There’s a cheesy country-western song that is getting quite popular. I admit, I’m not fond of the genre; while there’s the occasional spark of brilliance or great performer, most of it is smug white folks crying about how miserable their lives are while blaring out either fist-pumping patriotism or treacly self-pity. It’s still the music many people grew up with, though, so it’s fine if you like it. You don’t have to rationalize why you like it here, OK?
But some things need explaining. This new song, Pissed Off Rednecks Like Me” is getting a lot of undeserved attention because it is “controversial”. It isn’t — it’s dumb. It feeds a lot of bigotry, though, so bigots are enjoying it.
Let me explain why a lot of people detest Jamie Jones’ terrible little ditty. We’ll just go through the lyrics.
Mr. stick-head politician
I got some news for you
If you want to come
Tryin’ to take my gun
Son you better be bulletproof
Look, guns are dangerous. They’re designed to kill. No one is coming to take your guns away in America, but rational people would like you to register them and take adequate safety measures. And responding to even the hint that we might expect you to be a responsible gun-owners with threats to shoot people like me is precisely the issue — you think your guns are a way to solve your problems. They aren’t.
Also, you’re more likely to accidentally shoot your children, or your wife, or your neighbor, than you are to intentionally shoot me.
And don’t try to tell my children
When and where to pray
We don’t. Your kids can pray all they want, and this is coming from a die-hard atheist.
What we fight for in the separation of church is the principle that no one from the government can tell your children or my children to pray. This ought to fit right in with your conservative values, but your type rarely exhibits any consistency in those values: you are just fine with the government imposing it’s religion on others, as long as it’s your sect.
We ain’t that far gone
We’re still standing on
The land of the free
And the home of the brave
No, I’m not your normal political society
I live in the rural midwest. I’m sorry, but you aren’t special: you are boringly mundane and not very thoughtful.
This is coming from real America, son
And pissed off rednecks like me
OK, you know why you are “controversial”? It’s because you say idiotic things like that.
You are part of real America. I’m one of those liberal college professors, and I’m also part of real America. I come from a family of blue-collar factory workers, and they’re part of real America. Those black teenagers getting shot in the streets of Ferguson, Missouri? Also real Americans. You don’t get to appropriate the term “American” as only rightfully belonging to rural rednecks. It’s that selfish, unthinking self-righteousness that rankles.
Also, don’t call me “son,” you patronizing asshole.
No, I won’t push one for English
I just as soon hang up the phone
So you are so lazy and arrogant that you would deny people access to basic services because you can’t be bothered to push one button on your phone?
If you wanna serve in a Muslim church
Go and take your ass back home
There you go. You have the right to follow whatever benighted faith you want; that’s guaranteed in the Constitution. But so does the other fellow. Do you even realize that Muslims have been living in America for centuries? That white protestants like you dragged them over to this country in the 18th century as slaves? That they fought and died in the Revolutionary and Civil Wars? There are many Muslims who were born right here in the USA, and you want to tell them to go “home”. This is their home. Get used to it.
Get up and go to work if you’re able
Instead of living off our dime
This give me a hand out generation
Is gonna bleed this country dry
Yeah, I think it’s time that we change some policy
I agree. Let’s kick the moochers off the dole. Of course, the biggest moochers in the US are listening to country-western music right now: they’re the farmers. The government subsidizes farmers to a significant degree.
In 2011, the median income of commercial farm households — those deriving more than half their income from farming — was $84,649, almost 70 percent higher than that of the typical American household.
Now that’s unfortunately skewed — the small farmer isn’t making anywhere near that, while the guy who sold out to agribusiness is raking it in — but what’s driving that is billions of dollars from the government sucked up by Big Farm. And further, those subsidies drive bad food decisions.
Is that what you’re singing about?
As for most of us
It’s still in God we trust
Here on this side of the ground
Get up and give thanks in the morning
And we work till the sun goes down
Things have got to change
We can’t sit back, got to lead
Things have to change all right: to support justice for all, to reduce the rich/poor divide, to give women and minorities equal opportunity, to end the destructive penal system. Somehow, though, I don’t think you agree with any of my priorities, because I’m not a “real American” to you, nor are the victims of those injustices.
Old folks say can’t afford medication
Still Obamacare is a joke
They’ve help you with your sickness
I saved mine up and take a toll
This is just incoherent. You seem to think “old folks” deserve health care, but you oppose the one half-measure taken to provide health care to everyone.
And those last two lines make no sense at all. Go home, you’re drunk.
They need to lock down on the borders
Throw away the keys
In a cell bar on right here at home
Instead of sending it overseas
But right now raise your glasses
Again, this song is just falling apart. Yeah, you’ve got the standard knee-jerk opposition to immigrants, you son of immigrants. My great-grandparents were immigrants from Sweden and Norway, and they came over here, were mocked and scorned as stupid squareheads who couldn’t speak English, and were allowed to work the land and do menial labor in frigid unpleasant places like Minnesota…and what I see now are immigrants from Central and South America, mocked and scorned by people like you, who are willing to work hard at menial labor to make a home for their families. Conservatives, if they had any consistency in their values, ought to respect that. They’re doing the hard work right now that rednecks don’t want to do, and I for one am not going to begrudge them the effort I need to make to push one button on my phone or see a lot of bilingual signs in the grocery store.
Also, you really are drunk.
Maybe if you sobered up you could figure out why your song is a piece of shit.