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June 01, 2004

Let America Be America Again

This is a brilliant slogan for the Kerry campaign.

What this Langston Hughes poem evokes is leftwing patriotism, a concise statement that leaders who betray the ideals of the country are not patriots but subverters of the nation.

It summarizes the idea that the Bush Presidency is a radical departure from Americanism, while implicit in its text is the idea that there is no ideal to return to, just an ideal we are ever striving to achieve. The end lines are the harshest demands for change possible:

America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath--
America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain--
All, all the stretch of these great green states--
And make America again!

But that's all subtext. It's a bit like Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA"; some will mistake it for chauvinism, but others will understand the depth of subtle assault on Bush's greedy destruction of this country.

Posted by Nathan at June 1, 2004 08:23 AM