Though pop culture isn’t my usual fare, this complaint in the Weekly Standard about last night’s “Concert for Valor” calls for a response.
Who would have thought that that Bruce Springsteen, Dave Grohl, and Zac Brown, accomplished musicians all, would be so, well, tone-deaf? But how else to explain their choice of song – Creedence Clearwater’s famously anti-war anthem “Fortunate Son” – at the ostensibly pro-military “Concert for Valor” this evening on the National Mall?The song, not to put too fine a point on it, is an anti-war screed, taking shots at “the red white and blue.” It was a particularly terrible choice given that Fortunate Son is, moreover, an anti-draft song, and this concert was largely organized to honor those who volunteered to fight in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The piece concludes that the Veterans Day event in front of the Capitol “was not the place” for the song.
The Washington Post reported that plenty of other conservatives were also bothered by the performance.
Maybe it’s time to take a closer look at what “Fortunate Son” is all about.
While most art is open to interpretation, “Fortunate Son” is not “an anti-war screed.” Rather, it’s a criticism of elites who believe in wars without cost:
Some folks are born silver spoon in hand
Lord, don’t they help themselvesBut when the tax men come to the doorLord, the house look a like a rummage sale
Yeah, some folks inherit star-spangled eyesThey send you down to warAnd when you ask them, “How much should we give?”They only answer, more, more, more
The chorus isn’t that complicated: “It ain’t me, it ain’t me, I ain’t no Senator’s son. It ain’t me, it ain’t me, I ain’t no fortunate one.”
In other words, the powerful elites don’t send their fortunate kids to fight a war. This is a song for everyone else – a celebration of the less fortunate who carry the burden.
At an event celebrating veterans, it’s most certainly the appropriate place for the song.
In the meantime, Springsteen also performed “Born in the U.S.A.” last night, which didn’t draw conservatives’ ire, and which is arguably a more explicit anti-war song.
Look for more on this on tonight’s show.