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July 04, 2019


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Patrick S. O'Donnell

Having for the first time read the lyrics to this American march song (which, it seems, are rarely heard), I could not help but be struck by the tones of nationalistic and militarist triumphalism, the sort of stuff that encourages dangerous phantasies, wishful thinking, and illusions (not the least of which is incarnate in the Military-Industrial Complex or ‘Pentagon of Power’ and an unsustainable defense budget that trumps domestic needs or public welfare and well-being, i.e., the common good), both individual and collective. It meshes well with Trump’s pathological narcissism (‘narcissistic personality disorder’*), political paranoia, xenophobic nationalism, and megalomania, and is aptly symbolized by the core character of Trump’s 4th of July celebration: tanks* on the ground and fighter jets in the air. It is one with the perpetuation of “bread and circuses” ideology that has assumed an entirely novel dimension when manipulated by a dictator-loving, plutocratic president, racist, and reality-television celebrity whose past is littered with sexual assault and rape claims, draft dodging, and unethical and illegal business practices (that have of course harmed multiple parties, including and especially, workers).

* Please see the essay on this at my Academia page. Here is a taste: “… [W]e should not be surprised by Trump’s habitual rhetorical reliance in public speeches upon crude, hyperbolic, and often child-like adjectives and metaphors (with corresponding child-like or homologous and associationist thinking: mistaking bigness for greatness; the quantitative valuation of virtually everything; connecting competition, success and size; the attraction of novelty; a thirst for sensationalism; an overweening sense of privilege and superiority rooted in a fascination with sheer power if not megalomania, and so forth and so on), the harm of which is exacerbated by mendacious Manichean propaganda within an overarching framework of narcissistic nationalism.”

* The subject of tanks happens to be part and parcel of the irrational defense budget cited above: “For years, the army has tried to convince Congress to stop buying new ones. They are expensive to build, maintain, exercise, and train troops to use. The army already has more than six thousand of them—far more than it needs for any conceivable future combat.” From Jessica T. Matthews’ important and urgent piece, “America’s Indefensible Defense Budget,” New York Review of Books, July 18, 2019 issue.


Strongly prefer:

Scott Fruehwald

I agree with you Anon. Great performance of the Copland by the NY Phil. Phillip Smith is a great first trumpet.

Scott Fruehwald

Here are the lyrics. Judge for yourself.

The Stars And Stripes Forever
Let martial note in triumph float
And liberty extend its mighty hand;
A flag appears 'mid thunderous cheers,
The banner of the Western land.
The emblem of the brave and true.
Its folds protect no tyrant crew;
The red and white and starry blue
Is freedom's shield and home.
Other nations may deem their flags the best
And cheer them with fervid elation
But the flag of the North and South and West
Is the flag of flags, the flag of Freedom's nation.
Hurrah for the flag of the free!
May it wave as our standard forever,
The gem of the land and the sea,
The banner of the right.
Let despots remember the day
When our fathers with mighty endeavor
Proclaimed as they marched to the fray
That by their might and by their right
It waves forever.

Patrick S. O'Donnell

It seems I hit a nerve ... or emotionally fraught territory.

Scott Fruehwald

No, you read too much into things Pat. I was just posting the lyrics.


Patriotic songs are just that, filled with patriotism which is first cousin to nationalism and jingoism. The exception, of course, is "This land is Your Land" by Woody Guthrie (with all the verses).

Patrick S. O'Donnell

My last comment was hyperbolic (after a few drinks) but I made the inference owing to the fact that you saw the need to add "Judge for yourself" (thus, no, you did not just post the lyrics) as if folks were not already inclined to do so. (And should you care, I go by Patrick, not Pat).

Susan B

You attack Trump for his patriotism, but you ignore the flagrant racism of your hero, FDR. Which is worse--loving your country or putting over 100,000 Japanese-American citizens into internment camps?


stop drinking

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