Woody Guthrie couldn't stand Irving Berlin. He thought his songs were too sentimental, too fancy. Most of all he seemed to dislike "God Bless America".
In defiance of Irving he wrote his own devotional song to America and he called it, "This Land is Your Land".
Here is a terrific version of Woody's classic sung by another defiant one, Bruce Springstein, who calls it "the greatest song ever written about America ... that gets right to the heart of the promise about what America is supposed to be about."
Here is a verse that Woody wrote and Bruce didn't sing
As I was walkin' - I saw a sign there
And that sign said - no tress passin'
But on the other side .... it didn't say nothin!
Now that side was made for you and me!
That in itself is interesting, since most people don't sing this verse (but Bruce did):
In the squares of the city - In the shadow of the steeple
Near the relief office - I see my people
And some are grumblin' and some are wonderin'
If this land's still made for you and me.
Bruce has been speaking out and speaking up for a good long time. The line in the video which caught my attention is, "With a country, just like with people, it's easy to let the best of yourself slip away."
Plato urged us to, "Remember the Good". Shakespeare said, "To thine own self be True." Bruce tells us, "It's easy to let the best of yourself slip away."
What has always united Americans has been our Constitution and our Bill of Rights. It represents "the Good" in this land of ours. Here's hoping it doesn't slip away.