Back to Woody though, I wonder if music or any sort of art has the power in today’s world that it has had throughout our history? I know protest songs are still written every day but who’s listening to them?  They’re not hits that everyone listens to on the radio.  Hell, how many people even still listen to music on the radio?  Will there ever be another This Land is Your Land or a more overt political hit song, like say, For What it’s Worth?

We’re living in the middle of a serious shitstorm right now under Trump.  The news yesterday about him blocking certain media outlets is deeply disturbing.  This is something that dictators do, not American presidents.  

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/02/24/white-house-blocks-cnn-new-york-times-from-press-briefing-hours-after-trump-slams-media/?utm_term=.59a47f20f91d

 

  • News is something someone wants suppressed. Everything else is just advertising  Lord Northcliff

 

The majority of the American public is not happy with the way things are going but it’s a slim majority.  What will it take to move the needle?  The botched handling of a catastrophe, such as Katrina?  Taking us into a costly and deadly war, like in Iraq(I can see this coming from a mile away)?  What will have to happen, Trumpettes, for you to change your minds about the horror show you elected?  How many basic American principles will he have to shatter?

Wouldn’t it be great if it was protest music that turned the tide?  I don’t see that happening but a guy can dream, right?

“Freedom of the press is not just important to democracy, it is democracy.”

Walter Cronkite

 

 

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