God of the USA

“It is different in the United States,” I once said, not entirely realizing what I was saying until the words came out. . . “We are told it is the greatest country on earth. The thing is, we will never reconsider that narrative the way you [Turks] are doing just now. Because to us, that isn’t propaganda, that is truth. And to us, that isn’t nationalism, it’s patriotism. And the thing is, we will never question any of it because at the same time, all we are being told is how freethinking we are, that we are free. So we don’t know there is anything wrong in believing our country is the greatest on earth. The whole thing sort of convinces you that a collective consciousness in the world came to that very conclusion.”

“Wow,” a friend once replied. “How strange. That is a very quiet kind of fascism, isn’t it?”

– from Notes on a Foreign Country: An American Abroad in a Post-American World by Suzy Hansen

Last week our family drove to Colorado for our friends’ wedding. There’s nothing like a road trip to unwind your mind, get a slightly larger sense of the world. Even if it’s only across the monotonous plains of the midwest. A book helps too. Nathan read the book quoted above as I drove. That, and a billboard in desolate eastern Colorado, inspired this song. The first two lines are exactly what I read on that billboard.

Every American could benefit from a wider-ranging road trip, out of the country, to see what our “normal world” looks like from the outside. To get some sense that we are not everything. Or everyone. That our culture has become our god, and maybe it’s time for some healthy agnosticism.

Here’s my song for week 14 of #songaweek2018. Because of our road trip and kids home for spring break etc., I didn’t get to spend as much time arranging and recording this one. So we went for some sort of Woody Guthrie/church hymn mashup feel I guess!

God bless Donald Trump
God bless the American flag
God bless our feedlots and guns
Our ditches littered with plastic bags

God bless our ignorance
God bless our irrepressible greed
God bless the arrogance
Of self-satisfied cynics like me

There is no god
There is no god
Like the god of the USA

God bless the invisible hand
And all the blood sweat and tears that it took
God bless monopolies
Apple Amazon Google and Facebook

God bless the movie stars
And Youtube and Instagram too
God bless our think tanks and blogs
Our talking heads with nothing to do

There is no god
There is no god
Like the god of the USA

God bless our border walls
Our freeways and our towers of wealth
God bless our amber waves
Of grain that we avoid for our health

God bless democracy
And the way we do things here in the west
God bless America
At least the version that I think is best

There is no god
There is no god
Like the god of the USA

 

 

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